For immediate release: July 27, 2018
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected]
Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the Delta, 510-847-7556, [email protected]
Restore the Delta Submits Comments on Bay-Delta Plan Updates;
SWRCB Prohibits Discussion of Plan Updates at WaterFix Hearing
STOCKTON, CA – Today, Restore the Delta submitted their comments regarding the proposed updates to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan in a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).
As outlined in their recent policy statement on the Water Quality Control Plan, Restore the Delta maintains that the Plan does not examine water quality impacts on the Delta’s environmental justice community, nor does it protect salinity standards for south Delta agriculture. In addition, the Plan fails to establish the 50-60 percent flow criteria needed for salmon population and habitat restoration in the San Joaquin River and its tributaries. Finally, the Plan does not guarantee that new inflows to the Delta will not be exported to south of Delta customers; nor does it guarantee that these through-Delta flows will be used for San Francisco Bay outflow.
The SWRCB will close their public comment period for Phase I of the Water Quality Control Plan by the end of today (July 27) and will deliberate the adoption of the proposed Phase I Plan amendments at its public meetings on August 21 and August 22.
As the Board begins their review and response period of these comments on the Plan, the Board will also resume the change petition hearing for the Delta tunnels project, also known as the “California WaterFix” on August 2.
However, the CA WaterFix hearing team claimed that, “The merits of the WaterFix project, however, are not related to the Board’s consideration of the proposed Bay-Delta Plan amendments and are not appropriate topics of discussion at the Board meeting,” in an email sent to the tunnels hearing service list on Wednesday, July 25, ultimately restricting the discussion of the Plan updates during this stage of the hearing.
Policy Analyst for Restore the Delta and author of the comment letter, Tim Stroshane said,
“Long-awaited updates to Plans like this one [Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan] should be completed before projects like the Governor’s ‘California WaterFix’ tunnels break ground, but the Governor would never let that happen. His tunnels, the proverbial elephant in the room, dictate the Plan and its updates. But the Board has not and will not allow any public comments on WaterFix related to the Plan because the Board cannot violate ex parte communications rules for the project’s water rights hearing; ironically, the WaterFix project will undo the Board’s ultimate plan to revive salmon populations. The Governor forced the Board into this predicament. If the Board has an endgame for this catch-22 world in the Delta, they won’t or can’t say what it is.”
Yesterday, Restore the Delta signed on to a comment letter written and submitted by The Bay Institute and Friends of the San Francisco Estuary on behalf of a coalition of 58 environmental, tribal, fishing, Delta, and business communities invested in healthy Central Valley Rivers and a thriving San Francisco Bay Estuary, including the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.