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Update on CEQA and Budget Trailers

Restore the Delta has been tracking what is happening in Sacramento with the aid of several partner organizations. Language and bills have evolved. Here is what we have learned. Thanks to leadership in both the State Assembly and Senate, they have curtailed the Newsom Administration’s efforts to loosen up CEQA requirements for Delta tunnel construction. We are grateful to the California Legislature for putting up these guard rails. The CEQA provision in the trailer bill could apply to the adoption of regulations by state agencies to large-scale habitat restoration projects. The new adopted language makes clear that the CEQA exemption “does not apply to a project that includes construction activities, except for construction activities solely related to habitat restoration.”  In addition, the trailer [...]

ACTION ALERT UPDATE: No Delta Tunnel in the CEQA Exemption Bill!

As we stated in our Sunday newsletter, the Newsom Administration is trying to move forward with disingenuous Delta watershed restoration bills that replace water with habitat (instead of doing both).  This is part of their full court press to create “voluntary agreements” to fill the Delta tunnel.  We need you to call your legislator and Governor Newsom’s office to express opposition to the following two bills: In Section 23 of SB 155 published Sunday is current wording re  CEQA exemption for habitat projects:https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB155In section 10 of SB 170 published today is funding for habitat projects:https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB170 What they are proposing completely disregards the needs of Delta communities for healthy water quality and quantity. Furthermore, as explained Sunday, it will allow a political appointee of any and [...]

Delta Flows: Monitoring for the Bay-Delta Estuary on Multiple Fronts

Before we continue with the blog below, we want to thank our contributors who have helped us keep this vitally important work for the estuary going. This weekend is the 15th anniversary and start of the 16th year of work by Restore the Delta! If you have been busy this summer and unable to contribute to Our Living Delta, it’s not too late. Click her to make a contribution.  As you read this blog, you will see that we are busier than ever working to protect the estuary that we all love.CEQA Reform Bill UpdateA number of our followers were in touch with us quickly after our last alert asking for a bill number for the CEQA Reform Bill in the California legislature and [...]

ACTION ALERT: No Delta Tunnel in the CEQA Exemption Trailer!

Govenor Newsom is trying to slip in pro-tunnel language into the CEQA exemption trailer. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) generally requires state and local government agencies to inform decision makers and the public about the potential environmental impacts of proposed projects, and to reduce those environmental impacts to the extent feasible. Call your legislator and Governor Newsom and tell them #NoDeltaTunnel in the CEQA reform bill. 1. Contact your legislator here. Enter your address and it will show you who your State Senator and State Assemblymember are, with links to each of their websites and contact information.2. Contact Governor Newsom’s office:  Via Email: Through his website, scroll down to the email submission form. Via Phone: (916) 445-2841Via Twitter: @CAGovernor  Yours in action,Restore the Delta

DELTA FLOWS: About a Cosmonaut and the Delta Conveyance Project

by Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the DeltaAfter the Wednesday evening “climate change” edition webinar for the Delta Conveyance Project presented by the California Department of Water Resources, I found myself remembering the Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. In the spring of 1967, Komarov gave his life for the Soviet space “team.” When I was nine and a half, the Soviet Union sent Komarov into space in Soyuz 1, even though the Soviet leadership of their space agency and the political class knew that its rocket and space capsule had numerous design flaws that were not resolved before launch. Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet Premier at the time, wanted the mission to happen before May 1, 1967, the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution [...]

Delta Flows: The Delta Conveyance Project, Texas-Style

For decades, Anti-California sentiment has been part of American media news coverage, which sadly too often measures state success only in terms of corporate success. The trope, “what is wrong with California,” does not evaluate the societal, environmental, and economic outcomes that would improve the quality of life for working people within our state. It places two segments of an incomplete narrative side-by-side for consideration: a state can succeed through corporate growth, or it can fail. Corporate responsibility is never delineated when the media frames the story as to whether corporations are thriving or failing in California. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times about AECOM moving its headquarters to Dallas accurately asserts that “Texas state officials have for years been trying to lure [...]

Delta Conveyance Project Update 8/13/21

by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla (with the help of friends) Last week, while our staff was away on leave, vacation, sick time, and other assorted in-Delta activities, DWR held a fisheries workshop on operations of the proposed Delta Conveyance Project. Colleagues from various organizations took an array of notes and shared the following with us. We are editing their notes to share with our followers, with a bit of color commentary; otherwise, we wouldn’t be acting like ourselves.  The webinar presentation indicates that the agencies are proposing several changes in operations of the Delta tunnel compared to WaterFix, and these changes are grounded in wholly inadequate operational criteria. The project may have moved from two tunnels to one, but the operating conditions for water quality [...]

Environmental, Tribal, and Fishing groups oppose so-called “Voluntary Agreements” for the Bay-Delta

For Immediate Release: 8/5/21 Contact: Tim Stroshane, Restore the Delta, 510-847-7556, [email protected] SACRAMENTO – On August 3rd, Restore the Delta signed on to an environmental water coalition letter to all 120 state legislators—40 in the state senate, and 80 in the assembly—opposing Governor Gavin Newsom’s requests for nearly half a billion dollars in funding to the state budget for “voluntary agreements” (or VAs) concerning Sacramento River flows and water quality objectives.  A total of 21 environmental, tribal, and fishing groups joined in signing the letter. The letter informs legislators that the voluntary agreements process is “woefully inadequate.”Read a Defenders of Wildlife brackgrounder on the VAs here. Voluntary Agreements or Regulatory Delay Tactic? Begun in December 2018 as a delaying tactic by senior water right holders, and supported [...]

Water Diversions in Bay-Delta Watershed Curtailed

SACRAMENTO (August 3, 2021) – Tonight the State Water Resources Control Board adopted emergency regulations that will authorize water diversion curtailment orders for the Bay-Delta watershed—reaching from near to the Oregon border to Mendota and Fresno area along the San Joaquin River.

Local, State, and Federal Governments Failing to Protect Delta Residents from HABs

For Immediate Release: July 28, 2021Contact: Mariah Looney, (209) 851-0270, [email protected] STOCKTON, CA – As reported by California State Water Resources Control Board staff, as of 7/27/21, there are more than two dozen outbreaks of harmful algal blooms (HABs) presently in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.   Most of these reported levels of cyanobacteria range between “cautionary” to “dangerous.” The majority of the outbreaks are occurring in San Joaquin and Contra Costa Counties, with two outbreaks identified in the Sacramento County portion of the Delta. (To track HABs in California use the bookmark here.) Restore the Delta’s Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said: “We commend State Water Resources Control Board staff for their extensive work and assistance in tracking the multiple HABs outbreaks in the Delta. Our disappointment lies with the Newsom Administration’s [...]