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Wolk comes out against end run for canal project

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POSTED January 6, 2009 12:48 a.m.
SACRAMENTO — Senator Lois Wolk, D-Davis, is against a plan by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger administration to push for construction of a peripheral canal around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta without legislative or voter approval.
“I am greatly concerned by this threat to pursue a peripheral canal without legislative or voter approval, an act I believe may be illegal as well as poor public policy.  This is a plan to spend billions of dollars without any public oversight or control on a ditch that no one knows with any degree of certainty whether it will improve or destroy the Delta ecosystem.
“This is a step backward from the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force’s final report, which stressed the two coequal goals of providing Californians with a reliable water supply and working to restore the crumbling Delta ecosystem. The Blue Ribbon report also identified that establishing a new, improved governance structure is, in their words, “absolutely essential” to implementing their recommendations.
“We must establish a clear steward for the Delta, someone we can hold accountable for the Delta’s recovery.  Expecting the 224 agencies currently in charge of the Delta to magically come together to resolve these issues, given their history of disagreement and inaction, is what has led to Delta’s demise and the crisis we now face.
“I hope the administration will take another look at their proposed strategy, take a step back, and pursue a more collaborative approach with the Legislature and all of those who would be impacted by such a huge project, especially the Delta communities and those who are on the frontlines of working to restore this precious resource.
Attempts to move forward with plans for a canal without legislative consensus or voter approval would be a recipe for confrontation and failure.”
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