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Groups oppose any tunnels funding in state water bond
by Dan Bacher
Friday Jun 20th, 2014 12:51 PM
Californians for Fair Water Policy is opposing any water bond measure that includes funding to mitigate for the environmental destruction caused by Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels.

“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.”

Adam Scow of Food and Water Watch speaks at the Valley Water Consortium's water conference, H2O #2, on Saturday, May 10, 2014 in Fresno. Photo by Dan Bacher.

Below is the news release from Californians for Fair Water Policy.

Groups oppose any tunnels funding in state water bond

Sacramento, CA - Californians for Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition of environmental, water conservation, fishing, farming, Native American and community organizations, on June 19 announced their opposition to any State water bond measure that includes any funding to mitigate damage caused by the governor’s proposed Peripheral Tunnels to export water.

“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 oppose including it in any water bond measure.”

“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,” said Bob Wright, Senior Counsel of Friends of the River.

“It is unwise to include billions of dollars to mitigate a project that has not yet identified its funding sources nor conducted a comprehensive, fair benefits-cost analysis,” said Conner Everts, Executive Director, Southern California Watershed Alliance. “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, Dir., 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.

Contact information:
Restore the Delta - Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209.475.9550; Barbara [at] restorethedelta.org
So. Cal. Watershed Alliance - Conner Everts, 310.804.6615; connere [at] west.net
Friends of the River - Bob Wright, 916.442.3155 X207; bwright@friendsoftheriver
California State Grange - Michael Greene, 916.736.1572;legaffairs [at] californiagrange.org
Food & Water Watch - Adam Scow, 415.293.9915; ascow [at] fwwatch.org