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For Immediate Release: 3/22/16
Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected]
Water Contractor Launches Legal Attack on State Water Board Officers
Restore the Delta Response
Stockton, CA – On Monday, March 21, 2016 the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority one of the water districts placed on negative credit watch last week due to its bond guarantor, Westlands Water District, engaging in a little Enron accounting, now seeks to disqualify State Water Resources Control Board officers from overseeing the permit process for the Delta Tunnels.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director, Restore the Delta, issued the following response:
“Clearly, the large agribusiness water districts on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley know that the tunnels do not pencil out unless they grab more water from the Bay-Delta estuary. They are seeking to manipulate the State Water Resources Control Board permitting process to that end. We can't help wondering what they fear? Are they worried about what Department of Water Resources or Bureau of Reclamation staff testifying under oath will reveal about water flows?
“In 2010, fishery scientists from environmental NGO's, fishery agencies, and independent groups reached consensus at State Water Resources Control Board hearings that the Bay-Delta estuary needed more water flow entering and flowing out of the Delta. The State Water Resources Control Board concluded at that time, ‘The best available science suggests the current flows are insufficient to protect public trust resources.’
“The SLDMWA motion to disqualify hearing officers is an attempt to revise those findings. They are vying to establish that more flows through the Delta are not needed so that they can, instead, grab the water to fill the tunnels, in order to make them financially viable.
“What is an even greater shame is that Governor Brown has the power to stop this 12 to 24 month permit process currently underway at the State Water Resources Control Board for a project that does not have a detailed finance plan outlining who will pay. Westlands, one of the SLDMWA agencies, clearly does not have money to pay for the project. But instead, Governor Brown is allowing this ill-timed process to move forward and these special interest water districts to manipulate legal water planning processes that impact the Delta and the future of the entire state.
“California does not need the Delta tunnels. It needs the Governor to stand up to special interest water districts that manipulate science and finances to their own ends, and to instead lead the real experts, who work for the public good, toward creating a sustainable water future for all Californians.”
Our press release highlights an importance process to the Delta Tunnels — the permitting of the plan at the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). We’re almost at the end of the month, but we still need more $10 donations to reach our $5,000 goal. Donate $10 today to help us make sure that the SWRCB rejects Delta Tunnels permits.
Check out Conner Everts’ great commentary in Maven’s Notebook blog round-up. Connor Everts writes, “When asked about alternatives to the Delta Tunnels in December 2015, Governor Jerry Brown said, “I don’t think there is a Plan B.” This view was reflected in February 2016 by State Building and Construction Trades Council president Robbie Hunter who said the Tunnels are “…the only viable solution to protect the Delta environment and secure water deliveries.” The power-brokers and concrete-pourers are united in claiming that California’s water security can only be achieved with a massive construction project that will cost $17 billion, likely far more like the Bay Bridge. … ” Read here.