[env-trinity] Fishing, environmental, farming groups will sue to halt Delta Plan

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Fri Jun 14 08:18:05 PDT 2013



The peripheral tunnels will divert a large portion of the flow of the  
Sacramento River for use by corporate agribusiness and oil companies.  
Photo of Sacramento River in the city of Sacramento by Dan Bacher.


Fishing, environmental, farming groups will sue to halt Delta Plan

by Dan Bacher

In the latest escalation of the California water wars, a statewide  
coalition of fishing, environmental and farming groups on Monday,  
June 17 will announce the filing of a lawsuit to stop the Delta Plan,  
a document that lays the groundwork for the Delta water export tunnels.

The details of the lawsuit will be released to the media through a  
press release and 10:30 am conference call. The groups filing the  
litigation include the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN),  
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, AquAlliance, Restore the  
Delta, Friends of the River and Center for Biological Diversity.

"The Delta Reform Act gave the Delta Stewardship Council a historic  
opportunity to remedy 40 years of water policy failures,” said Santa  
Barbara resident Carolee Krieger, executive director of the  
California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), a statewide water advocacy  

"The council instead failed to use the best available science –  
biological or economic - and adopted a status quo program that fails  
to fix the Delta or the water supply problem. The Council failed to  
honor its own mandate: the adoption of an effective strategy for the  
distribution of water and the preservation of the Delta,” Krieger  

The conference call will feature Carolee Krieger, representing C-WIN;  
Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance; Barbara  
Vlamis, AquAlliance; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta;  
Michael Jackson, Attorney for several groups; Bob Wright, Attorney  
for Friends of the River; Adam Lazar, Center for Biological Diversity.

Attorney Mike Jackson said the lawsuit’s purpose is to rectify the  
Delta Stewardship Council’s ignoring of the requirements placed on  
them by the Delta Reform Act.

Jackson explained, “As an example, the Delta Reform Act told the  
State Water Resources Control Board to do a water flow investigation  
to find out what it would take to protect the estuary. The state  
board turned in a flow recommendation and the Council didn't use the  
flows in the plan.”

“The Delta Reform Act also instructed the California Department of  
Fish and Wildlife to report to the Council what the biological goals  
and objectives should be for species in the Delta. The CDFW wrote  
hundreds of pages in a report and turned it in to the Council. The  
Council not only did not use it, but didn't even mention the goals  
and objectives in the plan,” he said.

“Finally, the Delta Reform Act instructed the Delta Protection  
Commission to write a report about economic sustainability. The  
Commission wrote the report and turned it in to the Council - and  
again, they didn't use it,” said Jackson.

The common thread?

“In all three cases, the documents were inconvenient to the approval  
of the tunnels," Jackson emphasized.

Jackson said the Delta Plan also violated the California  
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in ten different ways.

For more information, contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve  
[at] hopcraft.com Twitter: @shopcraft.

The litigation by Delta advocates follows the lawsuit filed by the  
Westlands Water District and San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water  
Authority on May 24 to require the Delta Stewardship Council to  
revise the Delta Plan "to be consistent with the 2009 Delta Reform  
Act, which created the Council." (http://yubanet.com/california/Dan- 

"In particular, the action asserts that the Delta Plan fails to  
achieve the co-equal goals of Delta ecosystem restoration and water  
supply reliability established by the Act," the district said.

“The Delta Plan may be the most incomplete environmental document  
I’ve ever seen and, in that regard, I do agree with Westlands,”  
said Jackson.

In other Delta news, a group of over 30 organizations from across the  
political spectrum have formed Californians for a Fair Water Policy.  
This statewide coalition is working to defeat the $54.1 billion  
peripheral tunnels project that will “unfairly and unnecessarily  
burden California’s taxpayers, ratepayers, and the  
environment.” (http://www.fishsniffer.com/reports/details/statewide- 

Besides being enormously expensive, the construction of the  
peripheral tunnels is likely to hasten the extinction of Central  
Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish species  
and would take vast areas of Delta farmland, among the most fertile  
on the planet, out of production in order to provide massive amounts  
of water to irrigate drainage impaired land on the west side of the  
San Joaquin Valley. The Delta Plan lays the groundwork for the  
construction of the salmon-killing tunnels.

The tunnel plan also threatens the Trinity River, the largest  
tributary of the Klamath River and the only out-of-basin water supply  
diverted into the Central Valley. The legendary salmon and steelhead  
river flows though the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation and Humboldt  
County before joining the Klamath at Weitchpec.

To my knowledge, no river system or estuary has ever been restored by  
taking more water out of it.

More information about the battle to fight the tunnels is available  
at http://www.restorethedelta.org.

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