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Friends of the River Opposes Budget-Busting Water Bond Initiatives
Dan Bacher
Steve Evans, conservation director of Friends of the River, today denounced four "budget busting and environmentally destructive" water bond initiatives sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce. “It’s self-serving of corporate interests to delude the public into borrowing nearly $12 billion for destructive dam projects we don’t need when these same interests can well afford to build these projects on their own,” said Evans in a news conference with Senate Pro Tem Don Perata. Corporate agribusiness and development interests are sponsoring four initiatives, all of which include a peripheral canal and two new dams strongly opposed by environmentalists, anglers and Delta residents. Everybody concerned about the future of the Delta must unite to oppose these initiatives because they would result in the destruction of the ecosystem and economy of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the largest and most significant estuary on the West Coast. The campaign by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his corporate backers to build a peripheral canal and two new dams occurs within the context of a collapse of Delta fisheries, the result of massive increases of state and federal water exports from the Delta since 2001. Populations of four California Delta pelagic (open water) fish - delta smelt, longfin smelt, juvenile striped bass and threadfin shad - have collapsed to their lowest recorded levels over the past several years. Preliminary data from the latest fall midwater trawl net survey of the Delta by the California Department of Fish and Game only confirms this precipitous decline. Meanwhile, former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla is urging city leaders in the Delta, Central Valley and Bay Area regions to take a formal position in opposition to the building of new canal. "Please contact your Mayor and City Councilmembers as soon as possible to ask them to support a resolution in opposition to ANY MOVEMENT to build a new canal which will send our good water South and have a devastating effect on our Delta ecosystem," Canciamilla said today. Unless we stop these mad plans to build a canal and more dams, the Delta as we know it will cease to exist as the state of California and its taxpayers become even more indebted than they already are. “California needs to invest in its future,” Evans added. “But the Chamber of Commerce initiatives are not a solution, they’re a train wreck."

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