In case you missed it: January in a Nutshell

In case you missed it – STCDA’s January 2018 Water Update

  1. State Water Resources Control Board Hearings Part II are “On Hold”
  2. Governor Brown tries a Different Approach – One Tunnel
  3. The Trump Administration gets into the Act
  4. Franks Tract Feasibility Study
  5. Discovery Bay names Citizen of the Year – the Delta Communities won!

1 – State Water Resources Control Board Hearings Part II are “On Hold”

What are the Hearings for? The Water Board is reviewing the Department of Water Resources (DWR) petition for a permit to build new tunnel intakes on the Sacramento River. This permit is key to building the tunnels. The hearings were planned to start on January 18th.

What’s the problem? STCDA alleges that during 2016 and 2017’s Part I hearings, nine secret meetings were held between the DWR and state hearing agents, essentially rigging the hearings in favor of the tunnels. This is similar to a judge and the pontiff’s council meeting secretly while a trial is ongoing. Other groups have also filed petitions (joiners) to stay the meetings for 90 days to review these allegations.

What’s being done? At first the hearings were delayed until February 1st. Today, we see that the hearings are now delayed another week, until February 8th. All of the groups are calling for a 90-day hold while a decision is made what is appropriate, perhaps even rejecting the permit request. We’re waiting to see what they do next.

Read more here: STCDA Blog Breaking News – WaterFix Hearings Rigged for more about the alleged ex-parte communications between the Water Board and the DWR.

2 – Governor Brown tries a Different Approach – One Tunnel

Is one tunnel better than two? No! In January, after failing to obtain buy-in from the water agencies to pay for the Twin Tunnels, Governor Brown announced a single-tunnel plan. The plan should be unveiled next month. However, everyone admits it only the first phase of a two-tunnel goal, which could mean a much longer and more disruptive construction impacts, still means loss of fresh water from an already struggling ecosystem, and still does not prove to be financially viable. STCDA is a definite “no” unless a more viable plan is presented, which would include a new route around the Delta instead of through it. Even then, it is doubtful evidence would arise that the project would not cause more environmental damage than the current exports.

Brown’s out in less than a year – what are the candidates saying?
After Brown’s State of the State address, Newsom praised Brown’s openness to scaling back the water conveyance project to a single tunnel, which he said he hoped would lead to a deal and said, “This has got to be a top priority in the next administration. You can’t walk away from this.”

On the other hand, according to the Sacramento Bee, Democrats Delaine Eastin, a former state schools chief; former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; and state Treasurer John Chiang all have questioned the twin tunnels concept.

Read more here: SacBe Article on the State of the State Address.

3 – The Trump Administration gets into the Act

Who’s doing what? The Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), the agency responsible for operating the Central Valley Project Delta exports to the almond farmers, is being asked to make changes to the Delta export operations or other alternatives to increase water.

What can we do about that? We sent in comments (they were due Feb 1).
Read more here: STCDA Blog about the USBR Notice of Intent.

4 – Franks Tract Project

We found out that Fish & Wildlife are studying a project that would fill half of Franks Tract with dirt (tunnel muck?) and build a salinity wall down the middle. That can’t be good for a State Recreational Area renown for bass fishing and duck hunting. It also can’t be good for Bethel Island who’s economy depends on boats getting out directly from various marinas and restaurants that now will be virtually “Walled Off” from Frank’s Tract. The CDFW study report is due out in a couple of months. See STCDA Blog about the Franks Tract Feasibility Study.

5 – DB Citizen of the Year – The Delta Communities Won!

Yours truly (Jan McCleery) won the Discovery Bay Citizen of the Year award for her work to Save the Delta. The real “award” is for the community of Discovery Bay and other Delta citizens that have been attending meetings, getting on the bus, and writing comments in the effort to Stop the Tunnels. None of this would be possible without our fearless legal council, Michael Brodsky who should share any award due to his long hours and tireless focus on saving the Delta. Thanks goes to my hubby, too 🙂

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