Media Alerts

Single Delta Tunnel Planning Begins with “Notice of Preparation”; Reaction from Restore the Delta

For Immediate Release: January 15, 2020 Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected] STOCKTON, CA – Planning for a single tunnel through the San Francisco Bay-Delta, formally began today as the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released its Delta Conveyance Notice of Preparation. The document begins the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the “Delta Conveyance Project.” DWR’s notice today acknowledges that the proposed single tunnel is a new project, not a continuation of the Twin Tunnels permitting process. For comparison of timelines, the previous (now dead) Twin Tunnels planning process began under Governor Schwarzenegger. Reaction from Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director, Restore the Delta:  “We are disappointed that the notice of preparation for the Delta tunnel project was released todaybecause:  • A tunnel [...]

RTD: Westlands Permanent Water Contract Drafted “In the Shadows”

For Immediate Release: January 8, 2020Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected]  Stockton, CA – Restore the Delta has sent a second comment letter to the Bureau of Reclamation regarding the Westlands Prepayment Contract. This second letter focuses on the process by which the negotiation was conducted.   Here is our first comment letter dealing with the substance of the contract.   Restore the Delta’s executive director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said:“Twenty interested parties were basically shut out of the contract negotiations process between Westlands Water District with the Bureau of Reclamation. Call-in numbers for the public were withheld. Ample notice of meetings was not provided. And legally published meeting notices were vague. As is customary with Westlands Water District, it appears that an effort was made to hide the development of the permanent water contract from the public. It is time for [...]

Restore the Delta Issues Comment Letters on Federal and State Water Operation Planning

 For Immediate Release: 1/6/2020 Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected] STOCKTON – Restore the Delta has filed comment letters on two major planning decisions that impact the health of the San Francisco Bay-Delta. The two processes are the Long Term Delta Operations plan for the State Water Contractors and the Westlands Water Contract. RTD sees problems with both state and federal plans as they impact the Delta.Neither plan:1. Restores the Delta 2. Includes planning for climate resiliency 3. Addresses the impacts of increasing water exports on Delta environmental justice communities 4. Considers the impacts of increased water exports and the spread of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)  The first letter is comments to the California Department of Water Resources on the proposed [...]

In Case You Missed It: Newsom can’t have it both ways on California water

Editorial: Newsom can’t have it both ways on California water – Los Angeles Times, 12/24/19“But despite his Nov. 21 announcement, Newsom’s team still has not filed the water suit. That’s a bad sign, especially when paired with a proposal by the California Department of Water Resources to operate under new pumping rules that look remarkably like the Trump administration plan….” In other words, the large water agencies that supply agriculture and urban areas want Trump’s water and environmental policies to be Newsom’s water and environmental policies. Newsom has to decide whether he’s working for Californians — all of us who have a stake in our water and seek enough to quench our own thirst while keeping our fragile natural environment intact — [...]

ICYMI – Westlands Taking Hostages 12/19/19

Gov. Newsom’s threat to sue Trump upends peace talks on California water wars– SacBee Now, one of the nation’s most powerful farm irrigation districts says it will back out of the agreements completely if Newsom follows through with a pledge to sue President Donald Trump over a federal plan to pump more water to farmers from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the fragile estuary on Sacramento’s doorstep…. But Doug Obegi, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said Westlands’ threat to walk away from the talks — so soon after threatening to walk during the SB 1 debate — amounts to the farm-water agency trying to “bully the state into backing away from fighting the Trump administration.” “It does feel like we’ve [...]

ICYMI – 12/18/19 Trouble Brewing in D.C. over Bernhardt and Westlands…

California water politics complicate House panel’s oversightRoll Call, Washington D.C. 2/16/19Natural Resources chairman wants to investigate Interior secretary’s role in water allocation report that benefited a committee member’s district“Grijalva and Huffman want to know if Bernhardt was involved in changing the report’s findings. If the committee finds evidence of undue meddling in the science, that could result in future decision-making over California water supply getting overturned in federal court. Grijalva may need to issue subpoenas to complete that investigation.” Costa, Cox in pickle as House panel wants to probe Valley water boostSan Joaquin Valley Sun 2/17/19Prepping a probe to see if U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt influenced a plan to deliver far more water to the San Joaquin Valley, House [...]

ICYMI 12/10/19 – Pumping Rules, Water Markets, Delta Fishery Management Hearing

First, two smart takes from Dr. Delta Water Economics, Jeff Michael of the University of the Pacific on Valley Economy Blog 12/9/19Water Supply Reliability Out, Endangered Species Killing Incentives In With New Federal/State Delta Pumping Rules“Water exporters are praising the new rules for their use of real-time operations, as opposed to the old rules that were “calendar based.”  It’s great PR messaging, but lousy policy.  The message appeals on the surface – new rules are modern and with high-tech real time adjustments, while the old-rules are primitive and based on calendars.  Good political messaging, but I would argue that it does not conform to the best available social science and policy design as it reduces water supply reliability and generates strong incentives [...]

RTD UPDATE: 12/06/19 Outcome of Selenium Drainage Permit Hearing at CVRWQB

Yesterday, Delta community members from Restore the Delta, Little Manila Rising, With Our Words, and LGBT+, Social Justice, and neighborhood groups, along with California Striped Bass, Save California Salmon, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Sierra Club California, and Planning and Conservation League achieved a better outcome than anticipated at the Central Valley Regional Water Board. It was not perfect. A selenium discharge permit was granted; however, it will be reopened for reconsideration in two years when more data on selenium discharge becomes available. We got this better result because our coalition of speakers — teenagers to seventy-year-olds — had facts, history, and the truth on their side.Will groups appeal the decision? Most likely yes. However, we were heard and [...]

ICYMI – Reactions to State Action on Trump ESA BiOps 11/22/19

First, a note from Barbara…So our members are clear, the outcome of the Newsom Administration’s announcement yesterday is not good. Yes, they are going to fight the Trump administration on rollbacks to the Delta. For that we are grateful.However, their plan for the Delta is just a little less bad than the Trump plan and increases water exports by another 300,000 acre-feet roughly, despite the Delta Reform Act calling for reduced reliance on the Delta. It weakens fishery protections as well.California Takes Action Against Trump ESA Rollbacks Restore the Delta response – Restore the Delta 11/21/19“We thank Governor Newsom, Secretary Crowfoot and Secretary Blumenfield for taking our concerns seriously. As always we will read newly released documents by the state for the State Water [...]

California Takes Action Against Trump ESA Rollbacks Restore the Delta response

For Immediate Release: 11/21/19 Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta 209-479-2053, [email protected]  Stockton, CA – The State of California announced two actions today that will impact protections of California’s endangered species.The Department of Water Resources issued draft Environmental Impact Report today on the operation of the State Water Project.Agencies also announced intention to sue the federal government over the Trump Administration’s recent biological opinion that would increase the flow of water from federal water projects the SF Bay-Delta to corporate agriculture interests, despite impacts on endangered species like salmon.Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta said:“We are happy to hear that the California Natural Resources Agency has determined that operating rules for the Federal water project are not scientifically adequate and that the state [...]