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Principles of the Principals: The official story

Last week, we reported that a group of congressional representatives and state legislators representing the Delta had written a letter to Lester Snow and Ken Salazar asking for information about the meetings of BDCP “Delta Principals” that have been taking place out of public view. The letter asked for information such as who the principals are, how they were selected, and what the group’s role and objectives are. Resources Secretary Lester Snow has gotten back to Senator Lois Wolk about that. In a September 23 letter, Snow explains that these meetings among “principals who are signatories to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP)” are “a key procedural component of the public BDCP Steering Committee process to achieve the comprehensive strategy [...]

Principles of the Principals: The real story

In an interview earlier this week with the Central Valley Business Times, Jonas Minton of the Planning and Conservation League provided some background on this meeting of “principals.” Click here to read. Exporters undertook the BDCP process to secure water supplies.  Minton notes that we now have overwhelming scientific evidence that if the Bay-Delta Estuary is to be saved, we cannot continue exports at anything like their historic levels, let alone increase exports. According to Minton, “When confronted with those conclusions [that the estuary has had too much fresh water taken from it], the exporters just withdrew” from the public process. In these recent meetings, “They’ve been frantically trying to come up with some kind of agreement that could be [...]

It’s just for discussion. Really.

So what is in this 70-page document? For one thing, it includes material that never had a public hearing. “Although many of the concepts and descriptions within this context document have been discussed in the BDCP Steering Committee, others have not.  Therefore, information within this Document should not be attributed to the Steering Committee.”   The Steering Committee was just a forum for discussing issues. In other words, not really a STEERING committee. Among the water supply goals and objectives is this:  “Improve long-term water supplies  of the SWP and CVP to amounts consistent with those prior to the implementation of the most recent Biological Opinions through improved water conveyance.”  Someone says we can’t have that much water again?  Ignore them. [...]

But let’s not just be negative

By the way, the tunnel being proposed is 45 miles long and so wide in diameter (29 feet) that small planes could fly through it. Maybe the state could sponsor flight competitions to help pay the cost of building the thing.  They certainly won’t be able to use it full-time for conveying water.  Even Northern California can’t produce 15,000 cfs of water 24/7/365.And we can create jobs in California for pilots providing tunnel inspection services.

Earthquake risk: foolish solutions, wise solutions

In her latest blog post on The California Spigot,  Patricia McBroom reports on new USGS findings that the threat of Delta levee breaches in an earthquake is greater than anyone thought. The report is based on the response of Delta soils to ten small earthquakes (up to 4.2 magnitude) that have occurred in the East Bay since 2007. The USGS had monitors at eight places in the Delta, including four on Delta levees. Exporters who want to continue diverting water from the Delta will be using the new USGS report on earthquake threat to bolster their argument for isolated conveyance. That’s exactly the wrong message to take away from this report. Assuming it is true that earthquake threat to the [...]

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