[env-trinity] Resources Secretary uses snow survey to rush corporate water grab/More Bay Delta Conservation Documents Released

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Fri Mar 29 09:26:20 PDT 2013


http://www.fishsniffer.com/blogs/details/resources-secretary-uses- 
snow-survey-to-rush-corporate-water-grab/

While asking Californians to “fix that leaky faucet,” Laird failed  
to acknowledge the millions of acre feet of water that the peripheral  
tunnels will waste on irrigating drainage-impaired corporate  
agribusiness operations on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley  
and on fracking for oil and natural gas in Kern County and coastal  
areas.



john_laird_photo_2.jpg

Resources Secretary uses snow survey to rush corporate water grab

by Dan Bacher

Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird cynically used the release  
of the latest Sierra Nevada snow survey on March 28 to campaign for  
the construction of the peripheral tunnels through the Sacramento-San  
Joaquin River Delta, just as he has done every spring since being  
appointed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Snow surveyors reported Thursday that water content in California’s  
snowpack is only 52 percent of normal, with the spring melt season  
already under way, according to the Department of Water Resources.  
After a record dry January and February in much of the state, DWR has  
decreased its water delivery estimate from 40 to 35 percent of  
requested amounts from the State Water Project (SWP). (http:// 
www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2013/032813snowservey.pdf)

“With today’s snow survey, the table has been set for yet another  
very dry year,” gushed Laird, who presided over record water exports  
and a record fish kill at the Delta pumps in 2011. “Add to that  
pumping restrictions imposed this winter because of vulnerable smelt  
and salmon populations, and it is clear that the security of  
California’s water supply is threatened.”

“The realities of nature point to the urgent need to continue work  
on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the Brown administration’s  
effort to secure the water supply for 25 million Californians and  
reverse over a century of environmental degradation in the Delta,”  
Laird claimed. “Advancing this large-scale public investment will  
provide long-term security for our economy and environment.”

Without a hint of irony, Laird said, “We also ask that every  
Californian do their part by conserving water every day. Take a  
shorter shower, be mindful of how long your sprinklers run, and fix  
that leaky faucet!”

While asking Californians to “fix that leaky faucet,” Laird failed  
to acknowledge the millions of acre feet of water that the peripheral  
tunnels will waste on irrigating drainage-impaired corporate  
agribusiness operations on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley  
and on fracking for oil and natural gas in Kern County and coastal  
areas.

Laird and Governor Jerry Brown are fast tracking the Bay Delta  
Conservation Plan (BDCP) to drain the Delta in spite of massive  
opposition by fishermen, family farmers, tribal leaders, grassroots  
enviromentalists, elected officials and the vast majority of  
Californians. The peripheral tunnel plan is proceeding forward  
without any approval by the voters because the Brown administration  
knows that the project would be overwhelming defeated by the voters  
just like the peripheral canal was in 1982.

The tunnel plan is simply a corporate water grab by agribusiness, oil  
companies and Southern California water agencies. The "habitat  
restoration" in the plan is added as an afterthought by state  
officials to green wash the destruction of the largest estuary on the  
West Coast of the Americas.

The construction of the North Delta intakes for the tunnels will  
spread the carnage of Central Valley Chinook salmon, steelhead and  
other fish species north to the Sacramento River while the massive  
fish kills at the state and federal water pumping facilities will  
continue.

How can we trust the state and federal governments to construct state- 
of-the-art fish screens on the new intakes, as they have claimed they  
will do, when they have failed to install them, as required under the  
CalFed process, at the existing pumps in the South Delta?

And how can we possibly trust an administration that presided over  
record exports and massive fish kills at the Delta pumps to suddenly  
transform itself into a "green" administration that cares about fish,  
the Delta and the public trust?

