At this week’s BDCP Finance Committee meeting, economist Dr. David Sunding announced that the only two alternatives being considered for the statewide cost-benefit analysis of the Peripheral Tunnels project are . . . project, or NO project. If there are other ways to ensure reliable water supplies, such as strengthening Delta levees, the State isn’t interested in evaluating their costs and benefits.
This economic analysis is looking only at the “positive impacts” of the exporters getting salinity-free water. The analysis is certainly not considering adverse impacts on the Delta and Northern California, including adverse aesthetic impacts of the massive intake structures. Notes Friends of the River’s Bob Wright, “The State study will be so biased, that they are going to look at what they claim to be positive impacts of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by taking Delta lands out of production, but are not going to look at positive impacts from such alternatives as taking lands in the San Joaquin Valley out of production, which would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as reduce selenium pollution.”
People who were at the meeting report that Sunding himself seems uncomfortable with the analysis parameters he’s been given by DWR. Fortunately, Dr. Jeff Michael of UOP’s Business Forecasting Center keeps attending these meetings and asking the hard economic questions.