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Young, diverse community leaders, job developers say no to peripheral tunnels
by Dan Bacher
Thursday Jan 16th, 2014 7:29 AM
"The tunnels are a giveaway to a few billionaire absentee farmers, and won’t provide sustainable jobs. Our future is at stake, and we need solutions more appropriate to our future water challenges," said Javier Padilla Reyes, Latino Outreach Director of RTD.

Photo: Javier Padilla Reyes (left) and Rogene Reynolds (center) unfurl the new Restore the Delta banner at a rally at the State Capitol against the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the twin tunnels on December 13.
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Young, diverse community leaders, job developers say no to peripheral tunnels

by Dan Bacher

Restore the Delta (RTD) announced on Wednesday that they will hold a news conference on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 10 am on the North Steps of the State Capitol during which young, diverse community leaders and job developers will call upon Governor Jerry Brown to abandon the peripheral tunnels proposed under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).

They will ask him to invest instead in clean water supplies for all California communities, and develop sustainable jobs in alternative water solutions.

“We call upon Gov. Brown to abandon the fatally flawed $70 billion tunnels,” said Javier Padilla Reyes, Latino Outreach Director of RTD, a group opposing Gov. Brown’s rush to build peripheral tunnels that would cost up to $70 billion, drain the Delta and doom salmon and other Pacific fisheries. “Our communities need clean water supplies, not export tunnels for unsustainable cotton and almond mega-growers."

"The tunnels are a giveaway to a few billionaire absentee farmers, and won’t provide sustainable jobs. Our future is at stake, and we need solutions more appropriate to our future water challenges," he said.

Speakers at the event will include: Javier Padilla Reyes, Restore the Delta; Councilmember Moses Zapien (Stockton); Esperanza Vielma, Café, Inc.; Stina Va, Restore the Delta; and Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta

On Monday, Restore the Delta and other opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build the peripheral tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) held a tele-conference calling the tunnels a “flawed solution for a drought-plagued state."

Six experts criticized the tunnels as an "outdated, inappropriate solution to California’s water challenges, one that would create no new water, be of no use in dry years, and drain $70 billion that could otherwise be spent on projects that create new water and increase regional water independence."

Barbara Barrigan Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said, "It is worth noting that presently, reservoirs in Southern California are filled to 93% capacity. Yet, water levels are at record lows in the north part of the state, and corporate agribusiness growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley are continuing the push for water deliveries, even though the water system is depleted."

The tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species, as well as imperil steelhead and salmon populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

You can listen to the tele-news conference featuring Jonas Minton, Tom Stokely, John Herrick, Dr. Jeff Michael, Bill Jennings, and Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla by going to: http://www.restorethedelta.org/drought-tele-news-conference-listen-to-tele-news-conference.

Meanwhile, a Delta fish survey released by the California Department of Wildlife this month confirms the continuing collapse of the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.

The results of the Department's 2013 Fall Midwater Trawl (FMWT) reveal that populations of Delta smelt, striped bass and American shad declined from the disastrous levels of last year, while longfin smelt and threadfin shad showed little improvement from last year’s lows, according to a news release from the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). The survey records population "indices," a relative measure of abundance.

The 2013 indices for Delta smelt and American shad were the second lowest in the 46 years of the survey.The striped bass index was tied for third lowest, while the longfin smelt and threadfin shad indices were the eighth and fifth lowest, respectively, according to Bill Jennings, CSPA Executive Director.

Restore the Delta is a 15,000-member grassroots organization committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. http://www.restorethedelta.org

For more information, contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve [at] hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft; @MrSandHillCrane; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 barbara [at] restorethedelta.org; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta