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MEDIA ADVISORY: Advocates Denounce Biased Delta Tunnels Event at Sacramento Bee

MEDIA ADVISORY:  July 12, 2016

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053 [email protected]
Brian Smith, 415-320-9384 [email protected]

Advocates Denounce
Biased Delta Tunnels Event at Sacramento Bee

WHAT: Sacramento Bee’s “Conversation” with Jeffrey Kightlinger, General Manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD)

WHERE: The Sacramento Bee, 2100 Q Street, Sacramento, CA

WHEN: Wednesday, July 13, 6:00 PM

WHO: Delta Residents, Farmers, Fishermen, SF Bay Conservationists asking hard questions at biased Sacramento Bee event. Buy tickets here.

Delta activists will ask hard questions at a Sacramento Bee special event Wednesday night. Fishermen, farmers, and Delta residents have denounced this “pro-tunnels sales pitch” as an insult to Northern Californians.

Restore the Delta made repeated requests to Sacramento Bee editor, Dan Morain to balance the event with an opposing expert to debate the Delta Tunnels proposal. Email and phone requests were ignored. Restore the Delta proposed a highly credentialed opponent of the Delta Tunnels – Jonas Minton, the former Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources – to also be a speaker.

“A debate with the head of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California would be of enormous public benefit,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla executive director of Restore the Delta. “We offered an expert for such an event. Unfortunately, tonight Sacramento Bee editorial page editor Dan Morian will instead host a sales pitch for the Delta Tunnels.”

Barrigan-Parrilla, referring to one of the darkest chapters in Los Angeles water history said, “SF Bay-Delta estuary residents will not let their home become the next Owens Valley. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is orchestrating one of the largest water grabs in California history. Most Northern California newspaper editorial boards have already expressed their opposition to the destructive Delta Tunnels proposal. The Sacramento Bee is the outlier.”

Questions for MWD’s Jeff Kightlinger:

1.    Why does MWD staff continue to tell MWD board members that the Delta Tunnels will provide them more water when it is clear that climate change will lead to less snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and reduce flows to fill the tunnels?

2.    Are you confident that your property-tax payers and ratepayers understand the magnitude of potential costs of this risky and expensive project that will take 14 years to build if all goes according to plan? Do your ratepayers understand the project will not bring them any drought relief?

3.    Given these high stakes for the public, will you pledge to give ratepayers and property tax- payers a vote on the project?  Will you pledge that there will be no cost overruns and the project will be completed on time?

4.    Can you provide us with Metropolitan’s cost-benefit analysis that has been used to arrive at the conclusion to support the project? How many billions of dollars will Metropolitan Water District be paying for its share of the project?

5.    Official State environmental documents indicate that the tunnels cannot increase water exports out of the Bay-Delta Estuary without unacceptable sacrifices to water quality protections for the Bay-Delta and for endangered species. Will you commit to accepting no additional exports (or even less water) from the Delta if the tunnels are built to protect Bay-Delta water quality and species?

6.    Metropolitan is proposing to spend hundreds of millions on the purchase of the Delta Islands with a declaration that “no” decision has been made to use these islands as a means to export more water. Will you pledge today that the islands will not be used as a means to take even more water from this imperiled estuary?

7.    Can you promise that the Delta Islands purchase will not be paid for by California taxpayers, such as by applying for Proposition 1 funding, to meet your existing mitigation obligations for present water exports from this imperiled estuary?

Questions for Sac Bee’s Dan Morain:

1.    Readers and residents deserve a vibrant debate over the Delta Tunnels and Metropolitan’s purchase of five Delta Islands. Why instead do we get this one-sided PR event?

2.    Is the Sacramento Bee Editorial Board biased in favor of the Delta Tunnels?

3.    Why does your newspaper refuse to ask hard questions about water availability and costs?

NOTE: Delta Advocates had originally planned a public demonstration in front of the Bee and had more than 100 RSVPs but chose to cancel the protest considering recent civil unrest across the nation.

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