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Hearing set on whether to suspend ban on Paso Robles basin pumping

After several delays, a hearing to decide whether to suspend San Luis Obispo County’s two-year emergency ordinance that prohibits any new groundwater pumping from the Paso Robles groundwater basin has been scheduled.

The hearing is set for 9 a.m., June 18 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

It originally had been scheduled for April 15 in Paso Robles Superior Court but was transferred to San Luis Obispo to be heard Wednesday. During the transfer, the case was mistakenly removed from the court docket.

Judge Martin Tangeman, who will hear the case, apologized for the delay and rescheduled the hearing for the first available date.

The case dates to Aug. 27, 2013, when county supervisors approved an emergency ordinance that prohibits any new pumping from the Paso Robles groundwater basin unless it is offset by an equal amount of water conservation. If Tangeman does not overturn the ban, it will stay in effect until Aug. 26, 2015.

A North County group, Paso Robles Water Integrity Network, sued the county to overturn the ordinance. The group argues that the ordinance is illegal and harms residents and property owners in the basin.

The county argues that the ordinance is necessary because conditions in the Paso Robles basin have become a public health crisis and the Board of Supervisors was forced to take action to protect the area’s health and safety.

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