Senate Panel Hears from Angry Delta Residents on Delta Plan and Peripheral Canal

(reported by Michael Brodsky who attended the meeting representing STCDA)

Sacramento March 13, 2012.

The California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water held an oversight hearing at the Capitol Tuesday morning to hear about progress in developing the Delta Plan and to hear about the planning process for the Peripheral Canal.

As expected, California and federal officials painted a rosy picture. Roger Paterson, Assistant General Manager for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, told the senators that a new Peripheral Canal would be good for the Delta. He denied that there was any water grab driven by souther California interests underway. He said that Delta residents should rest easy because MWD has the best interests of the environment at heart.

When it came time for public comment, the senators heard a very different story. Speaker after speaker complained that plans to build the Peripheral Canal were secretive, that the science underlying the supposed environmental benefits of the canal was faulty, and that MWD and the other water contractors were being given secret access to the process leaving the public in the dark.

The panel also heard criticism of the Delta Plan, in particular that the Delta Plan favors increased water exports to southern California with no meaningful requirements for water conservation. The Delta Plan, being developed by a newly minted government agency called the Delta Stewardship Council, will be the master plan for the Delta for decades to come.

The Peripheral Canal is being planned in a separate process called the Bay Conservation and Development Plan, or BDCP for short. After completion, the BDCP will become a part of the Delta Plan.

Both of these planning processes are nearing critical phases and it will be especially important for Discovery Bay residents to attend upcoming meetings so our voices are heard. STCDA will be organizing trips to Sacramento and sending out notice to members well in advance so Discovery Bay residents can let their voices be heard.

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