- Associated Press - Thursday, July 21, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Latest on a ruling by the California Supreme Court about the governor’s $15.7 billion plan to build two giant water tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

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.

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1 a.m.

The California Supreme Court is set to issue a ruling Thursday that could add millions of dollars to the cost of the governor’s $15.7 billion plan to build two giant water tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

At issue is whether California officials must pay landowners to access thousands of acres of private property to conduct preliminary environmental and geological tests for the project.

California officials say no. They say the tests would not significantly interfere with or damage the land, used mostly for farming, cattle ranching and recreation.

They say the state should only be required to compensate owners for any actual damage or interference.

Property owners say the tests are lengthy and invasive.

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