[env-trinity] Rep. Matsui asks Governor to postpone BDCP document release

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Tue Sep 3 18:11:01 PDT 2013


Photo of Rep. Doris Matsui at a press conference on the banks of the  
Sacramento River with other northern California Congress Members on  
May 31 by Dan Bacher.

original image ( 5184x3456)

Rep. Matsui asks Governor to postpone BDCP document release

by Dan Bacher

Expressing “deep concerns” regarding the assumption that federal  
funding will be required to construct the peripheral tunnels,  
Congresswoman Doris Matsui Doris Matsui (CA-06) and six other  
Representatives sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking him to  
postpone the release of Bay Delta Conservation Plan documents.

Representatives George Miller (CA-11), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Jerry  
McNerney (CA-09), John Garamendi (CA-03), Anna Eshoo (CA-18) and Ami  
Bera (CA-07) also signed the letter.

The state of California plans to release its draft BDCP Plan for  
public comment on October 1, 2013, just a month from the date of the  
legislators' letter, August 30.

The letter was released a time when a revised tunnel plan, supposedly  
developed to have less impact upon North Delta communities, faces  
increased scrutiny, due to the destructive impacts it would have upon  
sandhilll cranes on Staten Island. (http://www.sacbee.com/ 

“Given the deep cuts to the federal budget over the past few years  
and the parameters of sequestration, the letter expresses concern  
with the assumption that federal funding for the BDCP will take over  
other important national infrastructure and conservation  
priorities,” according to a news release from Matsui’s office.

The legislators point to the BDCP's draft of Chapter 8, which assumes  
that up to $4 billion in federal funding will be set aside for the  
construction of the BDCP project.

“We believe this is an unrealistic assumption given historical  
funding levels of established programs, severe budget cuts, other  
commitments by federal agencies for this funding, and our overall  
concern that the BDCP process is not being governed by sound  
science,” the letter stated.

They said Chapter 8 specifically identifies federal funding accounts  
that will require appropriations to specifically be designated for  
the BDCP, including the following:

CVPIA – Central Valley Project Improvement Act Restoration Fund  
CA Bay-Delta Restoration Appropriations (USBOR)
Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (USFWS)
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (USFWS)
National Coastal Wetlands conservation grants (USFWS)
CA Bay-Delta Restoration Appropriations (USFWS)
Regional Ecosystem Conservation (NMFS)
Estuary Restoration Act (NMFS)
National/Regional Partnership Grants (NMFS)
CA Bay-Delta Restoration Appropriations (NMFS)
CA Bay-Delta Restoration Appropriations (USACE)
San Francisco Bay Area Water Quality Improvement Fund (USEPA)
CA Bay-Delta Restoration Fund (USEPA)
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (NRCS)
Wetlands Reserve Program (NRCS)
CA Bay-Delta Restoration Appropriations (NRCS)
CA Bay-Delta Restoration Appropriations (USGS)

“Despite meetings with senior federal and state officials to discuss  
our concerns, we continue to believe the current BDCP plan and  
process are deeply flawed and do not warrant federal funding at this  
time, especially to the levels called out for in the draft plan," the  
letter stated. "Additionally, Northern California stakeholders  
continue to be left out of the process. The lack of involvement is  
particularly troubling given that the State plans to release its  
draft BDCP Plan for public comment on October 1, 2013."

“We request that you postpone the release of the BDCP management  
plan until all stakeholders are at the table, sound science is  
conducted, and a workable financing plan is developed,” they said.

The complete letter is available here: http://matsui.house.gov/press- 

Governor Jerry Brown is fast-tracking the Bay Delta Conservation Plan  
(BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San  
Joaquin River Delta in order to export massive quantities of water to  
corporate agribusiness interests and oil companies seeking to expand  
fracking operations in Kern County and coastal areas. (http:// 

The construction of the tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central  
Valley salmon and steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon  
and other fish species, as well as pose enormous risk to sandhill  
crane populations.

The “changed” Delta plan released on August 14 does not change the  
fact that 48 significant and unavoidable impacts that are identified  
in the BDCP will be inflicted on Delta communities, fisheries, farms,  
and boaters, according to tunnel critics.

“This new proposal does not even consider the significant harm that  
would come to sandhill cranes that nest on Staten Island,” said  
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.  
“These magnificent birds will do even worse than Delta residents  
with around the clock construction noise, traffic, and tunnel muck,  
disrupting their nursing areas.”

“Jerry Meral refuses to acknowledge these 48 significant and  
unavoidable impacts publicly; he directed Dr. David Sunding to ignore  
these impacts in the incomplete economic analysis released last week;  
and this latest attempt to sell the plan as improved points to new  
disasters in the making,” according to Barrigan-Parrilla.

For more information, go to: http://www.restorethedelta.org. 
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