[env-trinity] Redding.com opinion-Tom Stokely: Tunnels are rotten deal for north state
kierassociates at suddenlink.net
Mon May 20 12:06:40 PDT 2013
The culture-change since 1982 is interesting.
It was a talking/bragging pt in 1982 that the Peripheral Canal would have
been wide- and deep enough to have floated the RMS Queen Mary (or it might
have even been the Queen Mary II)
(I penned a speech for Gov Pat Brown in the mid-60s saying that when man
finally makes it to the moon hell be able to see only two works of man on
Earth the Great Wall of China and the CA Aqueduct)
Instead you see Jerry Meral in the weekend Stockton Record saying shucks,
the BDCP system may be capable of taking 9,000 cfs from the Delta but that
doesnt mean wed actually take that much ..
Shucks, no ..
Kier Associates, Fisheries and Watershed Professionals
P.O Box 915
Blue Lake, CA 95525
GSA Contractor GS10F0124U
From: env-trinity-bounces at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us
[mailto:env-trinity-bounces at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us] On Behalf Of Tom
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 11:08 AM
To: env-trinity at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us
Subject: [env-trinity] Redding.com opinion-Tom Stokely: Tunnels are rotten
deal for north state
Tom Stokely: Tunnels are rotten deal for north state
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Gov. Jerry Brown was confounded by California voters in 1982, when they
rejected plans for the Peripheral Canal a massive conveyance system that
wouldve shunted Sacramento River water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta to south state cities and San Joaquin Valley megafarms.
Clearly, Californias citizens had more sense than the politicians pushing
this economic and environmental nightmare. It wouldve saddled the state
with ruinous debt and devastated the Delta and its fisheries. Nor would it
have increased water deliveries to Southern California; it was, after all,
nothing more than a conveyance system. The amount of water available for
export wouldve remained the same. Now to quote Yogi Berra its déjà vu
all over again. Brown is back for another term, and so is the peripheral
canal. Except this time, its the Twin Tunnels a dual set of subterranean
pipes situated under the Delta. Dont be fooled, though: This new water
export idea is just as bad as the one that preceded it.
For starters, it will drain Californians wallets as efficiently as it does
the Sacramento River. Figures on construction costs vary, but it is clear it
could top $60 billion before the dust settles and all debt is fully retired.
The money will come from state revenue bonds and general obligation bonds,
and from federal appropriations.
For every billion dollars the state borrows, it will have to pay $64 million
annually over a period of 30 years. That is money that would otherwise be
used for pressing needs such as schools, roads, public safety, and county
and city services.
The tunnels also pose a tremendous liability for rank-and-file citizens. If
south state water agencies are unable to pay back the debt, the default will
be borne not only by their ratepayers California taxpayers in general will
have to pony up.
And who benefits? Certainly, no one in Northern California. Make no mistake:
This is a water grab pure and simple, as close to a zero-sum game as you can
get. The real winners in this scam are a few hundred corporate farms in the
western and southern San Joaquin Valley. They will not only lock up millions
of acre-feet of highly subsidized water from the Sacramento and Trinity
rivers they will use it in some cases to grow price-supported crops.
Moreover, the Twin Tunnels will be used to implement an ambitious
groundwater transfer program to the south state. These water transfers will
not only come at the expense of the Sacramento and Trinity rivers our own
groundwater reserves will also be pillaged. Particularly threatened is the
Tuscan aquifer, which underlies the Sacramento Valley and sustains the city
of Chico and its surrounding agricultural lands.
The Tuscan aquifer already is threatened by groundwater transfers, and the
Twin Tunnels will only hasten its depletion. Our cities, farms, fisheries,
wildlife reserves and duck clubs will face the dire threat of water
shortages just to maximize the take of the Westlands Water District, the
Kern County Water Agency and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern
And the energy used to pump the water will also be robbed from Peter
(Northern California) to pay Paul (the western San Joaquin). Delta pumping
gets priority for the hydropower generated by Shasta and Trinity dams, and
it receives it at greatly discounted rates. Meanwhile, the city of Redding
gets whats left over for its electricity, and it faces the risk of reduced
power supplies if the turbines ever slow due to diminished water supplies
a very real risk in this era of climate change.
Adding the insult of accounting sleight-of-hand to the stark injury of
resource seizure, the water masters of the south state aim to further slash
their liability by assigning much of the tunnels cost to public benefits
such as fish and wildlife. They claim that the tunnels will improve fish
passage through the Delta, and that planned restoration projects will
greatly expand habitat. This will make it possible to stick the state and
federal treasuries and the taxpayers that support them with most of the
Dont believe the hype about fisheries and habitat improvement, by the way.
The Twin Tunnels will further drain the Delta as well as our local
reservoirs and aquifers.
And no matter how hard tunnel advocates tap dance, they cant obscure the
essential fact that fish need water to live. Less water, in other words,
means fewer fish. In addition, project proponents have stated their intent
to condemn private land for their questionable habitat-restoration projects.
The Twin Tunnels, in short, are an ill-conceived boondoggle that will only
make our fiscal and environmental problems worse, not better. It is a bad
deal for Californians in general and an especially horrible one for
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