Media Alerts

Dr. Jeff Michael & Restore the Delta Weigh in on Delta Tunnels Benefit-Cost Analysis

Yesterday, the Department of Water Resources released a benefit-cost analysis on the Delta tunnels project, or CA WaterFix, conducted by Dr. David Sunding of the Brattle Group. In response to this study, Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, Dr. Jeffery Michael published a blog post of his initial reaction to Dr. Sunding’s work. Dr. Michael focuses on four errors within Dr. Sunding’s analysis: 1. “It assumes a massive new subsidy for agricultural users cost share from urban water users. The agricultural subsidy is contained within a “wheeling rate” that it assumes that Metropolitan Water District (MWD) would charge the Central Valley Project (CVP) for using the tunnels’ conveyance capacity. 2. [...]

Delta Stewardship Council Members Recuse Themselves from Tunnels Appeals Proceedings due to Potential Conflicts of Interest

Bethany Pane, Chief Counsel for the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) sent an email on September 19 to DSC subscribers that three council members have recused themselves from the Delta tunnels appeals proceedings due to potential conflicts of interest. Specifically, Ms. Pane noted that council member Susan Tatayon’s spouse “works for a firm that has submitted a bid to work on a portion of the WaterFix project,” while council member Maria Mehranian has worked “for a firm that has submitted a bid to work on a portion of the CA WaterFix project.” Ms. Pane concludes the email explaining that council member Ken Weinberg also recused from the Delta tunnels appeals proceedings due to his “consulting work for local water supply projects [...]

Congressman Garamendi Asserts Delta Tunnels LOI is Dishonest in Letter to EPA

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA 3rd District) recently sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler describing the “misrepresentations” present in the Delta Conveyance Finance Authority (DCFA) Letter of Interest (LOI) for the Delta Tunnels project, formally known as the California WaterFix. The Congressman’s letter asserts that the WaterFix LOI overestimates the amount of jobs the tunnels project would create, does not address the lack of federal participation in the project, and misrepresents the status of essential permits and environmental reviews for the project. Congressman Garamendi concludes his letter noting that the Delta tunnels project has already “bilked” the public, as evidenced by state and federal audits published last fall. Osha Meserve, counsel for local farming and environmental [...]

Restore the Delta Presents New Environmental Justice Report at Stockton Press Conference

STOCKTON, CA – Today, Restore the Delta held a press conference to debut their new environmental justice report, “The Fate of the Delta: Impacts of Proposed Water Projects and Plans on Delta Environmental Justice Communities.” Restore the Delta created this historical, sociological report to document the environmental concerns and needs of those who will be harmed most by the Delta tunnels, while advocating for water quality and quantity policies that will serve the entire Delta community. “We wanted our community to have one document, one historical record of what we told the State Water Resources Control Board, what we have learned since that time, and how we have attempted to shift the stakes of the tunnels water right decision,” said [...]

Joint Statement from Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch in Response to JLBC Hearing

SACRAMENTO, CA--Today the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) held an informational hearing to discuss the State Water Project (SWP) contract extensions. JLBC Chair Senator Holly Mitchell (D-30, Los Angeles) stated at the start and at the end of the hearing that the legislature would be fully committed to further legislative oversight of the Delta tunnels project, also known as California WaterFix (CA WaterFix). At the hearing, Director of the Department of Water Resources (DWR), Karla Nemeth, verbally committed to the JLBC that amendments before the legislature today would not be used to finance bonds for the Delta tunnels and that DWR would bring future SWP contract amendments related to the tunnels project back to the legislature for further review before [...]

The Three-Card Monte Continues: Essential JLBC Hearing for the State Water Contract Happening Tomorrow

Restore the Delta maintains that the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) hearing for the State Water Contract should not be held tomorrow, September 11, 2018 for the following reasons: 1) The State Water Contract does not contain the Delta tunnels amendments; Water Code 147.5 says that the State Water Contract must provide the terms and conditions for water supply contracts. Without the Delta tunnels amendments this direction under Water Code 147.5 cannot be met and is in violation of the law. There is no legislative history on file that explains how Water Code 147.5 was created in 2012, or for what purpose. We suspect that the State Water Contractors figured, we weren’t paying attention to the creation of this water [...]

In Cased You Missed It: Could Delta Tunnels Cost Balloon Fivefold like the Oroville Spillway Repair?

Clendaniel: Stop the Delta debacle before property owners get gouged – Ed Clendaniel for The Mercury News “In an audacious move, proponents argued that the Delta tunnels project is merely a “maintenance” project of the original State Water Project that California voters approved in 1960. No need to waste time going back to voters for what should be considered ongoing work, they say. “Talk about chutzpah. It would be the biggest digging project in U.S. history, the equivalent of building a 35-mile long, 10-lane freeway 150 feet underground, capable of moving enough water south to fill 8,000 Olympic-size swimming pools every day. “The governor and Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District’s desperate maneuver stems from their years-long struggle to get water [...]

AB 2649 Dies at the End of Legislative Session, JLBC Hearing Rescheduled for 9/11

For immediate release: 9/1/18 Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected] Nora Kovaleski, 408-806-6470, [email protected] AB 2649 Dies at the End of Legislative Session, JLBC Hearing Rescheduled for 9/11 Assembly Member Richard Bloom’s last minute gut-and-amend bill, AB 2649 has died at the end of this legislative session. The bill would have sunseted the requirement to hold the JLBC meeting to proceed with the State Water Project contract extension and its unfinished, unseen amendments related to the Delta tunnels project. In other words, the bill would have created a shortcut for tunnels proponents and the State Water Contractors to finalize the State Water Project contract extension and its amendments without proper legislative oversight. Had the bill passed, State Water Contractors [...]

MWD Communications Suggest JLBC Meeting on SWP Will Be at the Capitol Tomorrow, Despite Denial from State Legislators

STOCKTON, CA–Delta tunnels proponents have moved quickly this week, scheduling the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) hearing on the State Water Project contract extension just two days before its scheduled date: tomorrow, August 30 at 8 AM, as noted in a recent email communication from Kathy Cole of Metropolitan Water District’s Sacramento Office. The hearing date precedes finalized amendments to the State Water Contract regarding California WaterFix and was not noticed to the public.   The State Water Contract extension includes provisions for a fifty-year contract agreement for water allocations and deliveries from the State Water Project, despite the state just releasing a report on climate change that cites the need for greater Delta outflows to combat salinity intrusion into [...]

Fishermen, Tribal Members, and Enviros Band Together to Advocate for More Flows at Sacramento Press Conference

For immediate release: 8/20/18 Contact: Noah Oppenheim, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, 415-723-1801, [email protected] Peter Drekmeier, Tuolumne River Trust, 650-248-8025, [email protected] Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected] Nora Kovaleski, 408-806-6470, [email protected] Fishermen, Tribal Members, and Enviros Band Together to Advocate for More Flows at Sacramento Press Conference   Today, a coalition of environmental organizations, Northern California Indian tribal members, and commercial and sportfishing organizations held a press conference at the State Capitol to advocate for strong salinity standards and unimpaired San Joaquin River flows as part of the State Water Resources Control Board’s Water Quality Control Plan updates for the Bay-Delta (Phase I). Representatives from Sierra Club California, San Francisco Baykeeper, the Planning and Conservation League, Restore the [...]