STOCKTON – Yesterday, Restore the Delta, represented by Earthjustice, joined a motion to stay for part two of the CA WaterFix hearing before the State Water Resources Control Board, initially filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, and The Bay Institute.
The motion to stay explains that continuing with the CA WaterFix hearing is not in the public interest due to significant changes in the project and should be postponed indefinitely. Tunnel(s) opponents anticipate a ruling on the motion from the State Water Board, and an official statement from CA WaterFix staff announcing a new project proposal that features one tunnel with two new intakes instead of two tunnels with three intakes, or a phased-in project.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta said,
“The State Water Board should grant the motion to stay because these significant changes have not been studied during WaterFix’s eleven years of planning and analysis. Before the State Water Board can approve this new version of the project, potential construction and operation impacts of a one tunnel project with two intakes must be studied extensively, and the permitting application at the State Water Board must be redone to reflect this new project.
“Continuing the hearing as if the project hasn’t changed would be a shameful waste of time, talent, and resources that would be better spent pursuing sustainable alternatives that promote regional self-reliance and water sustainability in communities throughout California.”
The most critical approval needed for Governor Brown’s Delta tunnel(s) project (ironically named “California WaterFix”) is that of the State Water Resources Control Board. The approval process was initiated by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in August 2015, by their filing of a Petition for Change in the point from which water can be diverted. The State Board’s approval of that Petition is essential for construction of the proposed project. Tunnel(s) proponents, and those opposing the twin tunnels, called “protestants,” present sworn testimony and other evidence to support their positions before the State Board. The State Board’s WaterFix Hearing Officers are the decision-makers who must hear the evidence from all sides and eventually decide the fate of the Petition for Change.
The motion to stay by the NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, and The Bay Institute follows a recently filed motion from San Joaquin County, Sacramento County, City of Stockton, City of Antioch, and Local Agencies of the North Delta. The coalition filed a motion to stay the WaterFix hearing on January 16, 2018, requesting a 90 day delay to investigate allegations of ex parte communications between Department of Water Resources personnel and the State Board’s WaterFix hearing team.
For immediate release: 2/1/18
Michelle Ghafar, Earthjustice, [email protected], 415-217-2186
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected]