The court denied the petitioner’s challenge, which questioned the validity of the county’s Environmental Impact Report, according to the Statement of Decision.

WATER and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe said they are preparing for an appeal after Siskiyou Superior Court Judge Karen Dixon on Aug. 29 struck down their lawsuit pertaining to the Crystal Geyser facility just outside Mount Shasta’s city limits.

The court denied the petitioner’s challenge, which questioned the validity of the county’s Environmental Impact Report, according to the Statement of Decision.

Crystal Geyser purchased the former Coca Cola water bottling facility on Ski Village Drive in 2013 with hopes of bottle sparkling spring water and eventually producing Juice Squeeze drinks there.

“While we’re grateful this legal challenge is behind us and pleased to have prevailed, we’re still assessing our California business strategy,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Despite the court’s denial, “we plan to keep up the fight to prevent Crystal Geyser from harming our mountain home and all life downstream,” said WATER board member Raven Stevens.

Their lawsuit, which named Siskiyou County and Crystal Geyser Water Company as respondents, cited what WATER (We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review) and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe consider to be “many errors in fact, procedure, and interpretation of [the California Environmental Quality Act],” according to a press release from the organizations.

The lawsuit covered issues of inadequate project description and project alternatives, AB52 violations regarding Tribal Cultural Resources, emissions, hydrology impacts, and county General Plan violations.

WATER and the tribe contend that each of these issues have not been properly addressed by the court and plan to appeal the decision to a higher court, the release states.

“The judge’s ruling allows the county to sidestep AB52 and in effect nullifies the tribe’s rights and guarantees under the law to protect public trust resources for the good of all,” said Mark Miyoshi, Winnemem Wintu Tribal Historic Preservation Officer.

“The court’s statement does not really address the major issues raised in our petition,” said WATER board member Geneva Omann. “The ruling, without much basis in either science or legality, basically rubber stamps the grossly inadequate EIR, which itself virtually ignored the environmental issues raised by the community. We are convinced that our arguments remain strong and will be properly evaluated in the appellate court.”

“The court’s decision against our challenge to the county’s EIR is legally questionable, in defense of an EIR that is unscientific, incomplete, and essentially deceptive,” adds Stevens. “It attempts to pave a path toward a project that likely will be damaging to the environment and to the health of the community and only serve the profit interests of a multinational pharmaceutical corporation based in Japan.”

Crystal Geyser’s attorneys, along with Siskiyou County’s attorney William Abbott argued in court in May that the supervisors’ decision to certify the EIR in 2017 followed the CEQA process “carefully and exhaustively.”

“In fact, The EIR relied on a voluminous record of over 50,000 pages, with the final EIR alone consisting of over 7,000 total pages, including nearly 5,500 pages of technical appendices and 392 pages of response to comments,” Crystal Geyser said in a press release earlier this year.

Crystal Geyser added that it made a total capital investment of more than $71 million on the Mt. Shasta plant, including the land, the purchase of the building, and the renovations and new equipment that were purchased and installed. Crystal Geyser representatives said the company created 50 direct and indirect jobs during its construction and has been paying “significant property taxes to Siskiyou County” over the past five years, “a figure that currently stands around $400,000 per year.”