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A race card is dealt

This backup plan to get freshwater to urban areas in the unlikely event of levee failure should relieve the minds of the Latino Water Coalition, which has teamed up with the California Conference of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) to write to Interior Secretary Salazar and Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, urging them to finalize the BDCP. (See letter here.) They argue that “it is the large urban population centers that will suffer the greatest social, economic, and environmental harm if an earthquake or other natural disaster disrupts Delta water supplies, and the residents of those communities are more likely to belong to an ethnic minority group than residents in other parts of the state.”

“According to recent census data,” says the letter, “more than 70 percent of Californians who identify themselves as Black or African American, two-thirds who identify themselves as Latino or Hispanic, and 70 percent who identify themselves as Asian, live in urban counties1 reliant on water exported from the South Delta.”

Now that the Latino Water Coalition’s “fish versus people” argument has been exposed as false, they’re trying to make this an “ethnic majority versus minority” issue. We don’t think they’ll get very far with that approach, either, considering the ethnic make-up of portions of the Delta region, especially San Joaquin County, which is already suffering economically and will be harmed further by a peripheral canal/tunnel. Also, urban dwellers of every ethnicity are going to be subsidizing this boondoggle through increased water rates. The canal/tunnel is an unnecessarily costly way to get them the reliable water they need. It is an unjust project for all people in California, except for that tiny percentage of corporate agribusiness owners and water agency officials who want to continue making big money off of water.

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