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Central Valley | Environment & Forest Defense

Friends of the River Opposes Budget-Busting Water Bond Initiatives
by Dan Bacher
Thursday Dec 13th, 2007 7:32 PM
Steve Evans, conservation director of Friends of the River, today denounced four "budget busting and environmentally destructive" water bond initiatives sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s self-serving of corporate interests to delude the public into borrowing nearly $12 billion for destructive dam projects we don’t need when these same interests can well afford to build these projects on their own,” said Evans in a news conference with Senate Pro Tem Don Perata.

Corporate agribusiness and development interests are sponsoring four initiatives, all of which include a peripheral canal and two new dams strongly opposed by environmentalists, anglers and Delta residents. Everybody concerned about the future of the Delta must unite to oppose these initiatives because they would result in the destruction of the ecosystem and economy of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the largest and most significant estuary on the West Coast.

The campaign by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his corporate backers to build a peripheral canal and two new dams occurs within the context of a collapse of Delta fisheries, the result of massive increases of state and federal water exports from the Delta since 2001. Populations of four California Delta pelagic (open water) fish - delta smelt, longfin smelt, juvenile striped bass and threadfin shad - have collapsed to their lowest recorded levels over the past several years. Preliminary data from the latest fall midwater trawl net survey of the Delta by the California Department of Fish and Game only confirms this precipitous decline.

Meanwhile, former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla is urging city leaders in the Delta, Central Valley and Bay Area regions to take a formal position in opposition to the building of new canal.

"Please contact your Mayor and City Councilmembers as soon as possible to ask them to support a resolution in opposition to ANY MOVEMENT to build a new canal which will send our good water South and have a devastating effect on our Delta ecosystem," Canciamilla said today.

Unless we stop these mad plans to build a canal and more dams, the Delta as we know it will cease to exist as the state of California and its taxpayers become even more indebted than they already are.

“California needs to invest in its future,” Evans added. “But the Chamber of Commerce initiatives are not a solution, they’re a train wreck."

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Here's today's press release from Friends of the River and an action alert from former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla opposing the four water bond initiatives introduced by the California Chamber of Commerce.

December 13, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Steve Evans – (916) 442-3155 x221

Friends of the River Opposes Budget-Busting
And Destructive Water Bond Initiatives

In a media conference with Senate Pro Tem Don Perata today, Friends of the River
denounced budget-busting and environmentally destructive water bond initiatives
proposed by corporate agribusiness and development interests.

“It’s self-serving of corporate interests to delude the public into borrowing nearly $12
billion for destructive dam projects we don’t need when these same interests can well
afford to build these projects on their own,” said Steve Evans, Conservation Director of
Friends of the River.

Evans characterized the initiatives recently filed with the Secretary of State by the
California Chamber of Commerce as potentially “the biggest give-away of public
resources to private business interests since Congress gave nearly a quarter of
California to the railroad barons in the 1860s.”

Noting that California is now facing a $14 billion deficit, Evans pointed out that the
state’s own water plan shows that investing in efficient water use, recycling, and
groundwater management programs will produce far more water at significantly less
cost to the taxpayer.

An analysis by Friends of the River shows that the dam projects funded by the Chamber
initiatives would cost billions of dollars, flood popular recreation areas and important
wildlife habitat, and be net energy losers.

In September, Friends of the River and other conservation groups proposed a $4.5
billion legislative bond package that would yield more than four times the amount of
water that can be feasibly produced by the multi-billion dollar dam projects the
Chamber supports in its initiatives.

“California needs to invest in its future,” Evans said. “But the Chamber of Commerce
initiatives are not a solution, they’re a train wreck,” he said.

ABOUT FRIENDS OF THE RIVER
Friends of the River, California's statewide river conservation group, works to preserve,
restore, and sustain California's rivers, streams, and watersheds and advocates for
sustainable water management. FOR accomplishes its mission through public
education, citizen activist training and organizing, and expert advocacy to influence
public policy decisions on land, water, and energy management issues. Visit
http://www.friendsoftheriver.org.

Today's Action Alert from Joe Canciamilla:

Stop the Canal Friends,

In case you missed it, Saturday, December 8th's front page article in the Contra Costa Times entitled "Secret Study Shows Canal Back in Play" disclosed an ongoing plan by Southern California water interests and the Department of Water Resources to begin the planning process for a new canal.

In short, these outside water interests are in the process now of calculating the dollar costs for building a new canal or Delta bypass for inclusion in a Sacramento water bond that will go to the voters sometime in 2008.

This strategy is moving fast and continues behind the scenes between special interests that want to see more of our quality water moving south faster and more efficiently.

I am writing for your help. We need our local city leaders to take a formal position IN OPPOSITION TO THE BUILDING OF A NEW CANAL.

Please contact your Mayor and City Councilmembers as soon as possible to ask them to support a resolution in opposition to ANY MOVEMENT to build a new canal which will send our good water South and have a devastating effect on our Delta ecosystem.

Thank you, again, for your continued commitment to Stop the Canal!

Regards,

Joe Canciamilla

http://www.StoptheCanal.org
Joe [at] StoptheCanal.org