Court Rules for California in Water Tunnel Fight

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown’s $15.7 billion plan to build two giant water tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has cleared a hurdle after a ruling by the California Supreme Court.

The court said Thursday that state officials do not have to pay landowners rent to access thousands of acres of private property to conduct preliminary tests for the project.

State officials had argued the tests would not significantly interfere with or damage the land, and the state should only be required to compensate landowners for any actual damage or interference.

Property owners said the tests the state planned to conduct on their lands were lengthy and invasive and required fair compensation.