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What they are saying about the Delta Tunnels

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POSTED July 26, 2012 1:02 a.m.

State Senator Lois Wolk, D-Davis

(Wolk represents all or part of Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, and Yolo Counties—four of the five counties in the Delta)

“I’m disappointed. Californians resoundingly rejected the same ‘plumbing before policy’ approach in the Delta 30 years ago. We already learned this lesson. It doesn’t need repeating. This is a step backward. This plan stakes the Delta’s future on a wink and a promise. Trust us, they say. We’ll build now and protect the Delta later. Well, trust is earned.”

“This plan justifies tremendous risks to the people, economy, and ecosystem of this extraordinary estuary in order to appease the excessive demands of a select group of politically powerful water interests. It will also use billions in higher water rates and taxpayer borrowing to build the largest, most expensive state-sponsored water project in half a century, even before we know if it can be used. We are supposed to trust that a project with no legislative oversight, no public accountability and no budget control will be built without waste, tax increases, costly overruns and errors. California can’t afford that multi-billion dollar gamble.”



Congressman Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton


“For years, I have been fighting against water exportation that would hurt our community.  This BDCP plan is a travesty for northern California and will decimate our region, costing millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.  This development is a huge breach of the public trust.  Governor Brown and Secretary Salazar have shown today that they have little regard for the people of San Joaquin County.  The families, farmers, and small business owners in northern California stand to have their livelihoods destroyed.  This will have ruinous consequences for our local economy at a time when we already struggle with record unemployment,”



Congressman John Garamendi, D-Fairfield


“Today I flew back to California to make it clear to state and federal lawmakers where I stand: the 9,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) conveyance facility being proposed could wreak havoc on the Delta and the jobs it sustains and put existing water rights in the Delta and Northern California at risk . It is possible for California to solve its water problems, but the Delta and Northern California counties must be at the table, and it will take a comprehensive, multifaceted approach, not just a piece of plumbing in the Delta. We must address the needs of all Californians by prioritizing storage, conservation, recycling, levee improvements, and habitat restoration. A BDCP without these elements is incomplete at best.”



State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord

(DeSaulnier represents Contra Costa County that is also part of the Delta.)

“We’re being asked to take a lot on faith,” said Senator DeSaulnier. “We’re being asked to believe that in the future the amount of water diverted from the Delta will be based on science, when science has been persistently ignored up to this point. We’re being asked to believe that fish will miraculously need less water to survive in the future, and that returning water exports to the levels that first decimated Delta fisheries will help restore the estuary. That’s a lot to ask. Too much.”

 

Jim Metropulos, senior advocate for Sierra Club California

“We need to know upfront what the impacts of the project are and how they are going to mitigate these impacts or to actually improve conditions for fish. The plan states that some species, like the winter Chinook salmon, would be harmed by the construction of the tunnels. Their own studies show there could be species decline and extinction, and the project could make things worse than not doing anything at all.”



Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta

“We oppose the rush to build a project that would exterminate salmon runs, destroy sustainable family farms and saddle taxpayers with tens of billions in debt, mainly to benefit a small number of huge corporate agribusinesses on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. This proposal is fatally-flawed.”



Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance

“Two-thirds of Delta water exports go to support 0.3-0.4% of the California population and economy (GDP) on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley.  Less than a third goes to areas representing two-thirds of the state’s population and economy. Why would anyone choose to sacrifice family farms on prime farmland in the Delta in order to send subsidized water to grow subsidized crops on the impaired soils of Westside plantations, whose owners live in Pacific Heights and Beverly Hills?  Why would we use two and a half times the water to grow an almond in the Westside of the Valley than is required to grow an almond in Butte County? The ‘tunnels’ represent more than simply a transfer of good quality water around the Delta.  They also represent a massive transfer of wealth from north to south.”



Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe

“The common people will pay for the tunnels and a few people will make millions. It will turn a once pristine Delta waterway into a sewer pipe. It will be bad for the fish, the ocean and the people of California.”

 

 California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger

“In nearly every corner of California, family farmers and ranchers have a stake in the outcome of delta decisions. So do the people in California, the United States and throughout the world who depend on the food and farm products grown by our farmers. Farmers will continue to use water as efficiently as they can to nourish their crops, replenish their soil and benefit the wildlife that lives on farmland,” he said, noting that since 1967, crop production in California has doubled, while farm water use has risen just 10 percent. “But water efficiency has its limits. To sustain agricultural production to feed our growing population, California must add new surface water storage as a crucial element in resolving our state’s water problems.”



Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui, D-Sacramento


“To solve California’s water issues, northern California must be part of the decision making process.  Unfortunately we were not.  Imagine if San Francisco decided to build the Golden Gate Bridge without consulting Marin County?  The 9,000 cfs facility being proposed is simply not acceptable.  It will cause massive impacts in the Sacramento area and suck our river dry.  There are still a lot of unaddressed issues, and it is my sincere hope they will be addressed before any BDCP moves forward. This proposal will also put at risk Senior Water rights that Sacramento County and the Delta region hold.  As the member of Congress that represents the Sacramento region, ‘home’ of the project’s massive infrastructure, I can tell you there are no benefits to Sacramento, only negative impacts.”





Congressman Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena


“Today’s proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan missed a golden opportunity to develop sound water policy, instead choosing politics over science. It will cost jobs, harm our environment and is a bad deal for Northern California. All that we’ve insisted on is that any BDCP be based on sound science. Given the announced preferred alternative, this was apparently too much to ask. Before making irreversible decisions, we need a transparent, comprehensive and impartial discussion, with all stakeholders at the table, on how this would impact the farmers, fishers and businesses that depend on the Delta for their livelihoods. Today’s announcement ignores the needs of Northern California and will devastate our economy.”

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