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Modified Bay Delta Plan Still Draws Critics
by Chris Clarke
“A $25 billion plan to reengineer the Sacramento Delta and San Francisco Bay estuary has been trimmed down, but some say the project would still harm fish and other aspects of the Delta’s beleaguered environment….
“You can dress it up, you can dress it down by making the project look less industrial,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of the Stockton-based environmental group Restore The Delta. “But if you divert the Sacramento River from the Delta, it will kill the SF Bay-Delta estuary. It is still a water grab, and slightly lessening the construction impacts means nothing.” Restore the Delta says that the amended project, if built, will still pose a devastating threat to Sacramento River salmon and steelhead, as well as the endangered Delta smelt.
“Opponents also cite the threat to the Delta’s abundant bird life from a set of temporary transmission lines, which would pose a risk of impact injuries during their ten-year proposed lifespan. Instead of spending $25 billion in tax funds and ratepayer dollars to build the project, a figure opponents claim is likely to double once interest payments and overruns are included, Plan opponents say the state should ramp up water conservation and efficiency programs, while spending some of that infrastructure capital to strengthen the Delta’s existing levees and protecting the estuary by reducing net water exports from
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