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California | Central Valley | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections

Tell Governor Brown No to the Tunnels
by Dan Bacher
Saturday Dec 7th, 2013 10:37 AM
A total of $240 million has already been spent on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels - and it will take another $1.2 billion to complete the design and planning for the government boondoggle. Why throw more good money after bad? Now's the time for the Brown administration to flush its twin tunnels plan down the toilet of history before it costs taxpayers, water district and ratepayers even more than it already has.

Tell Governor Brown No to the Tunnels

$240 million wasted is already too much

by Dan Bacher

If you want to stop Governor Jerry Brown's plan to build two giant water export tunnels, this coming week is the time to take action.

The public review copies of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its companion Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be available on-line Monday, December 9, 2013. The Federal Government will begin the public comment period on Friday, December 13, 2013.

The Brown Administration already released the BDCP documents to participating agencies on December 6.

The release of the documents takes place at a time when the enormous cost of the BDCP is coming under increasing scrutiny by water agencies, water ratepayers and the taxpayers who will pay for the tunnels.

A total of $240 million has already been spent on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels - and it will take another $1.2 billion to complete the planning for the government boondoggle.

"The giant Delta water-diversion tunnels proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown need $1.2 billion more spent on planning and design before construction starts or is even assured," according to a report by Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee on December 7. (http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/07/5978184/delta-water-tunnel-project-needs.html#storylink=cpy)

"The additional planning costs, which come on top of $240 million already spent, first came to light at a board meeting of the Westlands Water District late last month. The Sacramento Bee confirmed this additional planning cost in recent interviews with the California Department of Water Resources, which is leading the project, and several of the water agencies that are responsible for the bills," said Weiser.

On Friday, Restore the Delta (RTD) released water export tracking tables showing that urban users get just 31% of the water, while huge corporate agribusiness interests in the Westlands, Kern and other districts get 35% of water exports.

The tables show a ten-year-average of the amount of water exported from the Delta to water agencies south of the Delta pumps.

“Urban water rate payers in the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Metropolitan Water District are being asked to pay for a significant portion of the proposed peripheral tunnels, as part of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, without receiving any additional water,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. “Yet, these two urban agencies receive a smaller percentage of Delta exports (30.8%) than the big agribusiness growers found in the Westland Water District and the Kern County Water Agency (34.5%). It’s time to stop forcing the rest of us to subsidize unsustainable agriculture."

“Billionaire Beverly Hills farmer Stewart Resnick has made enormous profits exporting around the world pistachios grown with this exported water, subsidized by California rate payers, and reselling subsidized water for new development. Westlands Water District growers, whose Bureau of Reclamation contract places them last in line to receive exported Delta water, continue planting permanent crops that cannot be sustained on drainage impaired lands," she stated.

It is no surprise why Brown is fast-tracking the twin tunnels plan. Resnick, the owner of Paramount Farms, and his wife Lynda, who will benefit greatly from the tunnels, are among the biggest contributors to Governor Jerry Brown, having contributed $99,000 to his 2010 campaign. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/09/1185886/--Governor-Brown-met-privately-with-Beverly-Hills-Ag-Queen-Junk-Bond-King)

Dr. Jerry Meral, the Administration’s lead on the BDCP who earlier this year claimed that "the Delta cannot be saved," has stated that the tunnels will cost households as much as a cell phone bill.

"He and the water agency leaders pushing this boondoggle project ignore that many families in urban communities can’t afford a second monthly cell phone bill – while receiving no additional benefit," concluded Barrigan-Parrilla.

The charts reveal that the total combined South-of-Delta water deliveries from the state and federal water projects averaged 5,178,023 acre feet of water from 2000 to 2009. An average of 3,111,208 acre feet of water, 60 percent, went to agriculture, while 2,065,820 acre feet of water, 39.9 percent, went to urban users.

The tables can be viewed at http://www.restorethedelta.org.

