Lawsuit seeks return of millions for failed Delta protection plan

A coalition of Delta farmers and environmentalists sued Thursday to recoup millions of dollars in taxpayer money they contend was paid illegally to Kern County landowners who sold water to a failed Delta environmental protection program.

The lawsuit, the latest salvo in an increasingly chaotic and bitter statewide fight over Delta water, also seeks to force Kern County landowners to return a giant underground reservoir to public ownership and to undo a 16-year-old pact between state water officials and their customers. That agreement, the litigants say, is destroying the Delta ecosystem and enriching Kern County landowners.

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