Someone is looking forward to the “Nice Long, Long Construction Period”

No Tony, the Delta folks are not looking forward to this horrible construction project!
Estremera and Nemeth rejoicing in kicking off the Delta Tunnels – before permits are even issued!

Gene Beley has posted videos of the entire Design Conveyance Design & Construction Joint Powers Authority (DCDCA) meeting held last Thursday, May 17th in Sacramento. If you remember, this is the new Board just formed to manage the Delta Tunnel construction. The five Delta County Supervisors commented at the start of the meeting. What struck me was the end of the meeting, when the new President of the Board, Tony Estremera signed the official agreement papers with Karla Nesmeth, Director of DWR. Estremera was absolutely beaming at the prospects of leading this fine project and stated, “We look forward to a nice long period of construction.”

I think we need to educate Mr. Estremera about the damage this destructive construction project is going to do to Delta communities!

The entire meeting video is here. At the beginning, the five Delta County Supervisors speak out against the tunnels: Diane Burgis, Contra Costa County; Don Nottoli, Sacramento County; Oscar Villegas, Yolo County; Chuck Winn, San Joaquin County; and Skip Thompson, Solano County Supervisor and Chairman of Delta Protection Committee and member of the Delta Stewardship Council. They all jointly stood together and lambasted the DCDCA Board and the project for the damage it would do to the Delta, for the fact that better projects are not being done, and for the closed door policies and lack of representation of Delta Communities into the process.

Diane Burgis was the most passionate and articulate about what is at risk – the agriculture in the Delta, the harm to public recreation and boating. She explained the two-lane levee roads that comprise the infrastructure here that are not appropriate for a major construction project, and the impact on historical towns. She said, “The Delta deserves long-term protections. Land use changes cannot contribute to the diminishment and damage to the Delta!” Nottoli said this project, “will forever change daily life to the historic community. Quiet rural towns will be transformed into construction zones, affecting the quality of life, it will displace people, effect agribusiness, tourism, fishing, boating.” He called the project “wrongheaded” and “misguided.”

Villegas said the county supervisors needed to be part of the project. He was concerned about the $17 billion price tag and said, “We know it will go beyond that and rate payers won’t be willing to pay. And projects that are better for the environment” won’t get done.

Winn expounded that the twin tunnels don’t generate any more water or flood protection. He thinks that, “California is not in a situation where we lack water, we lack infrastructure. We have 150 million to 300 million AF/year. 32.6 MAF had no benefit because there was no storage capacity in those areas or further south. Need to manage it more productively.

Thomson told the Board, “You’re going down the wrong tunnel.” He reminded them that, “The Delta Reform Act mandated a policy to reduce exports from the Delta. The tunnels only addresses one of the co-equal goals. There are other projects that will really unite California from North to South, not cause further devastation to the Delta. A JPA is bad public policy to acquire land, design and start construction before permits have been approved. You don’t build a house before you get the permit. You need to go through the permitting and bond validation before starting. Most planning has occurred behind closed doors. There are 4 million people directly impacted yet the state, Governor, and his administration haven’t made one attempt to reach out to us. We can be part of the solution, else we will be part of the problem. How will you make sure we are not harmed by the project?”

A big thank you to Gene Beley who traveled to the meeting, recorded it all, and prepared the edits and separate pictures.

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