[env-trinity] Article Submission: Brown Administration Media Tour Excludes Delta Communities

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Wed Sep 25 07:58:36 PDT 2013


Brown Administration Media Tour Excludes Delta Communities

By Dan Bacher

The Brown administration on Monday, September 23 amped up its public  
relations campaign for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to  
build twin tunnels to export massive quantities of northern  
California water to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side  
of the San Joaquin Valley. As usual, the voices of Delta communities  
were completely excluded.

Restore the Delta (RTD) called out the Natural Resources Agency and  
the Department of Water Resources for choreographing a media tour of  
the Delta that does not include one Delta area representative. The  
group strongly opposes Governor Jerry Brown’s rush to build  
peripheral tunnels under the Orwellian-named Bay Delta "Conservation"  
Plan, noting that the $54.1 billion dollar boondoggle would drain the  
Delta and doom Central Valley Chinook salmon and other Pacific  

Restore the Delta Executive Director, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla,  
said, “Directors and public relations officials are conducting a tour  
with officials from the Metropolitan Water District in the Delta at  
taxpayer expense to sell the project to Southern California media,  
but they have managed to exclude all Delta community representatives  
from talking with these members of the media to learn the Delta  
perspective of the peripheral tunnel project."

"While we do not fault the media for participating in the tour, as  
listening to multiple sources is part of their job, we note that the  
Department of Water Resources is expanding its tax-fueled media  
campaign to sell Californians on a $54 billion boondoggle project  
that Federal fisheries agencies have said will not save endangered  
fish species, will destroy wintering habitat for endangered Sandhill  
Cranes, and will destroy the Delta family farming community," she  
said. "All of this is being pushed forward by the Brown  
Administration to serve the special interests of a few big water  
districts like the Metropolitan Water District, Westlands, and the  
Kern County Water Agency which operate as the middlemen to control a  
limited, public resource for profit– California’s water supply.”

Delta residents, including farmers, fishermen and recreation  
enthusiasts, showed up with signs protesting the twin tunnels  
throughout the tour to answer questions on the Delta reaction to the  
proposed tunnel project.

Barrigan-Parrilla added, “What DWR officials will not tell the media  
is the level of destruction that will be inflicted on the Delta with  
this project. They also won’t tell the media that there is a better  
solution for the Delta and California, including: upgrading levees,  
reducing water exports, fixing the existing pumps, retiring drainage  
impaired farmland, and investing in projects throughout the state  
that will make more water for Californians. This will save the Delta  
and ensure that southern Californians have the water that they need.”

The construction of the tunnels would hasten the extinction of  
Central Valley salmon and steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt,  
green sturgeon and other species, as well as imperil the salmon and  
steelhead populations of the Trinity and Klamath rivers. The "habitat  
restoration" proposed under the plan would take huge areas of fertile  
Delta farmland out of production in order to continue irrigating  
selenium-filled, drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San  
Joaquin Valley.

Ironically, the exclusive media tour took place the exact same day  
that two articles slamming the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build  
the tunnels, one by columnist George Shelton and the other by  
reporter Bettina Boxall, appeared in the LA Times.

Shelton’s column, “Buffaloes threaten pristine landscape," stated,  
“The Brown administration and some water buffaloes want to muck up  
one of the most unique, mysterious and picturesque areas of  
California. Muck it up literally.” (http://www.latimes.com/local/la- 

Jerry Cadagan, longtime water activist, quipped, “In hockey it's a  
hat trick, in baseball a grand slam, in buffalo hunting it's a sharp  
arrow right in the heart; LA Times columnist George Skelton got  
himself a trophy buffalo today."

“And while Mr. Skelton handled the bow and arrow, his LA Times  
colleague Bettina Boxall took a very sharp knife and cut the  
buffalo's heart,” he added.

Boxall’s piece, “Who will pay for Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta tunnel  
project,” said, “Hints have been dropped that to keep the water  
project alive, urban ratepayers in Southern California may pay more  
than their share, in effect subsidizing San Joaquin Valley  
agribusiness interests.” (http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-delta- 

Restore the Delta is a 10,000-member grassroots organization  
committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable,  
swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California.  
Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries  
and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin  
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