Media Alerts

Restore the Delta Statement on Supreme Court Climate/EPA Decision

For Immediate Release: 6/30/22 Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-205, [email protected], CA  – Today the United States Supreme Court today released its ruling in West Virginia v. United States Environmental Protection Agency. The 6-3 decision found that Congress, did not grant the EPA the authority to adopt on its own a regulatory scheme (using the Clean Air Act) to cap carbon dioxide emissions from power plants to combat global warming. “A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” wrote Justice Roberts. Responding to the news, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director, Restore the Delta said:“Disempowering the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions will accelerate climate change impacts to the Sacramento-San [...]

Stockton Groups Support Call for Delta Plan Update

For Immediate Release: 6/14/22 Contact:Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected] Stockton, CA – A coalition of social, economic, and environmental justice groups have sent a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board in support of a recent petition filed by Stanford Law on behalf of California Tribes and environmental justice groups.The petition asks the State Water Board to update the Water Quality Control Plan for the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary (“Bay-Delta Plan”). A duty of the board now 16 years overdue. From the coalition letter: “The State Water Board has failed to conduct a comprehensive review of Bay-Delta water quality standards for sixteen years; it has failed to increase instream flow requirements to anywhere near the levels that the Board has determined are [...]

ICYMI  5/27/22: The Historic Inequities of California Water Rights

Delta water crisis linked to California’s racist past, tribes and activists say – Los Angeles Times, 5/26/22The tribes and environmental groups submitted a petition to the State Water Resources Control Board demanding the state change its approach and adopt science-based standards that ensure adequate flows in the Delta to improve water quality and sustain imperiled fish, including species that are at risk of extinction. They said the ecological crisis in the Delta has its roots in California’s history of violence against Native people, the taking of land from tribes and structural racism that shaped how the water rights system was established more than a century ago. They said deteriorating conditions in the estuary represent a “continuation of California’s discriminatory water management history.”They wrote [...]

PETITION FILED Tribes and Environmental Justice Groups Link Bay-Delta Collapse to Water Rights from California’s Racist Past

Contact:Brian Smith [email protected] – Today, a coalition of California Tribes and Delta-based environmental justice organizations (standing in front of the HQ of the California State Water Resources Control Board) announced the filing of a “Petition for Rulemaking Review.”The coalition, represented by the Environmental Law Clinic of Stanford Law, took this formal action today to demand the California State Water Resources Board update and enforce the Bay-Delta Plan as required by law.  The State Water Board and the Governor’s Office have made numerous commitments to centering environmental justice, and tribal consultation in public decision-making. The California Legislature codified many of these commitments into law. “This petition gives the Board an opportunity to make these promises real by updating Bay-Delta water quality standards through the robust, [...]

ICYMI 5/11/22 Dreadful Drought, Junk Science in VAs

California summer: Why drought makes us scared, edgy, angry – Mercury News 5/9/22The American Psychological Association describes climate anxiety, or eco-anxiety, as fear of environmental doom. In the Bay Area, it has become easy to believe in doomsday scenarios on days when wildfire smoke chokes the air with particulate matter and turns the sky an apocalyptic orange. Even before the onset of COVID-19, Bay Area residents began learning about sheltering in place from wildfire-necessitated Spare the Air alerts and days when air quality index maps turn scarlet and purple. “It’s become drier and drier over the years, and it’s become pretty stressful,” says Monica Sain, a community college instructor who lives in Santa Clara. “I have asthma, so I feel this [...]

Delta Flows 5/6/22: The Late Invitation

Restore the Delta wants to share with our supporters this recent communication with the Department of Water Resources about the voluntary agreements. Date: 5/5/22Dear Director Nemeth, Thank you for your email regarding the upcoming voluntary agreement governance meetings. At this time, Restore the Delta is respectfully declining your invitation. I would like to share a few reasons behind our decision to forego participation. First, we feel this invitation has come too late within the voluntary agreement process, unless the process started over with representatives from all the impacted parties at the table from the beginning — a redo so to speak.  Restore the Delta has been asking for a seat at the table since 2019.  We offered you and DWR staff tours. We [...]

ICYMI 2/24/22: CA Water: Wasted, Swindled, Recycled

How America’s Farmers Got Cut Out of the Supply Chain  – New York Times 4/20/22 “My warehouses are already bulging at the seams,” Mr. Phippen says. “It scares the crap out of me, because in five months I’m going to get a new crop in the door. There’s no timeout in farming.”…Throughout California, more than 1.1 billion pounds of almonds from last year’s harvest are sitting in warehouses, a volume roughly one-third larger than this time last year, according to the Almond Alliance of California, an industry trade group. Bay-Delta VA: A Sweetheart Deal to Subsidize Agribusiness – Doug Obegi, NRDC 4/18/22It’s not surprising, given who was in the room negotiating this backroom deal, that the VAs are a sweetheart deal that would [...]

Delta Flows 4/6/22: A Bittersweet Time at Restore the Delta

Restore the Delta staff and interns have begun public work again, in-person following the pandemic, with a bright and hopeful focus on problem solving and community building activities.Meanwhile, a new, and deeply problematic, Temporary Urgency Change Petition has been conditionally approved to suspend Delta water quality standards the next 90 days. In addition, the Department of Water Resources has released a Voluntary Agreement Framework for the Sacramento River watershed that is so deeply disappointing for the future of the Delta and California rivers that we simultaneously feel like we are publicly mourning.First, We Focus on the PositiveOur new team of Climate Water Advocates, funded by the James Irvine Foundation, the Mosaic Momentum Foundation, and Environment Now, are nearing completion of 18 [...]

Voluntary Agreements Fail Environmental Justice Communities

For Immediate Release:  March 29, 2022Contact:Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected] STOCKTON, Calif. – Today, Governor Newsom announced that Sacramento Valley parties—from the American River watershed all the way up the Valley— have signed a 34-page memorandum of understanding for a Board update of the Phase II of the water quality control plan.  Whatever the “voluntary agreements” consist of, the Water Board is expected to consider the VAs as an alternative in its Phase II Sacramento River update of the Bay-Delta Plan, which regulates water quality in Delta water ways. San Joaquin Valley water interests are not part of this process. The process is facilitated by the Department of Water Resources and the US Bureau of Reclamation, which are also parties in today’s announcement, and the announcement is timed to facilitate further spending [...]

Groups Defend Needed Regulations for the Delta: 19th century “water rights” should not trump drought management

For Immediate Release: 3/11/22 Contact: Matt Holmes, Little Manila Rising, 415-254-3546, [email protected] Gary Mulcahy, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, 916-214-8493, [email protected] Malissa Tayaba, Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians,916-468-2730, [email protected] Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected] SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On Thursday 3/10/22, a coalition of California Indian Tribes and Delta community groups (represented by the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic) filed an amicus brief in state appellate court defending the State Water Resources Control Board’s power to protect the California Bay-Delta by regulating and enforcing against excessive diversions of water, which harm the Delta watershed and the communities that depend on it. The Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Little Manila Rising, and Restore the Delta are parties to the brief. The amicus brief was submitted in the “California [...]