[env-trinity] Water Agencies, Enviros and Tribes Unite to Delay Water Bills

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Mon Sep 7 11:35:06 PDT 2009





Water Agencies, Enviros and Tribes Unite to Delay Water Bills

by Dan Bacher

One of the largest and most diverse coalitions of water agencies,  
environmentalists, Indian Tribes, fishermen and environmental justice  
groups in California history has assembled to oppose Senate President  
pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's mad rush to enact a dangerous package of  
water bills before the end of the legislative session, September 11.

The 42 groups from both northern and southern California sent a  
letter to the Water Conference Committee and other members of the  
Legislature on September 2 stating that "the few days left in this  
session are simply insufficient to ensure that passage of the package  
of bills will not result in unintended consequences that could prove  
even more harmful than the current situation presents."

"The Delta package of bills that is now being considered proposes  
fundamental changes in California water policy that will require  
careful and broad consultation to ensure undisrupted implementation,"  
the letter says. "More importantly, to be successful, the policy will  
require confidence and buy in from a broad constituency. Rushing this  
process risks producing unintended consequences that will not benefit  
California in the long term."

Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing  
Protection Alliance, one of the groups signing the letter, described  
the water deal as "a combination of the Sorcerer's Apprentice and  
Faust's bargain with the Devil."

"Not satisfied with simply giving the Governor the power to appoint  
the majority of a Council that has the power to approve a peripheral  
canal, bonds and new dams are now part of the equation," noted Jennings.

The letter was preceded by numerous letters by organizations opposing  
the peripheral canal, including a strongly written letter sent by the  
Center for Biological Diversity and many fishing groups: http:// 
www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ 
san_francisco_bay_area_and_delta_protection/pdfs/ 
Delta_Bill_Package_opposition_letter.pdf

Labor has also joined the battle against the canal and water bond.  
The United Farmworkers Union, founded by Cesar Chavez and Dolores  
Huerta, reported that a $1-million donation was made to a political  
action committee called “United Farm Workers’ Committee to Oppose  
Statewide Water Bonds," according to the LA Times on September 1. The  
donation came from the Change to Win Coalition, a national labor  
coalition including SEIU and the Teamsters Union.

The opposition of groups from throughout the state is accompanied on  
the local level by a grassroots uprising of Steinberg's constituents  
and Delta residents. A group of 40 people held a demonstration  
outside of Steinberg's office on Friday, September 4 in opposition to  
Steinberg's push for the peripheral canal (http://www.indybay.org/ 
newsitems/2009/09/05/18620933.php).

"We are alarmed at how the current package of five water bills is  
being pushed through the Legislature without consideration for the  
many concerns of Delta and northern California residents," said  
Barbara Daly, Delta farmland owner, of Save the Delta. "We are  
protesting the legislation's ceding of control of our water to only 7  
political appointees on a governance committee that could approve the  
building of a peripheral canal."

Meanwhile, deals are apparently being made behind closed doors  
regarding the peripheral canal and the future of the West Coast's  
largest estuary. "I'm informed that the fate of the Delta estuary is  
being horse-traded in backroom meetings between Lester Snow (DWR),  
Senator Steinberg (D-Sacrament) Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San  
Rafael), Senator Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto), Barry Nelson (NRDC), Tom  
Birmingham (Westlands Water District), Tim Brick (Metropolitan Water  
District) and Joe Caves (Nature Conservancy)," said Jennings.

Saturday and Sunday's legislative meetings over the water bills were  
canceled and the next meeting will take place at 1:00 PM today  
(Monday) in room 4203 of the Capitol. Today's meeting will focus on  
AB 49 (Feuer/Huffman) regarding outstanding issues on water  
conservation, SB 261 (Dutton/Ducheny), and SB 229 (Pavley) regarding  
water diversion reporting. The public will be able to comment on the  
legislation.

What can you do to stop the peripheral canal and delay the water bill  
package?

First, make phone calls and emails to Senator Darrell Steinberg  
through the Friends of the River Acton Alert to urge him not rush  
into the kind of potential policy disaster that created California’s  
unsuccessful and costly experiment in energy deregulation! The link  
is: https://secure2.convio.net/fotr/site/Advocacy? 
cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=225

After you make your phone call and emails, please sign the petition  
against the peripheral canal on the California Sportfishing  
Protection Alliance (CSPA) Website at http://www.calsport.org.

Here is the letter, starting with the list of organizations and  
tribes signing on to the letter.


Anahuak Youth Sports
Butte Environmental Council
Calaveras Public Utility District
California Indian Heritage Council
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
Central Delta Water Agency
Citrus Heights Water District
City of Folsom
City of Roseville
Clean Water Action
East Bay Municipal Utility District
El Dorado Irrigation District
Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
Food and Water Watch
Foothill Conservancy
Friends of the Los Angeles River
Friends of the River
Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District
Heal the Bay
Jackson Valley Irrigation District
Mono Lake Committee
Northern California Water Association
Orangevale Water Company
Organic Sacramento
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations
Planning and Conservation League
Restore the Delta
Sacramento Suburban Water District
San Diego Coastkeeper
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
San Joaquin County
San Juan Water District
Sierra Club California
Sierra Nevada Alliance
South Delta Water Agency
Southern California Watershed Alliance
Stockton East Water District
The River Project
Tuolumne Utilities District
Urban Semillas
Winnemem Wintu Tribe

