[env-trinity] Central Valley Business Times: Controversial Delta plan due by Oct. 1
tstokely at att.net
Thu May 9 10:21:57 PDT 2013
Controversial Delta plan due by Oct. 1
May 8, 2013 9:00pm
• That’s when draft of Bay Delta Conservation Plan to be officially presented
• “Science stubbornly still shows his tunnels would kill the Delta”
What could be the next major battle in California’s unending water wars is scheduled for Oct. 1.
That’s the formal deadline adopted by the Brown and Obama administrations to release of the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and accompanying environmental documents for public review and comment.
Already the battle lines are being drawn.
“One calamitous storm or natural disaster — driven by climate change — could jeopardize the entire Delta, destroy its ecosystem and cut off water to 25 million Californians,” warns Gov. Jerry Brown, speaking in support of the BDCP plan, the centerpiece of which is a plan to build water tunnels beneath the Delta.
The BDCP plan is expected to lay what the governor hopes will be the legal arguments for a plan to dig massive twin tunnels – each 40 feet wide and 35 miles in length deep beneath the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The purpose would be to drain water from the Sacramento River before it could flow naturally into and through the Delta. Instead, the tunnels, with a capacity of 9,000 cubic feet per second, would, at that rate, suck enough water out of the river to fill the Rose Bowl every 20 minutes.
“The governor’s new Oct. 1 deadline is an attempt to thread the needle between pressure from the water-takers, who are threatening to stop paying for the BDCP, and the delay he faces because the science stubbornly still shows his tunnels would kill the Delta,” says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of the Stockton-based environmental group Restore the Delta.
The agencies that would benefit from the tunnels have paid about $150 million for the study, which has taken more than six years to reach this point.
“After considering public comment, the state and federal agencies will complete the review process and determine the most appropriate ecosystem conservation and water conveyance plan for adoption and permitting,” the governor’s office says.
The BDCP establishes a Habitat Conservation Plan and a Natural Community Conservation Plan to restore and manage the Delta’s ecosystem. While those who buy the water are supposed to pay for the tunnels, California taxpayers would foot the bill for habitat restoration.
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