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Pro-Tunnel Agencies Rush Through Permits Despite Open Public Comment Period

For Release: August 27, 2015
Contact: Brian Smith, 415-320-9384[email protected] \ Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053 [email protected], Twitter: @RestoretheDelta \ Osha Merserve, Delta Water Rights attorney, 916-425-9914

State and Feds Steamroll Ahead Despite Open Public Comment Period
“Change Petition” Filed for New Diversion Points from Sacramento River

Sacramento, CA – The California Department of Water Resources and the United States Bureau of Reclamation today announced that they have jointly submitted permit requests to add three additional points of water diversion from the Sacramento River to supply the State Water Project and Central Valley Project.

Read the petition here.

The three intakes would each have a capacity of 3,000 cubic feet per second. That potential 9,000cfs is a shocking amount of water exports considering that TODAY, the Sacramento is so dry it occasionally runs backward at Freeport station at high tide!

The exported water would not be allowed to flow through the Delta where it is needed for farming, drinking water, and the protection of endangered species like the Chinook Salmon and the Greater Sandhill Crane. The water would instead be sent in two 30-mile-long, 40-foot diameter tunnels beneath the Delta directly to the state and federal projects, then conveyed to large corporate farm operations in the southern San Joaquin Valley and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Calling this step an “important milestone for the project” the agencies have begun the process of clearing the way for the Delta Tunnels, despite the fact that the EIR/EIS on the proposed project is open for public comment until October 30, 2015.

“This application looks like a rush job, it’s not even filled out completely,” said Osha Merserve, a Delta water rights attorney. “The petition just says ‘see EIR’ for much of the basic info. Good luck finding that in the 48,000 pages of cross-referenced material with multiple errata. This application is a real sales pitch and it’s full of holes.”

“It’s astounding these agencies continue to steamroll the tunnels project as if federal permits won’t again be rejected on environmental grounds, or that water district funding won’t dry up when they realize what a boondoggle the tunnels are,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta.

“This petition seeks to permit the construction of the tunnels before the required consideration of the water quality impacts on the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary. This permit application, along with the recent documents we revealed showing plans to take hundreds of Delta farms through eminent domain, show these agencies consider the democratic process is just a side show because Governor Jerry Brown and corporate interests in Southern California are demanding action. The process has become profoundly anti-democratic,” added Barrigan-Parrilla.


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  • Mike Bradford
    August 28, 2015, 3:27 am

    This is a Outrage of Unethical Proportions. Totally Ignoring in place Enviromental acts such as the Clean Water Act. State and Federal agencies are Buckling to the knees of Politicians and Big Ag Corps that dont Give a Dam about the Devistation these Tunnels would do to the Bay and Delta Eco System. It will Literally KILL the Farming, Fisheries and Many Wildlife that Depend on this System !! The Tunnels and their so called engineers are such a Inept Group not looking at Expansion of Watersheds and snow rain runoff capturing systems for Proper Long Term Water Storage and delivery system, that will not destroy a Sensitive Excisting Eco System. In one schocking word, it’s RAPE ??

  • Linda Jones
    August 28, 2015, 4:09 am

    What will this help ? Clearlake CA is under adrout right now how will this help US!!! Tunnels will take what water we have.

  • Susan Hoy
    August 28, 2015, 1:31 pm

    I used to think Jerry Brown was the ” Greatest” and I voted for him. He has become just another greedy old politician being used by corporate interests. He does not care about California…….he only cares about his “legacy”. It is so wrong to undermine our water sources.