[env-trinity] Plans for Delta water tunnel leaked
Mark Dowdle - TCRCD
mdowdle at tcrcd.net
Wed Sep 22 10:05:00 PDT 2010
*Secret plans for 45-mile long Delta water tunnel leaked *
*Central Valley Business Times-9/20/10*
A 45-mile long tunnel that would drain fresh water from the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta -- so wide in diameter that small planes
could fly through it -- is being talked about in secret meetings in
Broad plans for the tunnel have been worked out, although the planning
document prepared by the state's Natural Resources Agency with the plans
says that it is "presented only for purposes of facilitating discussion
and is not intended as any preliminary or final decision...."
"These are government officials using taxpayer funds to try to develop a
scheme for spending billions more taxpayer funds and they are doing it
in a non-public way," says Jonas Minton, water policy advisor for the
Planning and Conservation League, a Sacramento-based nonprofit lobbying
organization specializing in environmental issues, and a former deputy
director of the California Department of Water Resources.
"It includes many, many specifics that are in the form of a proposal.
And perhaps this was a slip-up, but in the first appendix included with
the document ... it's actually entitled 'state proposal.'" says Mr.
Minton. "Although they're saying that this is just an issue paper, it
certainly comes across as more than that."
Mr. Minton says that at this point there is no indication that others
involved in Delta water manager, such as environmental groups or
science-based regulations "have any intention of accepting this proposal."
The Stockton-based group Restore the Delta, which says it advocates "on
behalf of local Delta stakeholders with government water agencies to
ensure that water management decisions will protect and benefit local
Delta communities," says the hush-hush process of the state in trying to
craft a Delta deal has raised the hackles of state and federal lawmakers.
It says the lawmakers have sent a letter urging Natural Resources Agency
Director Lester Snow and U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to open up
the closed-door talks now underway.
The letter includes a series of questions including a request to know
just who is meeting behind the closed doors and why they were invited to
participate and others were ignored.
"This most recent exclusion only serves to further frustrate and anger
those within the Delta community who are genuinely interested in working
constructively with the state and federal agencies and the newly formed
Delta Stewardship Council," says the letter. "In short, this new 'Delta
Principals Group' process represents a return to the closed-door
deal-making that has historically resulted in further degradation of the
The letter officially requests that the meetings be more inclusive and
Signing the letter were U.S. Reps. John Garamendi, D-Sacramento; Doris
Matsui, D-Sacramento; Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton; George Miller,
D-Martinez; and Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, along with state Sen. Lois
Wolk, D-Davis; state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg,
D-Sacramento; state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; and state Assembly
Members Bill Berryhill, R-Ceres; Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo; Alyson Huber,
D-El Dorado Hills; Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, and Mariko Yamada, D-West
While the Natural Resources Agency is talking water tunnels, other
groups are going about their missions involving the fate of the Delta.
The new Delta Independent Science Board (ISB) comprised of 10 nationally
and internationally prominent scientists is scheduled to hold its first
meeting Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009 established the
Delta ISB, whose members were to be appointed by the Delta Stewardship
Council, which was also created by the Delta Reform Act as an
independent agency of the state of California. The Delta ISB replaces
the previous CALFED Independent Science Board.
The meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 in the
Delta Room, 5th Floor at 650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento.#
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