Complaints about a planned bottled water plant in Mount Shasta, Calif., have been cemented in a lawsuit. Nonprofit group We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review (WATER) claims Crystal Geyser doesn't have the proper permits and is violating land-use provisions in getting the plant up and running in a drought, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Operators of the plant—which will pull thousands of gallons of water a day from an aquifer that provides drinking water for millions—weren't required to get a permit or an environmental impact report. "We don't know what the effect of this plant will be on the local environment, so we are asking for an injunction until these issues have been decided," says the president of WATER's board of directors.
Some of Mount Shasta's 3,400 residents fear the bottling operation will drain wells and deplete the aquifer, which feeds the Sacramento River; it will also rely on the city sewage plant, reports the Los Angeles Times. In addition to Crystal Geyser, the lawsuit names Siskiyou County, alleging the county is turning a blind eye to the law and "rubber stamping" the plant. County officials say they don't have the authority to demand an environmental impact report since water bottling is a previous and permitted use. Coca-Cola operated the 145,000-square-foot bottling plant until 2010; Crystal Geyser took it over in 2013. A rep for the company says it is "disappointed" by the lawsuit. "We are moving ahead, however, with our plans to open the plant in the coming months." (Read more California drought stories.)