One of the steps necessary in approval of the tunnels is a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps has opened a comment period but it is only for 30 days and with no public hearings. Michael Brodsky, our STCDA Legal Council, wrote them an email this morning, which is below.
We’re asking people to send in a comment to the Corps requesting
(1) an extension of the comment period and
(2) that they hold public hearings.
Mr. Brodsky requested an extension to January 10, 2016 and that they hold 3 public hearings, 2 of them to be in Delta communities.
Emails to the Corps should have the subject as:
Request to extend comment period SPK-2008-00861 and hold public hearings
And should be emailed to:
His email sent this morning below can serve as talking points as well as anything else anyone wants to add.
Dear Mr. Simmons,
This office represents Save the California Delta Alliance. We are writing to request an extension of the comment period on this project until January 10, 2016. We also request that the Corps hold three public hearings, with two of them located within Delta communities.
The Water Fix project is the most significant permitting undertaking that the Corps will experience in California in the twenty-first century. The project is highly controversial and portends the environmental fate of the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas.
Water Fix also represents a sudden change in direction for federal and state agencies with regard to water supply infrastructure and environmental commitments. For the last seven years, state and federal agencies have promised repeatedly that any new point of diversion and new conveyance facilities would be part of a federally approved habitat conservation plan, as defined by the federal Endangered Species Act.
“We will meet the gold standard, or we won’t do it,” has been the refrain and reply to all environmental and public interest concerns. That long standing promise has suddenly been abandoned and massive new diversions will be made possible by the Tunnel Project without any accompanying habitat conservation plan.
This kind of drastic last-minute change in a mega-diversion project and its public interest implications cannot be adequately addressed within a 30-day comment period.
Public hearings are also necessary to allow the thousands of local residents in the Delta to adequately address their concerns to the Corps.
We believe that the currently proposed 30-day comment period is legally inadequate and constitutes a procedural injury within the meaning of applicable federal law.
Please give serious and immediate consideration to extending the comment period and providing for public hearings.
Thank you for your consideration.