California judge rejects water deal for major farm supplier

A California judge has rejected a federal contract granting permanent access to U.S. government-controlled water for the nation’s largest agricultural water supplier, saying it lacked details on costs and appropriate public notice. Environmentalists had blasted the contract with Westlands Water District as a sweetheart arrangement designed to benefit corporate agricultural interests over environmental needs and taxpayers. It was crafted during the Trump administration under then-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for Westlands, a public entity based in Fresno that supplies water to private farmers.

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