Sacramento – Today Earthjustice, representing Restore the Delta, submitted detailed testimony from several environmental, recreational, tribal and public trust advocates for Part 2 of State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) hearings on the Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix), slated to begin January 18, 2018.
The SWRCB’s hearings will focus on whether the California Department of Water Resources’ and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s requested permits for new water intakes on the Sacramento River are in the public interest. These intakes would feed the tunnels and divert essential freshwater flows south, further damaging the water quality, ecosystems, and residents that rely on a healthy Delta.
This coalition of Delta advocates includes Executive Director of grassroots organization Restore the Delta, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Government Affairs representative for the Winnemem Wintu Tribe Gary Mulcahy, Delta fisherman and hunter Roger Mammon, and water rights author and Policy Analyst for Restore the Delta Tim Stroshane.
In their opening statement, Restore the Delta notes that the construction and operation of the proposed dual tunnels through the Delta would:
1) Constitute an unreasonable method of diversion of water;
2) Eliminate suitable habitat for endangered species like the giant garter snake and various native fish species;
3) Increase toxic selenium contamination in SF Bay-Delta waterways;
4) Fail to follow the law requiring that beneficiaries of the water diverted by the tunnels project pay the full costs of the project;
5) Fail to serve the public interest in terms of environmental benefits and of the economic interests of Californians;
6) Degrade water quality for Delta water users and Northern California tribes.
Further, the project proposal does not:
7) Provide a financial plan or a cost-benefit analysis for proper public review despite the project’s estimated 17-billion-dollar cost;
8) Protect southern California environmental justice communities receiving imported water supplies through Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) from substantial increases in domestic water bills;
9) Allow for transparent public oversight of the project, due to the proposed creation of multiple Joint Power Authorities whose decisions would be shielded from public review.
For Immediate Release: November 30, 2017
Trent Orr, Earthjustice, 415-217-2082, [email protected]
Michelle Ghafar, Earthjustice, [email protected]
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected]