For immediate release: June 20, 2018
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected]
MWDOC Board of Directors Approves Staff Recommendation to Support Calvert Rider Stripping Judicial Review From CA WaterFix Tunnels Project
Today, the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) Board of Directors approved unanimously staff’s recommendation to support the language of Congressman Ken Calvert’s rider that seeks to ban judicial review of the Delta tunnels (CA WaterFix) project, despite strong opposition to the rider by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris. During MWDOC Board discussion regarding the rider, board member Larry Dick asserted that he doesn’t believe that there are water quality problems in Southern California and that Beverly Hills and Compton have the same water quality, even though recent news reports have documented water quality problems in Compton.
Members of Social Eco Education (SEE), a Southern California environmental justice advocacy group, representing Southeast Los Angeles County, told MWDOC Board Members that MWDOC is seeking to remove due process rights for future litigation regarding the Delta tunnels by those in Southern California who do not have access to clean drinking water, and that there has been too much backroom political pressure from MWDOC Board Member Brett Barbre on voting members of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Brett Barbre’s political relationship with Congressman Ken Calvert, author of the rider, is well-documented, and documents from a recent PRA request by Food and Water Watch of California reveal that Mr. Barbre was the driving force on the MWD of Southern California Board of Directors for enlisting Governor Brown’s help in moving forward with the $17 billion two tunnel project.
On Monday, MWDOC’s legislative committee expressed a belief that the rider would become law, despite strong opposition from Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris. That committee also stated their support of another rider that was added to the Interior spending bill written by Representative David Valadao (R-Hanford) that would exempt the Central Valley Project and State Water Project from judicial review a well. MWDOC’s General Manager Robert Hunter indicated that Congressman Calvert, a close political advocate for MWDOC, would not have supported the Valado rider if it couldn’t pass.
Executive Director of Restore the Delta, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said,
“The real question now is if Governor Jerry Brown, and the California Department of Water Resources will speak out against Calvert’s Federal rider. For years, the Governor and DWR have promised the public that CA WaterFix is an environmentally beneficial project that would comply with state and federal environmental laws. If so, why are they silent on this rider?
“Furthermore, it is not lost on the people of the Delta that Governor Brown, leader of the opposition to the Trump Administration’s dismantling of environmental and social justice policies, is letting anti-environmental House Republicans from California like Congressman Calvert, Congressman Valadao and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy push forward legislation that would gut environmental protections for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. It is astonishing to us that Governor Brown the champion of environmental and social justice equity would isolate Delta communities, waterways, fisheries, and wildlife from such legal protections by capitulating with California’s House Republicans.”