≡ Categories

10/30/23: NGOs say DWR must revise Delta Conveyance Project (Delta Tunnel) Draft EIR

NGOs, including Restore the Delta, say the Department of Water Resources must revise the Delta Conveyance Project (Delta Tunnel) Draft EIR due to significant new information set forth in the Water Board’s Staff Report in their additional supplemental comments submitted to the Department of Water Resources.

From the letter sent on 10/30/23: 

Dear Director Karla Nemeth and Department of Water Resources:

By this letter, our public interest organizations submit additional supplemental comments on the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Delta Conveyance Project.

These comments follow up the comments our organizations submitted on December 15, 2022, and supplemental comments we submitted on June 29, 2023.

These supplemental comments provide significant new information regarding environmental impacts of the proposed project that became available after DWR made the subject Draft EIR available for public review on July 27, 2022. The public interest organizations joining in this supplemental comment letter are Sierra Club California, AquAlliance, California Water Impact Network, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Water Caucus, Friends of the River, Planning and Conservation League, and Restore the Delta.

The new information set forth in these supplemental comments and the referenced documents add to the circumstances requiring revision of the Draft EIR and recirculation for public review and comment that our organizations said was required in our previous comments on the Draft EIR.

The Staff Report/SED contains new significant information that adds to the circumstances requiring DWR to revise the Draft EIR and recirculate the revised Draft EIR for public review and comment. The Water Board’s Staff Report/SED proposed Delta Plan amendments require substantial increases in Delta outflows to protect the environment including prevention of extinctions of endangered and threatened fish species. In stark contrast to that, DWR’s Delta Conveyance Project would result in substantial decreases in Delta outflows. The new points of diversion for DWR’s proposed Delta tunnel Project could only be developed if 3 approved by the Water Board. (Staff Report/SED, Ch. 7.22, p. 7.22-5.) DWR’s march in the opposite direction from the Water Board’s proposed Plan amendments must be aired by DWR in a revised Draft EIR on the Delta Conveyance Project for public review and decisionmaker information.