For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; [email protected]; Twitter: @shopcraft;
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 [email protected]; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta
Sacramento, CA- Restore the Delta (RTD), the leading opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build massive underground water tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today responded to Gov. Brown’s continued advocacy of his tunnels.
“A month after telling critics of his Delta tunnels plan to ‘shut up,’ Governor Brown is on a Southern California speaking tour to tout his leadership during the drought. This follows on the heels of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s recent op-ed in the LA Times in which she continues to beat the drum for greater flexibility in managing water exports from the north part of the state to the south,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. “It’s a shame that they both have forgotten the impacts of the drought on the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary, which is on the verge of an ecological collapse, or the impacts of the drought on Delta farmers, who have voluntarily cut water use by 25%.”
Both Governor Brown and Senator Feinstein continue to push forward a sixty-year-old vision of building big projects to move water from one part of the state to the other, claiming all the while it is for the benefit of Southern California residents. Yet, historically, 70% of the water taken from the Delta has gone, and continues to go, to big agribusiness growers like Stewart Resnick, who has publicly stated that he plans to expand his almond empire holdings by 50% over the next five years.
The pumps have yet to be shut off one day during this four-year drought. Los Angeles water districts said they needed about 700,000 acre-feet of water for health and human safety. Yet, we know that 1.5 million acre-feet have been exported thus far this year, and the pumps continue pumping. Who is receiving that water and for what purpose?
This is all part of Governor Brown’s shell game for the Delta tunnels. Use fear of disaster to sell people scared by the drought on the need for the Delta tunnels. Get urban ratepayers and property tax payers to pay for the project. Deliver the water to the hedge fund and conglomerate agribusiness growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
Governor Brown’s drought orders, and Senator Feinstein’s secretive Federal legislation, place the bull’s eye squarely on the back of Delta fisheries and communities. Their response to the drought has been to throw Delta water quality standards out the window, standards which were created through science and administrative legal hearings. This is why we, along with our environmental partners, filed a lawsuit last week against the Bureau of Reclamation and the State Water Resources Control Board. It isn’t about favoring smelt over our Southern California neighbors.
“With good investments in water conservation, recycling, storm water capture, cisterns, and other water savings technologies, we can take care of our urban centers and Delta fisheries. What we cannot sustain is subsidizing water for the top 1% of growers at the expense of the most magnificent estuary on the west coast of the Americas,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “It’s time for Governor Brown to stop carrying water for special interests and to show leadership in creating water programs that benefit ALL Californians.”