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Related Categories: California | Central Valley | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections
Legislators request info. on Brown & Trump administration negotiations over Delta Tunnels
by Dan Bacher
Saturday Nov 3rd, 2018 9:41 AM
“This desire to hastily push forward an agreement without the input of affected Delta communities is concerning," the eight legislators wrote. "The state has a duty to preserve the public trust by providing transparency and accountability to all Californians."
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On Friday, November 2, Members of the California Legislature representing the Delta sent Governor Jerry Brown a letter inquiring about reports of conversations between Governor Brown's Administration and the Trump Administration regarding the future of the California WaterFix project.

The project centers on two massive 35 mile long tunnels under the Delta that would divert water from the Sacramento River in the North Delta to the South Delta to facilitate the export of water to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California water agencies.

 “Any conversations that exclude Delta communities are unacceptable and we are demanding answers,” said Susan Talamantes Eggman, regarding the letter. 

The letter states, “We have heard that local, federal and state agencies that have engaged in these discussions have all signed some form of confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements. These constituents not only prevent our constituents from learning about these negotiations, but they also restrict the ability of our constituents to meaningfully participate in decisions that will affect their future and the future of the Delta. It also our understanding that Delta area local governments, fishermen and stakeholders have not been included in these negotiations.”

“Although we do not yet have a complete understanding of the scope of these negotiations between your administration and the Trump Administration, there are two sources of information which indicate the WaterFix project and other issues that will affect the Delta community are central to these discussions,” the letter said.

The first source cited was minutes obtained from the September 25, 2018 meeting of the Bay-Delta Committee of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California noting that MWD staff are in negotiations with state and federal agencies to put together and “interrelated agreement package” that will include “California WaterFix support and participation.”

The second source cited was a statement by the MWD Bay Delta Committee at their October 23, 2018 meeting that they are attempting to reach an agreement for an accord between the U.S. Department of Interior and the California Natural Resources Agency by December 2018.

“This desire to hastily push forward an agreement without the input of affected Delta communities is concerning. The state has a duty to preserve the public trust by providing transparency and accountability to all Californians,” they wrote.

The Legislators concluded the letter with a request for the following information from the Brown administration:

“1) Are any of the elected officials, local governments or stakeholders who have participated in any of the meetings from the Delta region. If not, why have the Delta communities been excluded from negotiations that will affect the future of the Delta?

2) Who is participating in the negotiations on behalf of the State of California and who selected those participants?

3 ) When will the next negotiation take place?

4) What, if any commitments as the State made or proposed in these meetings and negotiations? Has there been any closed-door agreement to finance projects using public funds.”

Signers of the letter include Susan Talamantes Eggman, Assemblymember, 13th District; Steve Glazer, Senator, 7th District; Timothy Grayson, Assemblymember, 14th District; Cathleen Galgiani, Senator, 5th District; Bill Dodd, Senator, 3rd District; Cecilia Aguilar-Curry, 4th District; Kevin McCarty, Assemblymember, 7th District; and Jim Frazier, Assemblymember, 11th District.

I will report here on any response by the Brown administration to the Legislators’ letter as soon as it becomes available.

These reports of negotiations between the Trump and Brown administrations aren’t at all surprising, since Governor Brown, while often portrayed by many mainstream media sources as a “climate leader” and “the Resistance to Trump,” has steadfastly collaborated with Trump on the construction of the Delta Tunnels and the exemption of California oil fields from the Safe Drinking Water Act.

And while claiming to “oppose” Trump’s plan to open new federal leases to offshore drilling on the Pacific Coast, Brown controls 4 times the number of offshore wells that Trump controls — and has overseen the approval of 238 offshore wells in state waters between 2012 and 2016.

Offshore wells in state waters controlled by the Brown Administration total 5460, versus 1429 offshore wells in federal waters, those three nautical miles or more off California’s coast controlled by the Trump administration, according to Consumer Watchdog. For more information, go to: http://www.BrownvTrumpOilMap.com