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Delta Advocates Rally Against the Canal at State Capitol
by Dan Bacher
Wednesday Jul 8th, 2009 6:35 PM
Jerry Neuburger, webmaster for the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, has written a good report on the rally against the peripheral canal at the State Capitol yesterday. To check out video clips of speakers and photos of the event, go to: http://www.calsport.org/7-7-09.htm.

Photo: Hundreds of Delta advocates, including family farmers from North Delta Cares, rallied at the State Capitol on Tuesday to oppose the peripheral canal and increased water exports out of the Delta. Photo by Dan Bacher.
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The Delta Press Conference, July 7, 2009

by Jerry Neuburger

July 7, 2009 -- Over 250 fishermen, farmers, businessmen and conservationists gathered at the north steps of the capital to listen to Senator Lois Wolk, Lt. Governor John Garimendi, other legislators, and citizens speak in opposition to a series of bills moving through the legislature designed to fund a peripheral canal and two additional dams.

CSPA was well represented at the conference with Executive Director Bill Jennings, President Jim Crenshaw, Conservation Director John Beuttler, Director and Attorney Michael Jackson, Webmaster Jerry Neuburger and Advisory member John Ryzanych, who also represented the Allied Fishing Groups.

The first of the speakers was Senator Lois Wolk, who was instrumental in organizing the press conference. She was followed by Lt. Governor John Garimendi, Senator Mark DeSalnier, Assemblymember Alyson Huber, Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors representative Mary Piepho speaking for the assembled County Supervisors, and Assemblymember Joan Buchanan.

The theme from the speakers was universal in opposition to any secret deals in the legislature to move bills to fund a peripheral canal and additional water structure.

A reoccurring point in the presentations was the fact that delta residents and governments demand input into the future of the delta. Emphasizing that fact was the presence of five supervisors from the five counties surrounding the delta, Sacramento, Yolo, San Joaquin, Contra Costa and Solano.

The first of the private citizens to speak was Rudy Mussi, (Video) a third generation Delta farmer who spoke of the changes he's seen in the delta, a huge decline in fish and in water quality and the threat that a peripheral canal would finish the job.

Next Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations, spoke of the devastation that excessive pumping has caused to the salmon industry, the 100% unemployment of commercial family fishermen, the loss of over 200 million dollars in annual revenue and the depressed state of many coastal towns with boats at the dock and tourism down.

CSPA's Bill Jennings gave a fiery presentation on the wrongs that have occurred over the years in California's water policy, giving little credence to any promises that the state may make in the future regarding the volume of water to be pumped from the delta or any attempt to restore the delta's fisheries.

Robert Johnson, a private fisherman and now political activist spoke how the millionaire farmers of the west San Joaquin valley, while the most junior of water rights holders, have attempted to mount a PR campaign depicting themselves as victims of "fish vs. people" all the while knowing that their water supplies were entirely dependent on the availability of water on a year to year basis with no promise of any guaranteed amount.

Restore the Delta's Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla (Video) spoke of the size and cost of the canal and the havoc it would cause to delta farms, fishermen, businesses and recreation.

Fredy Morales, a young farmworker from Alpaugh in the San Joaquin Valley, described the contradictions between corporate growers pushing for more water from the Delta when people in rural communities are denied clean drinking water.

“We need clean drinking water and the water is bad in my community,” he said. “People get sick from it.”

Last minute additions to the speaker's list were Charlotte Hodde, Water Program Manager, Planning and Conservation League, Debbie Davis, Legislative Analyst, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Jim Metropulos, Senior Advocate, Sierra Club California and Steve Evans, Conservation Director, Friends of the River. All spoke of the need for openness in the planning of any new "plumbing" for the delta, the need to put the ecology and the economy of the delta first and the folly of billions in bonds to build what may amount to an ecological disaster.

At the end of the conference, five teams were assembled to visit various legislators, with the intent that any planning for the delta be done in open hearings with full input by the public in general and the people and governments of the delta

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by the ppic
Wednesday Jul 8th, 2009 8:58 PM
When Los Angeles and Las Vegas run out of water, do you think they can become climate refugees to Oregon?

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SAN FRANCISCO, California, July 17, 2008 -- Building a peripheral canal to carry water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the most promising strategy to balance two critical policy goals: reviving a threatened ecosystem and ensuring a high-quality water supply for California’s residents. That is the central conclusion of a report released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

Under current policy, water is drawn from the Sacramento River and sent south through the Delta to enormous pumps that deliver water to millions of households in the Bay Area and Southern California and millions of acres of Central Valley farmland. This approach, which disrupts the natural water flow, has threatened native fish and made the Delta attractive to invasive species. Furthermore, it is unsustainable. Projected sea level rise, crumbling ancient levees, larger floods, and high earthquake potential will inevitably result in a dramatically different Delta environment. This environment will have saltier water, which will be much more costly to treat for drinking and ultimately unusable for irrigation, the report says.

Although it would be best for fish populations if California stopped using the Delta as a water source altogether, this would be an extremely costly strategy, according to the report, authored by a multidisciplinary team including Ellen Hanak, PPIC associate director and senior fellow, and Jay Lund, William Fleenor, William Bennett, Richard Howitt, Jeffrey Mount, and Peter Moyle from the University of California, Davis.

The PPIC-UC Davis team concludes that a peripheral canal is not only more promising than the temporary and ultimately unsustainable “dual conveyance” option – which combines the current approach with a canal – but is also the best available strategy to balance two equally important objectives.

“Coupling a peripheral canal – the least expensive option – with investment in the Delta ecosystem can promote both environmental sustainability and a reliable water supply,” Hanak says.

The new report, Comparing Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, builds on the findings of a 2007 PPIC study by the same team, which concluded that the need for a new Delta strategy is urgent. The new report was funded in part by Stephen D. Bechtel Jr. and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Among its recommendations:

* Plan to allow some Delta islands to flood permanently. The state should invest in the levees that protect high-value land, ecosystem goals, and critical infrastructure – and allow lower-value islands to return to aquatic habitat.
* Begin the transition from the current Delta management system. The current system is harming the native fish now, as federal court rulings have found. Over time, it will hurt the state’s economy. Natural forces will impose change on the current system, and planning for change now will make Californians less susceptible to the potentially much larger cost of earthquake, floods, or levee failures.
* Develop a new framework for governing and regulating the Delta. With the proper safeguards, a peripheral canal can be economically and environmentally beneficial. It is a more cost-effective strategy than dual conveyance, which, because it relies on continued pumping through the Delta, is an interim solution.

“Choosing a water strategy is just the first step,” UC Davis researcher Lund says. “The technical, financial, and regulatory decisions necessary to plan for a new Delta are enormous. The governor and legislature need to be involved in setting up a new framework to manage the challenge.”
by D.B.
Thursday Jul 9th, 2009 7:35 AM
The PPIC "study" was funded by Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr, the co-owner of the Bechtel Corporation, the world's largest construction firm responsible for some of the worst environmental destruction on the planet. Bechtel has been involved with water privatization schemes throughout the world and is a war profiteer. It was a blatant conflict of interest for the PPIC to accept tainted blood money from Bechtel when the corporation could profit from the construction of a peripheral canal.

The economic data in the report is largely "fabricated," according to an in-depth review of the report by Jeffrey Michael, UOP economics professor. The "scientists" who participated in this corporate greenwashing report should hang their heads in shame for giving "scientific" legitimacy to this report based on fabricated economic data.