[env-trinity] HUFFPO: Governor Brown's Boondoggle

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Wed Jun 19 09:29:20 PDT 2013


Check out how the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan plans on using $25 million in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Fisheries Restoration Grant Program funds for tidal habitat restoration in the Delta as part of BDCP.

Those funds have traditionally been used for coastal projects and non-Central Valley/Delta projects.  Those funds helped pay for new Trinity River Bridges at Salt Flat, Poker Bar and Biggers Road.

Tom Stokely
Water Policy Analyst/Media Contact
California Water Impact Network
V/FAX 530-926-9727
Cell 530-524-0315
tstokely at att.net


Glen MartinAuthor, 'Game Changer: Animal Rights and the Fate of Africa's Wildlife'
Governor Brown's Boondoggle
Posted: 06/19/2013 11:45 am
Jerry Brown, Bay Delta Conservation Plan, California Aqueduct, Peripheral Canal,Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, San Joaquin Valley Agriculture, Twin Tunnels, Green News


Governor Jerry Brown's case for his ruinously expensive and environmentally catastrophicTwin Tunnels project is devolving from the threadbare to the duplicitous.

The governor and his allies are desperately pushing this ill-conceived retread of the defunct Peripheral Canal as essential for reviving the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and bolstering the state's water security. It is clear that it will do neither.

We always knew the tunnels were going to be expensive, ecologically disruptive, a boon to the few, powerful and politically-connected and a burden to rank-and-file ratepayers. But now we know the administration is intent on pillaging critical programs to pay for them.

It's all there in the state's Revised Administrative Draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan - the working document that details just how this boondoggle will be funded. For those citizens interested in undertaking their own due diligence, Table 8.41 is particularly enlightening.

It shows that taxpayers will shoulder $7.7 billion of the estimated costs, while ratepayers - anyone who waters a petunia or washes a dish using state project water - will cough up $16.8 billion. Those are just principal outlays, by the way; interest is not included.

If interest and anticipated cost-overruns are folded in, total costs for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) could exceed $70 billion. Such project cost inflation is typical of state water projects, including the Coastal Branch of the California Aqueduct. This "feeder" canal to the Central Coast was originally estimated at $270 million. The final bill: $1.76 billion.

The Tunnels are also predicated on the passage of two water bonds, totaling $3.4 billion and amounting to 14 percent of project costs. These bonds will annually drain $220 million from the state's general fund for the next three to four decades.

But the table also shows that the administration plans to divert $25 million from the state Fish and Wildlife Department's Fisheries Restoration Grant Program--money that is dedicated to projects on coastal streams.

What this means is that the last source of funding for coastal salmon and steelhead restoration will be diverted to a project that will contribute significantly to the destruction of Bay/Delta fisheries.

How do we know the Twin Tunnels will adversely affect our salmon, Dungeness crab and sturgeon? It's not just the reams of data from reputable scientists - including Dr. Peter Moyle from the University of California at Davis. In an exchange between Bay Delta Conservation Plan point man Jerry Meral and California Water Impact analyst Tom Stokely, Meral admitted the BDCP has nothing to do with Delta conservation - implying it has everything to do with water conveyance.

Now, as Brown's funding strategies for the Tunnels are revealed, it is increasingly clear that "Delta conservation" is being used as a stalking horse to increase diversions of the north state's scant water to the corporate farms of the western San Joaquin Valley. Critical conservation programs are being sacked to prop up Brown's folly.

Even the most jaded Sacramento observer can't help but mark the bitter irony here: raiding funds earmarked to save coastal salmon to build a gargantuan diversion project that will further menace Central Valley salmon. All under the auspices of a "conservation plan," of course.

For those of us who follow the ebbs and flows of both water and power in California, the skewed logic behind the Twin Tunnels was evident from the start. Increasingly, the press and the public are turning a critical eye to this scam. Earlier this week, a flurry of lawsuitswere filed against the BDCP. This is salutary: as the details of the project are exposed to the harsh light of public scrutiny, the outrage will grow proportionately.

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