Between 2000 and 2011, more than 130,000,000 fish were "salvaged" in  
the massive state and federal pumps diverting water south, according  
to a white paper written by Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the  
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). Considering that  
recent studies point out that 5 to 10 times more fish are lost than  
salvaged, the actual number of fish lost could be 1.3 billion or  
higher. (http://www.restorethedelta.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/ 
CSPA-BDCP-Fish-Screens-Revised.pdf)

Record water amounts of water were exported from the Delta under the  
Brown administration in 2011 – 6,520,000 acre-feet, 217,000 acre  
feet more than the previous record of 6,303,000 acre feet set in 2005  
under the Schwarzenegger administration. The massive diversion of  
water resulted in the record "salvage" of nearly 9 million splittail,  
a fish formerly listed under the Endangered Species Act and delisted  
during a political scandal under the Bush administration, and over 2  
million other fish. (http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/07/carnage- 
in-the-pumps)

As Laird advises us to “take a shorter shower, be mindful of how  
long your sprinklers run, and fix that leaky faucet,” he and  
Governor Jerry Brown are fast-tracking a pork barrel boondoggle that  
will deliver millions of acre feet of water to corporate  
agribusiness, southern California water agencies and oil and gas  
companies while pushing Central Valley chinook salmon, steelhead and  
Delta fish populations over the abyss of extinction.

While Laird and other state officials are promoting the threat of  
"drought" as justification to build the peripheral tunnels just as  
Schwarzenegger administration officials did every spring from 2008 to  
2010, most key storage reservoirs are above or near historic levels  
for the date despite the dwindling snowpack.

"Thanks to November and December storms, Lake Oroville in Butte  
County, the State Water Project’s principal storage reservoir, is at  
108 percent of its average level for the date (83 percent of its 3.5  
million acre-foot capacity)," according to DWR. "Shasta Lake north of  
Redding, the federal Central Valley Project’s largest reservoir with  
a capacity of 4.5 million acre-feet, is at 102 percent of its normal  
storage level for the date (82 percent of capacity)."

It must be understood that the peripheral canal or twin tunnels won't  
create any new water - they will only take more water from senior  
water rights holders on the Delta, Sacramento Valley and Trinity  
River, at a tremendous cost to fish, fishermen, Indian Tribes and  
family farmers.

"If I took a cup of snow from Washington, DC back home with me and  
dumped it in the Delta, it would create more new water than the  
peripheral canal," Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove)  
recently quipped on his facebook page.

Rather than promoting a tunnel project that could cost Californians  
up $60 billion while driving salmon and other fish to extinction,  
Laird should take a hard look at the "Reduced Exports Plan," an  
alternative plan to the tunnels developed by the Environmental Water  
Caucus. This plan demonstrates how water supply reliability can be  
improved while reducing exports from the Bay Delta Estuary. This plan  
includes a unique combination of actions that will open the  
discussion for alternatives to the currently failed policies that  
continuously attempt to use water as though it were a limitless  
resource. (http://www.ewccalifornia.org/reports/REDUCEDEXPORTSPLAN.pdf)




http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/28/1197717/-More-Bay-Delta- 
Conservation-Plan-Documents-Released

Burt Wilson of Public Water News Service asks Deputy Director Jerry  
Meral a question about the water to used for fracking by the oil  
industry, water that will be delivered through the peripheral  
tunnels. Meral refused to answer Meral's question in the meeting  
where the Bay Delta Conservation Plan crashed and burned. (http:// 
www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/03/22/18734066.php)



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original image ( 5184x3456)


More Bay Delta Conservation Documents Released

BDCP effects analysis: justification for a corporate water grab

by Dan Bacher

The Brown administration Wednesday unveiled three additional chapters  
of the preliminary draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build  
the peripheral tunnels, including chapters on ecological effects,  
implementation, and governance.

The document release drew fire from Delta and fish advocates, who  
said the ecological "effects analysis" was nothing more than a  
"rationale for conveyance."

California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird, who presided  
over record fish kills and water exports at the South Delta pumping  
facilities in 2011 and the fast-tracking of the privately-funded  
Marine Life Protection Act Initiative to create oil industry-backed  
“marine protected areas,” claimed that the effects analysis was  
based on "science."

