[env-trinity] Capitol Weekly July 9 2009

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Jul 9 14:11:59 PDT 2009

Peripheral Canal, crux of state water wars, draws fire

Capitol Weekly-7/9/09

By Kevin Hefner 


Legislators backed by farmers, fisherman, environmentalists, and community
activists rallied at the Capitol this week against the proposed Peripheral
Canal, which would shift Northern California water to the south around the


Protesters feared the canal would damage the heart of the Delta, through
which most of California's drinking water flows. The canal has not been
officially approved, but there are persistent rumors in the Capitol that the
project is gaining new traction. 


The group's main concerns were that they have had no say in the process,
citing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), which has not yet been made
available to the public. 


"You can't fix the Delta without the people of the Delta as your partner,"
said Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis. "Some say it's a roadblock for
progress, but the Delta is our home, and we have a right to be involved in
the discussions." 


Lt. Governor John Garamendi, a candidate for Congress in the 10th C.D., also
spoke out against the plan saying, "This is too critical of a public policy
issue to be done in secret. There needs to be light and transparency brought
to this process. We aren't trying to stop the process entirely; we just want
to be involved." 


Also under scrutiny were the possible impacts on the region of the canal. 


Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, said that the proposed canal would,
"redirect 15,000 cubic feet of water a second through a 500-700 foot wide,
47-mile-long canal, into the southern part of the state. More often than
not, the Delta cannot sustain that kind of diversion, for example, the Delta
would have only been able to achieve that kind of output only 3 months out
of the entire year in 2007." 


A BDCP spokesperson, responding to Buchanan, said that "15,000 would be the
maximum capacity that could be redirected by the canal. Environmental laws
prevent the canal from moving that much at any one time." 


Delta resident Bob Kirtlan responded, "If you build it, they'll use it. Once
it's built, they'll always change the law." 


Bill Jennings, Chairman of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
said that "discarding prudent legislative deliberation and oversight is
likely to lead to wasting tens of billions of dollars constructing a massive
white elephant that will destroy Delta  fisheries and water quality, gravely
damage the Delta economy. and cause increased litigation because of legal
flaws and bad science. They treat the Delta like a reservoir, when it is
really a delicate ecosystem." 


In response, the BDCP was quick to add that the canal would redirect the
flow of water so that the Delta would become more natural and
environmentally friendly. 


The Delta community group estimated the project would cost taxpayers $20
billion to $40 billion dollars including taxes, and would affect more than
6,000 people. 


They also contend that an estimated $100 million dollars would be lost from
the Delta economy every year, should the canal be built. 


"At a time when we are making the most regrettable cuts to basic health
programs, the public must be told how much they will be asked to pay." said
Charlotte Hodde of  the Planning and Conservation League, "(and) how many
in-home services or classrooms it costs to pay for this expensive project." 


"The canal would be the biggest public constructions ever made in the United
States, equivalent to the Panama Canal" said Assemblywoman Buchanan, "and I
want to make it clear I will not vote for a Panama Canal." 



Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land

415 519 4810 cell

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