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DELTA ISLANDS PURCHASE: Delta Residents Rally in Support of Legal Action Against Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

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For Immediate Release:
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, Restore the Delta, [email protected]

 

DELTA ISLANDS PURCHASE:
Delta Residents Rally in Support of Legal Action Against Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Sacramento – Today, the Planning and Conservation League and Food and Water Watch, as well as three Delta local agencies, Central Delta Water Agency, Contra Costa County, and San Joaquin County announced they will file a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Met) over their plan to purchase several islands in the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.

On March 14, 2016, Metropolitan Water District had filed a Notice of Exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act for the purchase of the Delta islands, claiming the purchase was for Delta habitat restoration purposes. 

However, Met’s General Manager, Jeff Kightlinger, admitted to the press at the time of the island purchase announcement that the islands could facilitate building the $15.7 billion Delta tunnels project championed by Governor Brown by “reducing eminent-domain needs and providing a storage place for construction dirt.”

In addition, Mr. Kightlinger made additional public statements regarding the uses and benefits of the Delta islands that contradicted the CEQA exemption statement.

At a rally in Stockton in support of the lawsuit, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta said:

group photo
“Based on this improper CEQA filling, we are calling on the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors to reverse the bad vote that they made at their General Manager’s urging to purchase the Delta islands. Clearly, the purchase of the Delta islands is Met’s attempt to anchor the Delta tunnels in our region so that construction could begin, despite the fact that the plan is still not approved or financed.

“The $175 million purchase price for the Delta islands does not count the costs to Southern California ratepayers for the inevitable litigation that begins with today’s filing. If Met loses in court, they will not be able to ever sell these islands for the same price. That means Southern Californian water users will become owners of a very expensive duck habitat hundreds of miles to the north. Met will also be on the hook for maintenance of hundreds of miles of Delta levees, an ongoing cost that will be paid year after year by Southern California ratepayers.

 “Our 35,000 members from throughout California agree there are better ways for Southern California water agencies to plan for their water future.  More than 7500 area residents have already signed letters that will be sent to Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors urging them to drop the Delta islands purchase and to instead invest the $175 million in solutions that build sustainability in Southern California like storm water capture and water recycling. Met has already spent nearly $100 million on Delta tunnels planning, but the process at the State Water Board has recently ground to a halt, and there is no financial plan between Met and agricultural water districts, like the SEC fined Westlands, as to who will pay what proportion of the $15.5 billion construction costs.”
 

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Bonnie Heuer
    April 14, 2016, 10:04 pm

    Protect the Delta

  • kevin dunham
    April 14, 2016, 10:16 pm

    What a scam!

  • evi hamil
    April 14, 2016, 10:41 pm

    Save our Delta!!!

  • Norma Powell
    April 14, 2016, 10:44 pm

    Any diversion of Delta waters will affect the whole ecosystem of the Central Valley, the Bay Area, and Northern California.

  • Scott Anderson
    April 15, 2016, 12:14 am

    Stop the tunnels and Governor Moonbeam.

  • Maralyn Jammal
    April 15, 2016, 2:16 am

    Stop the tunnels…thisbis an outrageous plan
    Governer Brown is the worst, he sold us out

  • M smith
    April 15, 2016, 2:54 am

    Save the Delta!

  • Rebekah S Aronson
    April 15, 2016, 4:05 pm

    Protect our delta!

  • mary wilson
    April 15, 2016, 5:02 pm

    Joe Wilson is turning in his grave!

  • April 15, 2016, 8:55 pm

    I’ve already had a heart attack in part because of the amount of salt in my drinking water. Stop the LA water grab.

  • April 16, 2016, 1:10 am

    save the delta

Join us in the fight to SAVE the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas!