In Case You Missed It:
Secret Negotiations on Bay-Delta Plan Unfolding as Brown Hints at
Major Water Announcement in Next 30 Days
It’s been a busy week at Restore the Delta. Here’s what you need to know:
Newsom and Brown wade into California water wars to delay plan to help fish – Ryan Sabalow for The Sacramento Bee
“Gov. Jerry Brown and incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom have waded in one of California’s fiercest water wars, prompting state regulators to delay a key vote on a proposal meant to help struggling salmon and steelhead trout.
“In a letter Tuesday to the California State Water Resources Board, Brown and Newsom urged it to postpone consideration of proposed regulations to give the various factions involved time to reach an agreement during confidential settlement talks.
“The board was scheduled Wednesday to vote on a plan that would leave up to 40 percent of the water in lower San Joaquin River and its tributaries in their channels to benefit struggling fish. The move would mean more water will flow to the Pacific Ocean rather than be captured by dams or shunted into canals to grow crops and supply cities such as Modesto and San Francisco.
“Currently, as much as 80 percent of the water in the lower San Joaquin watershed is taken from the rivers for human use.”
The State Board delayed their vote to December 12—around the same time that the Delta Stewardship Council will finalize amendments to the Delta Plan.
Future of WaterFix debated in public hearings – Tony Kukulich for The Brentwood Press
“Last week opponents and proponents of the California WaterFix Project squared off against one another again, this time during three days of hearings and public comments as the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) attempted to determine if WaterFix, aka the Delta tunnels project, is consistent with the Delta Plan.
“The DSC has 60 days from the completion of the hearing to issue its ruling on DWR’s request for a certification of consistency. They will hold a two-day workshop to review a draft of the findings on Nov. 16 and 17 in West Sacramento. In late December, another two-day long meeting will be scheduled for DSC to discuss and issue its final ruling. That will also be open to the public. Both meetings are open to the public and there will be opportunities for public comment at both sessions.
“Keeling concluded his testimony by stating, ‘This is not the Metropolitan Water District Service Area Stewardship Council. This is not the Westlands Stewardship Council. This is not the Inland Empire Stewardship Council. This not the Kern County Stewardship Council. This is the Delta Stewardship Council. The Delta is more than a conduit in a plumbing system … this Delta Stewardship Council is charged, in large part, with protecting (the Delta). Please deny DWR’s request to affirm its consistency determination.’
All of these important decisions coincide with Governor Brown potentially striking a “big water deal” in the next 30 days, according to political columnist Dan Walters. Tunnels proponents’ final push immediately follows the announcement of two major financial hurdles for the project. The tunnels were not selected for EPA WIFIA loans, nor will the project receive any of the $400 million dollars that would have come from Prop 3 if it had been approved by voters.
Legislators request info on Trump and Brown administration negotiations over Delta Tunnels – Dan Bacher for Red Green and Blue
“On Friday, November 2, Members of the California Legislature representing the Delta sent Governor Jerry Brown a letter inquiring about reports of conversations between Governor Brown’s Administration and the Trump Administration regarding the future of the California WaterFix project.
“’Any conversations that exclude Delta communities are unacceptable and we are demanding answers,’ said Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman regarding the letter.
“The letter states, ‘We have heard that local, federal and state agencies that have engaged in these discussions have all signed some form of confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements. These constituents not only prevent our constituents from learning about these negotiations, but they also restrict the ability of our constituents to meaningfully participate in decisions that will affect their future and the future of the Delta. It also our understanding that Delta area local governments, fishermen and stakeholders have not been included in these negotiations.’”
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We will continue to keep you posted as more information become available. Thank you for sticking with us.
Yours in Service,
Restore the Delta