September 2, 2009

Honorable Darrell Steinberg Honorable Karen Bass
Honorable Dean Florez Honorable Anna Caballero
Honorable Alex Padilla Honorable Jean Fuller
Honorable Fran Pavley Honorable Jared Huffman
Honorable Dave Cogdill Honorable Kevin Jeffries
Honorable Sam Aanestad Honorable Jim Nielsen
Honorable Bob Huff Honorable Jose Solorio

Dear Water Conference Committee Members:

We the undersigned are pleased to see the Legislature committing its  
time and staff to addressing
the declining situation in California statewide water management. As  
the hub of California’s
engineered water system, the Delta is a critical resource to everyone  
in the state. As the largest
estuary on the west coast of the Americas, the Delta is also one of  
the most endangered
ecosystems in the United States. We stand committed to working with  
the Legislature and its
appointed conference committee through the remainder of this  
legislative session and beyond to
arrive at a solution that improves the health of the Delta.

The few days left in this session are simply insufficient to ensure  
that passage of the
package of bills will not result in unintended consequences that  
could prove even more
harmful than the current situation presents. These Delta bills have  
not yet been amended
with only nine days left.

Please do not mistake our views as being opposed to change. We  
understand that systemic
changes will be needed to fix the Delta. However, we feel that in  
order to move past the
stalemate surrounding the Delta, the Legislature and conference  
committee must find solutions to
the most controversial issues. Unless those are discussed and  
resolved, the legislation will result
in an ineffective package that will result only in a lifetime of  
litigation and no new water, jobs or
protections for the environment.

The Delta package of bills that is now being considered proposes  
fundamental changes in
California water policy that will require careful and broad  
consultation to ensure undisrupted
implementation. More importantly, to be successful, the policy will  
require confidence and buyin
from a broad constituency. Rushing this process risks producing  
unintended consequences
that will not benefit California in the long term.

At this juncture, water is one of the highest priority policy issues  
for California. It is important
that any deal for the Delta promotes real and reliable improvements  
in the health of the Delta
itself and promotes responsible statewide management of our water  
resources.

Sincerely,
Raul Macias, Executive Director
Anahuak Youth Sports Association

Lynn Barris
Butte Environmental Council

John Ornellas, District Manager
Calaveras Public Utility District

Evon Chambers signing on behalf of:
Randy Yonemura, Project Director
California Indian Heritage Council

Bill Jennings, Executive Director
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance

Dante Nomellini, Manager and Counsel
Central Delta Water Agency

Robert Churchill, General Manager
Citrus Heights Water District

Kenneth Payne, Utilities Director
City of Folsom

Derrick Whitehead, Utilities Director
City of Roseville

Jennifer Clary, Water Policy Analyst
Clean Water Action

Dennis M. Diemer, General Manager
East Bay Municipal Utility District

Thomas D. Cumpston, Acting General
Manager
El Dorado Irrigation District

Debbie Davis, Legislative Analyst
Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

Mark Schlosberg, California Director
Food and Water Watch

Chris Wright, Executive Director
Foothill Conservancy

Shelly Backlar, Executive Director
Friends of the Los Angeles River

Steve Evans, Conservation Director
Friends of the River

Thaddeus Bettner, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation
District

Mark Gold, Executive Director
Heal the Bay

Thomas Hoover, General Manager
Jackson Valley Irrigation District

Jonas Minton signing on behalf of:
Geoff McQuilken, Executive Director
Mono Lake Committee

Donn Zea, President & CEO
Northern California Water Association

Sharon Wilcox, General Manager
Orange Vale Water Company

Organic Sacramento

Zeke Grader, Executive Director
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's
Associations

Charlotte Hodde, Water Program Manager
Planning and Conservation League
Restore the Delta

Robert Roscoe, General Manager
Sacramento Suburban Water District

Ms. Gabriel Solmer, Legal Director

San Diego Coastkeeper

Michael Carlin, Deputy General Manager
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Ken Vogel, Supervisor
San Joaquin County

Shauna Lorance, General Manager
San Juan Water District

Jim Metropulos, Senior Advocate
Sierra Club California

Joan Clayburgh, Executive Director
Sierra Nevada Alliance

John Herrick, Manager and Counsel
South Delta Water Agency

Conner Everts, Executive Director
Southern California Watershed Alliance

Kevin M. Kauffman, General Manager
Stockton East Water District

The River Project

Pete Kampa, General Manager
Tuolumne Utilities District

Miguel Luna, Executive Director
Urban Semillas

Mark Franco, Headman
Winnemem Wintu Tribe

cc: Members of the Legislature


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://www2.dcn.org/pipermail/env-trinity/attachments/20090907/e89d9e7e/attachment-0002.html
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: Water Bill Article 9:7:09.doc
Type: application/octet-stream
Size: 98304 bytes
Desc: not available
Url : http://www2.dcn.org/pipermail/env-trinity/attachments/20090907/e89d9e7e/09-0001.obj
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://www2.dcn.org/pipermail/env-trinity/attachments/20090907/e89d9e7e/attachment-0003.html


More information about the env-trinity mailing list