For Immediate Release: 10/27/20
Contact: Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the Delta, 510-847-7556, [email protected]
Stockton, CA – Today, a coalition of water and conservation organizations filed a lawsuit at the California Superior Court in Sacramento to challenge the California Department of Water Resources attempt to validate revenue bonds for the proposed Delta Water Tunnel. The lawsuit maintains that the validation being sought by DWR is premature.
Conservation groups are seeking injunctive relief that will direct the California Department of Water Resources to rescind its Delta Program Revenue Bond General Bond Resolution.
The coalition filing the lawsuit today includes: Restore the Delta, Sierra Club California, Center for Biological Diversity, and the Planning and Conservation League and Friends of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
DWR Seeking a Blank Check
Doug Obegi an attorney from NRDC explains that in August, DWR attempted to issue itself a Blank Check for a Delta Tunnel project, by effectively filing a lawsuit against every Californian in order to validate a bond or government financing mechanism for all time. This would open a funding stream for the agency despite having no completed environmental analysis.
“…if DWR wins the lawsuit, then no person in California could ever file a lawsuit challenging those bonds or financing mechanisms to repay those bonds. While the lawsuit applies to everyone in California, everyone who lives in the service area of the State Water Project are the most likely to get stuck with the bill for this project,” said Obegi.
Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the Delta said:
“DWR put the cart before the horse. There is no final Delta tunnel plan, no environmental impact report, no permit from the State Water Resources Control Board, and no Federal permits. They don’t even have a Federal partner for the project. They don’t know which route the tunnel will be built through, and they do not have a finalized community mitigation plan. Worse, they don’t know how much water will be available to move through the tunnel.
“We were promised a proper process this time around for planning with the single tunnel. But this premature move to secure unlimited funding during the COVID-19 pandemic is just more of the same old shenanigans we have seen over the years from the Department of Water Resources in regard to the tunnel. The tunnel is a project that Californians continue to reject, including most recently Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetii, because it is too costly and produces no new water. With drought looming once again, climate change caused fires, and financially strapped municipal water districts throughout the state, the tunnel makes less sense than ever.”