For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546 [email protected]; Twitter: @shopcraft;
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla [email protected]; 209/479-2053; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta
Funders With Self-Interests Continue to Direct The PPIC Conversation: Bechtel Funds Studies that (Surprise!) Support Peripheral Canal/Tunnel Bechtel Wants to Build
Sacramento, CA – Restore the Delta (RTD) today questioned the influence of special interest funding of Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) research supportive of the largest public works project in California history – a project the funder wants to build. “Restore the Delta is alerting all interested Californians to the connection between PPIC and their funders for their ongoing series of water reports: the Stephen Bechtel Foundation and Resources Legacy Foundation. For four years, funders with financial or political self-interest have continued to direct the PPIC conversation,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director.
“According to PPIC’s own findings, we are exporting 4/5 of Delta water to support .5% of the state’s GDP – huge corporate farms in the Westlands and Kern County water districts. PPIC researchers argue that agricultural values would increase with a ‘conveyance’ because these farmers will move toward more high-end permanent crops. RTD asks, “Is it worth destroying the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast of the Americas to support .5% of the state’s GDP? How does it make sense to sacrifice prime Delta agriculture, which is roughly equivalent economically with Westlands, to perpetuate subsidized water for unsustainable farming on ill-suited lands? Beyond losing Delta agriculture, the Peripheral Canal/tunnel would grievously harm the California recreational and commercial fishing industry. Does it make sense for everyone else in the state to support a project that will subsidize .5% of the state’s GDP with close to 80% of the water?” said Barrigan-Parrilla.
RTD does agree with PPIC’s call for a cost-benefit analysis for a Peripheral Canal/tunnel “to determine which strategy is best for the economy, the net costs of new conveyance need to be compared to the net costs of implementing alternatives with reduced exports.”