Press Release: June 28, 2021

Today South Feather Water & Power Agency updated its website to include copies of public records of recent correspondence with North Yuba Water District.  These public records can be viewed at https://southfeather.com/nywd

On June 18, 2021, NYWD filed a lawsuit against the Agency alleging claims related to the NYWD/Agency 2005 Agreement.  Among other terms, the 2005 Agreement entitles NYWD to a share in annual net power revenues (if any) for some of the Agency’s hydroelectric powerhouses.  According to NYWD Board President, Gary Hawthorne “For years they [the Agency] have denied North Yuba access to information, and for the better part of the past year, they have limited our formal, legal requests for [accounting] records.  This litigation was avoidable by South Feather if they had simply provided the transparency required under the 2005 Agreement.”

Mr. Hawthorne’s statement on NYWD’s behalf is categorically false.  As the public can read for itself, the Agency offered on November 4, 2019, to jointly retain a qualified independent forensic accountant to review all financial records and accounting standards and practices and render an opinion as to the appropriateness of the Agency’s bookkeeping under the 2005 Agreement.  NYWD rejected this offer.

The public can also read that the Agency has repeatedly sought to simply talk with NYWD about the 2005 Agreement and to answer any questions NYWD or the public may have concerning the 2005 Agreement.  In response, NYWD has refused to talk and refused all of these offers to meet.  In 2021 alone, NYWD has rejected over 10 (ten) Agency offers to discuss the 2005 Agreement in a transparent, open and public meeting.

To ensure prompt resolution of disputes, the 2005 Agreement requires that NYWD raise “any dispute” with the Agency and that the parties make reasonable and good-faith efforts to resolve the dispute before filing any legal action.  The Agency has repeatedly implored NYWD to engage in good faith in this meet and confer process, including recent letters dated June 3, 2021 and June 17, 2021 before NYWD filed its lawsuit.  NYWD refused to meet and confer pursuant to the 2005 Agreement and, instead, chose to rush into court.

Rather than focusing on NYWD’s core mission to provide water to its customers, NYWD has instead pursued bogus claims against the Agency and others.  Over the last year, NYWD has incurred over $300,000 in legal fees with nothing to show for it.  Meanwhile, NYWD has failed to perform its essential function as a water district, including NYWD’s obligation to use its best efforts to maintain facilities to provide available water supply to NYWD irrigation customers.  Recognizing NYWD’s inability to perform, the Agency on May 7, 2021 offered to assist NYWD in undertaking emergency work to repair NYWD’s Upper Forbestown Ditch.  Despite having at least three intervening board meetings, the Agency’s offer has not been agendized or considered by NYWD’s Board of Directors.  Since the Agency’s offer has not even been discussed or considered, the Agency believes that NYWD board members are not even aware of this very generous offer that results in a win-win-win to all parties and addresses critical drought and wildfire concerns.  The Agency encourages the public to review NYWD’s legal counsel’s response to the Agency’s offer of assistance dated June 8, 2021 and the Agency’s response through its legal counsel dated June 11, 2021 in the link provided.

In sum, the unfortunate reality is that NYWD has gone rogue.  NYWD lacks leadership.  NYWD has failed to perform its essential functions as a water district by providing water available during emergency drought conditions.  The Agency sincerely hopes that NYWD’s malfeasance does not result in loss of food or fiber, the livelihood of the customers of NYWD, or, worse, contribute to and enhance an already critical wildfire threat to our communities.

The Agency urges the customers and voters of NYWD, and the governing authorities of Yuba County, including the Yuba County Grand Jury, to carefully review the acts and omissions of NYWD.