Rally/Press Conference Schedule:

Restore the Delta will be sponsoring the following rallies with dozens of other community, environmental, government, and water agencies this coming week. The group is urging its supporters to come out in "greater numbers than ever before."

The events are scheduled as follows:

Monday, December 9, 2013
—Rally at the Santa Clara Valley Water District
—Location: 5700 Almaden Expressway, San Jose, CA 95118
—Starting Time: 9 a.m. (there was a time change)
—Press Conference: After Secretary Laird finishes his talk

This Rally and Press Conference is sponsored by Restore the Delta, Food and Water Watch, Californians For A Fair Water Policy, 350 Silicon Valley, the Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley, the Environmental Water Caucus, and First Generation Farmers.

Monday, December 9, 2013
—Press Conference and Rally at the Capitol
—Location: Starting in Room 112, moving to West Steps if needed
—Starting Time: Noon with 12:30 p.m. press conference – arrive as early as 10:30 for possible walk to California Resources Agency

This rally is sponsored by Californians for A Fair Water Policy and dozens of other environmental, fishing, farming, government, and water agencies.

Friday, December 13, 2013
—Friday the 13th Rally to begin the 120 Day BDCP Response Countdown
—Location: West Steps of the Capitol
—Starting Time: 11:30 a.m.

This rally is sponsored by Californians for A Fair Water Policy and dozens of other environmental, fishing, farming, government, and water agencies.

Also, don't forget to write your letters to Governor Brown expressing your opposition to the peripheral tunnels plan! Letters should be addressed to:

Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

The salutation should read: The Honorable Edmund G. Brown

Bay Delta Conservation Plan Background

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the tunnels will likely hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as threaten the steelhead and salmon populations of the Trinity and Klamath rivers, according to agency and independent scientists. The tunnel plan is based on the false premise that you can restore a river system by stealing more water from it.

The purpose of the $54.1 billion plan, masquerading under the "coequal goals" of water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration, is to facilitate the export of more water to corporate agribusiness, developers and oil companies.

The media advisory for Monday's event is below:

Media Advisory for Monday, December 9, 2013
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve [at] hopcraft.com Twitter: @shopcraft

Farmers, Fishermen, Taxpayers, Environmentalists & Consumer
Advocates to Oppose Governor’s Water Export Tunnels:
Too Costly, Creates No New Water, Better Solutions Available
$50 billion Boondoggle – Urban Families & Businesses Pay for West
Side San Joaquin Valley Mega-Growers’ Water

Californians for a Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition opposing Gov. Brown’s water export tunnels, announced today that their members (Restore the Delta, Food & Water Watch, Environmental Water Caucus, Friends of the River, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Southern California Watershed Alliance, and Endangered Species Coalition) will join with elected leaders, the Sierra Club, the Planning and Conservation League, Earth Law Center, the Butte Environmental Council, C-WIN and a dozen other groups in a rally at the State Capitol on Monday, December 9.

As the Brown Administration and federal officials release their proposal, opponents will point out expected damage to water, the environment, fish, farming and water ratepayers.

What: Opponents Rally Against the BDCP Tunnels

When: Monday, December 9, 2013 –
10:30 am – Experts and spokesperson available to media, Room 112, State
Capitol, Sacramento
12:30 pm News conference and campaign Kickoff - State Capitol, West Steps,
Sacramento, CA
3:00 pm News teleconference – experts provide detailed response

Who: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta; Assembly member Jim Frazier; Jonas Minton, Planning and Conservation League; Zeke Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations; Bob Wright, Friends of the River; Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance; Nick di Croce, Environmental Water Caucus; Jim Cox, California Striped Bass Association, Osha Meserve, Stone Lakes Wildlife Refuge; Council Member Cathy Miller, City of Stockton; Mike Jackson, C-WIN; John Herrick, South Delta Water Agency; Tom Zuckerman, Central Delta Water Agencies.

For more information, go to: http://www.stopthetunnels.org.
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The truth on who is paying....Pat SnellingSunday Dec 8th, 2013 3:27 PM