[env-trinity] Environmental Defense Fund opposition to Chamber of Commerce Water Bond Proposals

Spreck Rosekrans srosekrans at environmentaldefense.org
Thu Dec 13 14:55:53 PST 2007


Chamber of Commerce Water Bond Proposals Fail to Address Root Causes of
State's Water Supply Problems, Environmental Group Says

10am, Thursday, December 13, 2007



Tom Graff, 510-593-3899 (cell) tgraff at environmentaldefense.org
<mailto:tgraff at environmentaldefense.org> 

Ann Hayden, 510-508-2557 (cell) ahayden at environmentaldefense.org
<mailto:ahayden at environmentaldefense.org>   

Jesus Mena, 415-293-6050 or 415-948-4220 (cell) 
jemena at environmentaldefense.org  


(Sacramento - December 13, 2007) Four water bond initiatives proposed by
the California Chamber of Commerce are deeply flawed and would force
California to spend billions of tax dollars on dams that will harm the
environment and fail to supply the clean, safe drinking water the state
needs for the future, a leading environmental group said today. 


 "These bond proposals are deeply flawed because they fail to adequately
address the root causes of California's serious water supply problems,"
said Ann Hayden, senior water resource analyst for Environmental Defense
during a 10am news conference in Sacramento with Senate President pro
Tem Don Perata (Oakland), Senator Mike Machado (Linden), leading
environmental groups, and water agencies. Hayden is also a member of the
Bay-Delta Conservation Plan steering committee that is developing a long
term plan in 2008 to protect and restore the Delta ecosystem while
providing reliable water supply to California's farms and cities. "These
bonds would circumvent the normal approval process for major
infrastructure and subsidize questionable projects, spending
unprecedented amounts of taxpayer dollars."


The Chamber filed four different versions of a potential water bond,
deferring to a later date the one they would submit for voter approval
on the November 4, 2008, ballot. All versions include funds and mandate
construction of three reservoirs without specifying how they would be
operated, who would get the water and pay for the local cost-share
portions, or how the reservoirs would affect the environment. Some
versions of the initiative would provide authorization to build a
peripheral canal that would divert freshwater from the Sacramento River
before it gets to the Delta for delivery to farms in the San Joaquin
Valley, urban southern California and parts of the Bay Area.
Environmental Defense opposes authorizing a peripheral canal by
initiative, as it would be an end run around ongoing stakeholder
processes and would mandate crucial aspects such as its size, operating
principles, financing and governing structure.


"Mandating a peripheral canal through the ballot initiative is a recipe
for disaster," said Tom Graff, regional director for Environmental
Defense and a former member of the Bay-Delta Advisory Council. "It is
not the right approach for the environment or for major policy and
science decisions involving the management of California's water


Environmental Defense is working cooperatively with many other parties,
through both the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan and the Delta Vision Blue
Ribbon Task Force, to develop a long term plan to protect and restore
the Delta ecosystem while providing reliable water supply to
California's farms and cities. The Chamber's initiatives would preempt
those efforts and prejudge the findings of hundreds of biologists,
engineers, water agencies, Delta communities, fishermen and
environmental groups, leaving the California taxpayer to pick up the


"We call on the Chamber to withdraw these reckless initiatives," Graff
concluded. "We urge them to roll up their sleeves and join those of us
who are working thoughtfully and cooperatively to solve California's
water supply and environmental problems." 



   Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization,
represents more than 500,000 supporters.  Since 1967, Environmental
Defense has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector
partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious
environmental problems.  www.environmentaldefense.org


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