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Court Ruling Could Boost Cost Of California Water Project

(AP) - 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.