“At the beginning of the Brown administration, we made a long-term  
commitment to let science drive the Bay Delta Conservation Plan,”  
claimed Laird. “Today, with the public unveiling of the effects  
analysis, we make that a reality. Science has and will continue to  
drive a holistic resolution securing our water supply and  
substantially restoring the Delta’s lost habitat.”

“This project relies on 40 years of scientific study of the  
Delta’s ecosystem,” echoed California Department of Water  
Resources Director Mark Cowin. “It aims to change the way we divert  
water from the Delta to better protect fish, and it ties future water  
deliveries to the health of the Delta’s fish and wildlife  
populations.”

The draft chapters released Wednesday describe the anticipated  
ecological effects and proposed governance structure of the BDCP.  
"The 50-year plan seeks the recovery of native fish and wildlife  
species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta while also  
stabilizing water deliveries for 25 million Californians and three  
million acres of farmland," according to a news release from the agency.

The widely contested project proposes to divert a large proportion of  
the Sacramento River's flow into 35-mile long two tunnels beneath the  
Sacramento-San River Joaquin Delta. The water would be diverted at  
three massive new intakes proposed near Courtland in the North Delta.

The released BDCP chapters are available at: http:// 
baydeltaconservationplan.com/BDCPPlanningProcess/KeyAnnouncements.aspx

Plan pretends to “restore” Delta by draining it

Restore the Delta (RTD), a coalition opposed to the Brown regime's  
rush to construct massive peripheral tunnels to take millions of acre- 
feet of water from the Delta, said the revised BDCP proposal for the  
tunnels “pretends you can restore the Delta by draining it.”

Delta advocates, including fishermen, tribal leaders, family farmers,  
grassroots environmentalists and numerous elected officials, believe  
the tunnel plan is a corporate water grab by agribusiness, oil  
companies and Southern California water agencies – with the "habitat  
restoration" in the plan added as an afterthought by state officials  
to green wash the destruction of the largest estuary on the West Coast.

“Between 2000 and 2011, more than 130,000,000 fish were 'salvaged'  
in the massive state and federal pumps diverting water to corporate  
agribusiness, oil companies and southern California developers," said  
Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing  
Protection Alliance (CSPA). (http://www.restorethedelta.org/restore- 
the-delta/cspa-bdcp-fish-screens-revised/)

"Recent studies have shown that 5 to 10 times more fish are killed  
than salvaged, so the actual number of fish lost could be 1.3 billion  
or higher," Jennings stated. "The massive diversion of water under  
the Brown administration resulted in 2011's ‘salvage’ of nearly 9  
million Sacramento splittail and over 2 million other fish."

"Now, the Brown Administration magically declares that the peripheral  
tunnels will end this wholesale destruction. But there is no evidence  
to support this wild claim. The peripheral tunnels will destroy our  
fisheries," said Jennings.

Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, exposed  
the ridiculousness of Brown administration claims that massive  
diversion tunnels will "save" fish.

“The Brown Administration is trying to save the fish by removing  
them from the water," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "The proposed  
peripheral tunnels would have disastrous effects on the fish  
populations of the Delta, yet the Brown sdministration dubs the  
tunnels a ‘conservation measure.’ That is ludicrous and shows the  
entire BDCP is set up to approve draining the Delta,”

Countering Laird and Cowin’s wild claims that the BDCP is based on  
“science,” Restore the Delta agreed with the National Academy  
Science’s 2012 judgment that the effects analysis is still  
“nothing more than a rationale for a conveyance.”

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) identified fresh water flow as  
a critical variable affecting the health of the Delta. “Statistical  
evidence and models suggest that both flows (amount of fresh water)  
and flow paths (route through the Delta) are critical to population  
abundance of many species in the Bay-Delta.” (page 105).

Restoring the Delta and fish populations requires that “exports of  
all types will necessarily need to be limited in dry years," the NAS  
panel concluded.

“The peripheral tunnels are incompatible with restoring the Delta  
and fish populations," Barrigan-Parrilla emphasized. "Water  
contractors can't prove that moving the point of diversion would help  
threatened fish species. The BDCP’s own February analysis showed  
that the amount of water they want to take would doom the species  
they intend to save, including Delta smelt."

