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Delta protection: A modern day Trojan horse?

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POSTED July 19, 2012 11:53 p.m.

They just don’t get it.

Folks up in Sacramento think that those of us who live in and around the Delta are paranoid when it comes to their efforts to save us.

Not trusting the motives of Sacramento politicians or urban interests in San Francisco and Los Angeles when it comes to water is well justified.

First start with any politician from San Francisco.

They like to point to Los Angeles and big southern San Joaquin Valley corporate farms for the root of all problems in the Delta. Nice try. San Francisco diverts a significant amount of water from Hetch Hetchy 60 miles away before the Tuolumne River meets up with the San Joaquin River and flows into the Delta.

At least for now, Los Angeles doesn’t pilfer water from the north state watershed until after it’s crossed the Delta where it nourishes fish, fowl, and farmers with riparian water rights.

Not only that, but San Francisco never has to contribute to any court-ordered San Joaquin River tributaries solution to clean up and improve the flow of the San Joaquin River and Delta even during droughts. How convenient especially since the biggest lecturers about the need for environmental enhancement come from the very same people who have fixed it so they don’t have to be part of the solution.

Los Angeles power brokers are the primary movers behind a “conveyance” that would make sure not one drop of Sacramento River water that they take ever makes it into the Delta. Why? They say they’re worried about the cleanness of the water as one mustn’t have it mix with San Joaquin River water that San Francisco has helped dirty up by bypassing it with Hetch Hetcy pipelines. They don’t worry about salt water intrusion. Forget the fact they would rob the Delta of a huge volume of water that flows down the California Aqueduct . In doing so it would put the far eastern reaches of the Delta at a greater risk for salt water intrusion. Then there is the little detail that everyone likes to forget of how the underground water tables are impacted by Delta flows. During the drought prior to the last dry spell salt water was detected in water wells as far east as Jack Tone Road.

 Of course, that’s a local problem and not one to concern Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Sacramento.

Let’s not forget previous Delta proposals - and current ones - that basically would wipe out two thirds of San Joaquin County’s biggest industry - agriculture. It is clear that many in Sacramento believe the economies of Los Angeles and San Francisco are much more important than that of San Joaquin County, home of 14.5 percent unemployment.

Then there is the current effort that those involved liken to a crusade to save the Delta by having a non-elected super agency that can pass final judgment on just about anything that can be connected even remotely to Delta water quality in the primary and secondary zones.

The ex-politicians who have landed spots on the commission that won’t answer to anyone like to claim it won’t be intrusive. Tell that to people who’ve had to deal with the California Coastal Commission when someone started objecting to Fourth of July fireworks in several communities along the coast because they were called disruptive to the environment.

Only a fool - given the history of Sacramento politics and water shenanigans in California - would entrust the future of San Joaquin County and the Delta to politicians who once again claim they are going to be our savior.

That is why local leaders have to push as hard as they can to make sure language governing the Delta Protection Commission is so ironclad it does exactly what it was sold as doing and doesn’t even crack the door open ever so slightly to do the things that the commission is protesting so loud right now that they’d never consider doing.

If you think we can afford to take them at their word - verbal and written - talk to the people of Owens Valley and farmers who have their water rights rolled over. Better yet, contemplate what John Muir wrote about the desecration of Hetch Hetchy on the supposed altar of public good.

 

This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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