September 16, 2020SFWPA invites NYWD Board to participate in 2021 Budget reviewPDF

April 8, 2019 NYWD contracted with Dr. Lon House to investigate revenue payments. Initial request for information dating back nine years. PDF
May 9, 2019 SFWPA acknowledges request for information and answers request. Time sheet request results in 20,107 pages. PDF
May 29, 2019 SFWPA invites NYWD to advisory committee. PDF
NYWD retrieves requested documents.
July 24, 2019 SFWPA visits NYWD to request Board Member to Board member discussion regarding topics of interest
SFWPA receives report from NYWD “Water & Energy Consulting Report”
November 04, 2019 SFWPA response to Dr. Lon House Report. Reminds NYWD of multiple requests for a joint Board discussion. PDF
June 12, 2020 SFWPA invites NYWD Board to Operations Facilities Tour PDF
September 11, 2020 SFWPA response regarding Public Records Act Request from NYWD and Power Purchase Agreement PDF
September 28, 2020 Letter from NYWD Maupin declining offer to meet PDF
October 20, 2020 Public Records Act request from NYWD’s General Counsel, Barbara Brenner.
January 22, 2021 New NYWD Special Counsel Daniel Stouder Letter. Request for same information provided during previous investigation. PDF
January 25, 2021 NYWD’s consultant conducted initial inspection of records
February 8, 2021 Counsel Daniel Stouder Letter – Request for additional information PDF
February 10, 2021 SFWPA response to allegations and threat of legal action PDF
April 10, 2021 Daniel Stouder letter demands $3,200,949.90 to NYWD PDF
April 21, 2021 SFWPA’s General Counsel Dustin Cooper’s response to NYWD’s demand letter, activation of 2005 Agreement’s conflict resolution clause and dates available for meeting. PDF
May 7, 2021 Letter from Dustin Cooper offering assistance to NYWD based on 1996 Mutual Aid Agreement based on the disrepair of the Upper Forbestown Ditch. PDF
May 14, 2021 Letter from SFWPA Cooper to NYWD Taber threatening demurrer PDF
May 10, 2021 SFWPA and NYWD meeting
May 11, 2021 Letter from Dustin Cooper to NYWD
2019 Capital Assets Spreadsheet
2019 Joint Facilities Operating Fund Presentation
May 17, 2021 Letter from Daniel Stouder regarding May 10th meeting PDF
May 25, 2021 Letter SFWPA Cooper to NYWD Taber response to May 10, 2021 Letter PRA PDF
May 28, 2021 Letter NYWD Taber Public Records Act request to SFWPA PDF
June 2, 2021 Letter from SFWPA Cooper to NYWD Taber re CEQA Settlement PDF
June 3, 2021 Letter from Dustin Cooper response to May 17th meeting and NYWD’s refusal to discuss matters in an open meeting PDF
June 4, 2021 Letter from SFWPA Cooper to NYWD Vergara & Taber re Settlement proposal PDF
June 8, 2021 Letter from Michael Vergara of Somach, Simmons & Dunn announcing this office serves as General Counsel for NYWD. Response to offer of mutual aid. PDF
June 11, 2021 Letter from Cooper to NYWD and Vergara. Explanation of offer and CEQA. PDF
June 11, 2021 Letter from NYWD Vergara to SFWPA Cooper re: Settlement Proposal PDF
June 22, 2021 Appeal Democrat Press Release PDF
June 28, 2021 Letter from Moseley to Maupin invite to discuss new power purchase agreement PDF
June/July 2021 NYWD Newsletter PDF
July 6, 2021 Letter from Vergara to Moseley re: 6/28/21 letter PDF
July 12, 2021 Letter from Vergara to SFWPA regarding July 7, 2021 Letter PDF
July 14, 2021 Letter from Moseley to Vergara regarding July 12, 2021 letter PDF
November 12, 2021 Demand for Inspection PDF
November 17, 2021 First Amended Complaint PDF
December 7, 2021 Notice of Demurrer PDF
December 7, 2021 NYWD Memorandum of Points – Demurrer PDF
December 7, 2021 NYWD Request for Judicial Notice PDF
December 7, 2021 NYWD Declaration of Kelley Taber PDF
December 7, 2021 NYWD Proposed Order Cover PDF
December 7, 2021 Order Sustaining Demurrer to Amended Petition PDF
December 21, 2021 SFWPA-NYWD Overview Workshop PDF
April 11, 2022 2022 Quarter One SFPP Letter PDF
April 20, 2022 NYWD Response to Invite PDF
May 6, 2022 Agency Response to NYWD 4/20/22 Letter PDF