≡ Categories

Restore the Delta seeks a full accounting of financial plan and state audit

For Immediate Release: May 9, 2016
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053
Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the Delta, 510-847-7556

Federal and State Taxes to Fund the Delta Tunnels:
Restore the Delta seeks a full accounting of financial plan and state audit

Stockton, CA — Citing a lack of state or federal legislative authorization, Restore the Delta today sent a detailed request under the California Public Records Act to a half dozen public agencies, including the California Department of Water Resources seeking details about the funding plan for the proposed Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix).
The letter was addressed to officials at Zone 7 Water Agency, Westlands Water District, Metropolitan Water District, Kern County Water Agency, and the Santa Clara Valley Water District, in addition to the California Department of Water Resources.
The letter asks the agencies to clarify how “…the continued planning and design of the proposed project is funded by each major water contractor who may benefit from its construction, operation and maintenance, and who provide security for state and federal debt issuance.”
The group seeks assurance that “…best practices consistent and compliant with the taxation principles of the California Constitution as amended by Propositions 218 and 26…” are being followed. Restore the Delta also seeks information regarding how the US Bureau of Reclamation came to finance Delta Tunnels planning for the Westlands Water District.
The letter concludes that Restore the Delta will ask the State Auditor and Joint Legislative Audit Committee to investigate the funding plan for the Delta Tunnels proposal.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta said, “No finance plan has been made public. Recent Federal investigations have led many urban residents to suspect that they will be forced to subsidize (with higher water rates and property taxes) industrial agriculture on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, growing crops for export. The agencies promoting the project have been very secretive about how interim project costs have been paid to date and how the project will be paid for in the future. The original concept was a project funded by the beneficiaries, which is important since 70 percent of the water will go to big industrial growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.”
“They’ve said for years that ‘beneficiaries should pay’ for the Delta Tunnels but like a classic bait and switch, they’d like to find ways for unsuspecting urban ratepayers and taxpayers in Silicon Valley and Southern California to pay the majority,” said Tim Stroshane, policy analyst with Restore the Delta and author of today’s letter. “While the project has been around for 10 years, there has been no single, accurate description of how the state and federal governments and their water contractors intend to finance the Delta Tunnels. Restore the Delta seeks information to help accomplish that.”
Among questions for ratepayers are:
– How have the contractors funded planning and design of the Delta Tunnels plan so far?
– What shares have all water contractors paid to date since 2006, and for what purposes?
– Which funding sources, including debt, have Tunnel proponents used and how much funding have they raised, by source?
– Did DWR or water contractors issue debt financing for Tunnels planning and design activities and how was their debt issuance secured?
– Were legal contract procedures followed for planning and design activities with qualified staff awarded contracts?
– Have funds been raised and spent in accordance with Proposition 218 and Proposition 26?
– Have ratepayers and taxpayers been properly notified if contractors are using specific local revenue sources to raise these funds?
About Restore the Delta:
Restore the Delta (restorethedelta.org) is a grassroots campaign by residents and organizations committed to restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta so that fisheries and farming can thrive there together again. We work through public education and outreach so that all Californians recognize the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta as part of California’s natural heritage, deserving of restoration. We fight for a Delta with waters that are fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable, able to support the health of the estuary, San Francisco Bay, and the ocean beyond. Our coalition envisions the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as a place where a vibrant local economy, tourism, recreation, farming, wildlife, and fisheries thrive for future generations as a result of resident efforts to protect our waterway commons. Restore the Delta advocates for local Delta stakeholders to ensure that they have a direct impact on water management decisions that affect the well-being of their communities, in addition to water sustainability policies for all Californians.

Leave a Comment

{ 0 comments… add one }