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Coalition opposes any tunnels funding in state water bond
by Dan Bacher
Thursday Sep 12th, 2013 12:39 PM
“The tunnels would damage water quality, the environment, fish, and farming, and impose billions of dollars of tax increases on the public to mitigate that damage,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta.

Photo of Governor Jerry Brown, accompanied by Natural Resources Secretary John Laird on the left and then Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on the right, at a press conference touting the alleged "benefits" of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDC)) to build the twin tunnels in July 2012. Photo by Dan Bacher.
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Coalition opposes any tunnels funding in state water bond

by Dan Bacher

Californians for Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition of environmental, water conservation, fishing, farming, Native American and community organizations, on September 9 announced their opposition to any state water bond measure that includes any funding to mitigate damage caused by Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels.

The coalition also opposes any rush to pass a water bond measure in the final week of the 2013 legislative session, and called for action in 2014 after careful deliberation.

“The tunnels would damage water quality, the environment, fish, and farming, and impose billions of dollars of tax increases on the public to mitigate that damage,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “The governor wants the public to pay for $7 billion in ‘habitat and conservation,’ which is required to win permits for the tunnels. That is lipstick on the pig of the tunnels, and we opposed including it in any water bond measure.”

Bob Wright, Senior Counsel of Friends of the River, stated, "The ‘habitat and conservation’ would simply enable the draining of the Delta. But habitat and conservation projects paired with tunnel construction would likely fail without sufficient water flows."

“It is unwise to include billions of dollars to mitigate a project that has not yet been defined or released,” said Conner Everts, Executive Director, Southern California Watershed. “There are no guarantees that Southern California residents will receive more water, but we’d be paying the major share of the cost of the bonds.”

“Beneficiaries should pay for habitat required to mitigate the negative impacts of the tunnels,” said Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director Food & Water Watch. “It’s absurd that Governor Brown wants to make us taxpayers pay to redirect the Sacramento River so that oil companies and huge agribusinesses can make even more profits.”

Michael Greene, Director of Legislative Affairs, California State Grange, said, “The proposed tunnels and excessive water exports would devastate sustainable farming. To make taxpayers pay to mitigate damage from this unwise project adds insult to injury.”

The coalition urged the governor and legislature to focus a state water bond measure on projects that would "increase conservation to generate additional water, improve regional self-reliance, rebuild aging and leaking water infrastructure in urban areas, and provide clean drinking water for all California communities."

For more information, contact:
Restore the Delta – Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Barbara [at] restorethedelta.org
So. Cal. Watershed Alliance - Conner Everts, 310.804.6615; connere [at] west.net
Friends of the River - Bob Wright bwright@friendsoftheriver, 916) 442-3155 X207
California State Grange - Michael Greene,legaffairs [at] californiagrange.org; 916-736-1572
Food & Water Watch - Adam Scow, 415-293-9915; ascow [at] fwwatch.org

The Brown administration continues to fast track the construction of the twin tunnels under the Sacramento -San Joaquin River Delta to export more water to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The building of the peripheral tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) will hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon and steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

The Brown administration's terrible environmental record

The rush to build the peripheral tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is not the only abysmal Schwarzenegger administration policy that the Governor Jerry Brown administration has continued and expanded.

Brown and Natural Resources Secretary John Laird continued the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative started by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2004. The conflicts of interest, failure to comprehensively protect the ocean, shadowy private funding, incomplete and terminally flawed science and violation of the Yurok Tribe's traditional harvesting rights have made the MLPA Initiative to create so-called "marine proected areas into one of the worst examples of corporate greenwashing in California history.

In a huge conflict of interest, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California. Reheis-Boyd, the oil industry's lead lobbyist for fracking, offshore oil drilling, the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and the evisceration of environmental laws, also served on the MLPA task forces for the North Coast, North Central Coast and Central Coast.

The Brown administration also authorized the export of record water amounts of water from the Delta in 2011 – 6,520,000 acre-feet, 217,000 acre feet more than the previous record of 6,303,000 acre feet set in 2005 under the Schwarzenegger administration.

Brown also presided over the "salvage" of a record 9 million Sacramento splittail and over 2 million other fish including Central Valley salmon, steelhead, striped bass, largemouth bass, threadfin shad, white catfish and sturgeon in 2011. (http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/07/carnage-in-the-pumps/)

Most recently, Brown's office said on September 11 that the Governor will sign Senator Fran Pavley's gutted fracking bill - legislation that creates a clear path to increased hydraulic fracturing in Monterey Shale deposits in California. The groundwater and surface water pollution resulting from increased fracking poses enormous risk to fish populations in the Central Valley and ocean, as well as to human health.

Calling the legislation "an important step forward," Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said the Governor "looks forward to signing it once it reaches his desk." (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/09/12/18743121.php)

Other environmental policies of the Schwarzenegger administration that Brown and Laird have continued include engineering the collapse of six Delta fish populations by pumping massive quantities of water out of the Delta; presiding over the annual stranding of endangered coho salmon on the Scott and Shasta rivers; clear cutting forests in the Sierra Nevada; supporting legislation weakening the California Environmental Water Quality Act (CEQA); and embracing the corruption and conflicts of interests that infest California environmental processes and government bodies ranging from the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to the regional water boards.

There is nothing "green" about Governor Jerry Brown other than the tainted corporate money that he worships.