Tunnels would let less water flow into Delta, increasing pollution

Jane Wagner-Tyack, policy analyst for Restore the Delta, pointed out  
that the tunnels would divert Sacramento River water away from the  
Delta, leaving a larger percentage of polluted water flowing into the  
Delta from the San Joaquin River, designated as an impaired water  
body by the State Water Resources Control Board and the U.S.  
Environmental Protection Agency.

"The project would let less water flow into the Delta and would  
concentrate and increase the residence time of Delta pollution,"  
noted Wagner-Tyack. "Because the Bay-Delta estuary contains several  
important fish species, including salmon and steelhead, the negative  
effects on the Delta that the project could create would have a  
devastating impact on these fish species and associated fishing and  
recreational jobs.”

“The Brown administration’s latest attempt to justify its  
peripheral tunnels adds another to three previous failed Effects  
Analysis studies, which were savagely trashed by the National Science  
Academy as "nothing more than a rationale for a conveyance," Wagner- 
Tyack continued.

She said the BDCP is leaving out the ‘$9 billion’ ecosystem cost  
that will also be largely paid for by water ratepayers, through their  
taxes.

"They should say the plan also depends on $9 billion in ecosystem  
costs paid for with tax dollars, crowding out investments in local  
schools, health and welfare programs, or requiring a general tax  
increase,” said Wagner-Tyack. “Divide that $9 billion by roughly  
40 million Californians and you get $225 per capita, about $700 per  
household.”

Inexplicably, the BDCP is not considering alternatives for meeting  
the “ coequal goals” of ecosystem restoration and water supply.  
These proposals include the Environmental Water Caucus Plan, endorsed  
by dozens of environmental organizations, that could be evaluated.

Rather than “save” imperiled Delta fish populations, the BDCP will  
spread the carnage of Central Valley Chinook salmon, steelhead and  
other fish north to the Sacramento River while the massive fish kills  
at the state and federal water pumps in the South Delta will continue.

“Make no mistake,” emphasized Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual  
Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. “The peripheral tunnels will  
destroy river ecosystems, destroy fisheries and sentence us to a  
future where clean water is a luxury rather than a right.”

Restore the Delta is encouraging people to attend a public meeting  
scheduled for Thursday, April 4, 2013 to discuss BDCP Chapters 4-7.  
The meeting will be held at the Red Lion Woodlake Conf. Center, 500  
Leisure Lane, Sacramento from 12-6 p.m.

Project staff will be available to review Chapter 1-7 materials and  
discuss comments and questions beginning at 12 p.m. and continuing  
until 6 p.m. The presentation portion of the meeting will run from  
1-5 p.m.

The meeting will be available via live video webcast and conference  
call.

Peripheral tunnel water could help expand fracking

As Laird and Cowin continue to promote the destruction of the Delta  
through the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, Delta advocates are alarmed  
about the role the water planned for export in the peripheral tunnels  
could play in increased fracking in California. (http:// 
www.fishsniffer.com/blogs/details/peripheral-tunnel-water-will-go-to- 
agribusiness-and-oil-companies/)

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the controversial,  
environmentally destructive process of injecting millions of gallons  
of water, sand and toxic chemicals underground at high pressure in  
order to release and extract oil or gas, according to Food and Water  
Watch.

The oil industry, represented by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of  
the Western States Petroleum Association and the former chair of the  
Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force  
to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California,  
is now pushing for increased fracking for oil and natural gas in  
shale deposits in Kern County and coastal areas.

"The Westlands Water District and Kern County Water Agency import  
water for the biggest agribusinesses and oil fields in the Central  
Valley," explained Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director at Food &  
Water Watch. "Now they've gotten Governor Brown to approve a massive  
tunnels project to bring them even more water, which they will sell  
for an enormous profit. Even worse, much of this water will go to oil  
companies who will pollute our groundwater with fracking.”

For information about Restore the Delta, go to http:// 
www.restorethedelta.org. 
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