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ICYMI 9/20/21: California Water Policy and Environmental Justice

Opinion: Governor must integrate justice into state water policy  – San Jose Mercury/East Bay Times 9/18/21

Water allocations failing to give tribal communities and communities of color an equal voice

“Northern California tribes fear coming years could see the unnecessary extinction of salmon runs central to our religion and culture. For the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, one of those runs is the winter run Chinook salmon, which is being wiped out this year by high Sacramento River water temperatures. This is not caused by drought alone, but by excessive water deliveries to “senior water rights” holders that have drained Lake Shasta’s cold water.

“In the Delta, pollution and inadequate water flows have led to an explosion of harmful algal blooms. This summer, the Delta is choked by floating masses of electric green algae that can harm people and kill pets, threatening the health, quality of life, and economy of Delta communities.

“Fixing these crises should be top priorities for the State Water Resources Control Board.  Unfortunately, Gov. Gavin Newsom has shut down the Water Board’s efforts here. Instead, the governor supports negotiating so-called “voluntary agreements” with water agencies – including senior water rights holders. Talks have gone on for years and have produced little. Most prominently, they have not increased water flows to restore river and Bay-Delta health.”

DELTA FLOWS: The Window Dressing of Environmental Justice in Delta Tunnel Planning – Tim Stroshane, RTD – 9/19/21

“The event was sponsored by the DWR and was the last of four such webinars this summer. More than 100 people attended mid-program, and there were still about 75 by the start of the Q&A portion of the agenda ninety minutes in.

“It was clear from the webinar that DWR intended to limit the scope of environmental justice (EJ) analysis of the Delta Conveyance Project (Tunnel) as narrowly as it possibly can, and that this Spring’s environmental justice report and upcoming EJ chapter in the Tunnel environmental impact report (EIR) next year will strive for as much decoration of the Tunnel and as little substance as possible about its impacts on Delta EJ communities.”