The Fight to Stop the Delta Tunnels Heats Up this Summer
In case you missed it, read:
Why years of waiting may be over on Delta tunnels
"Love it or hate it, the Delta tunnels project is reaching a decision point."
The Sacramento Bee 6/13/17
Restore the Delta, Delta advocates, and environmental groups are gearing up for a heated battle against the continuation of planning for the Delta tunnels this summer.
While the state holds its breath waiting for the release of the official biological opinion next week, state water agencies are making moves to secure a joint-powers authority with the Brown administration to accelerate the project, as reported by Ellen Knickmeyer and Scott Smith of the Associated Press.
As the controversial proposal inches toward a crucial vote in September, state water agencies are attempting to drown out the noise made by Delta advocates rejecting dual conveyance with tedious documents and amendments to the Delta Plan. In fact, recently leaked emails reveal that general manager of Metropolitan Water District, Jeffrey Kightlinger asked member agencies to lobby the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) with pro-tunnels support during the public comments section of their next meeting on June 22 in response to the outpouring of opposition to the proposed amendments at DSC meetings earlier this Spring.
Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee recently reported on “the biggest and most controversial water project California has undertaken since the 1960s,” noting that,
“What Metropolitan and water agencies in Silicon Valley, Fresno, Bakersfield and beyond decide is going to have sweeping ramifications across California. Ratepayers in Southern California and Silicon Valley could see a hit in their monthly water bills. In the San Joaquin Valley, farmers who’ve seen their water supplies decline sharply over the decades to protect endangered Delta fish will decide whether Brown’s promise of more reliable deliveries is worth cutting into their profits…
“In greater Sacramento and throughout the Delta, farmers, environmental groups and elected officials remain deeply mistrustful of the proposal. They call it a ‘water grab’ by moneyed and politically powerful interests bent on siphoning more of Northern California’s water. By routing some of the Sacramento River’s flow directly to massive government pumping stations in the south Delta, they say the tunnels will cut into north state water supplies and do greater harm to native fish species on the brink of extinction.
“The countdown toward a decision could start as early as next week. That’s when two federal agencies in charge of safeguarding the estuary’s dwindling populations of Delta smelt and other fish are expected to release the official ‘biological opinions’ on the projected environmental impacts of the tunnels, and whether the project needs to be reworked.”
During its June 22 meeting, the Delta Stewardship Council must consider the findings of the official biological opinion, in addition to public outcry from Delta environmental justice communities, farmers, fishermen, and environmental groups. We encourage you to attend this meeting and help us pack the room! Get the details.
If you haven’t done so already, voice your opposition against the tunnels by signing our petition by June 19th.