Posted by: Jan | November 11, 2018

ALERT: Send Advice to Newsom

Great editorial by the Mercury News Editorial Board, How California can chart new approach to water woes.

Please join me and support them by sending a comment to “All in California” and/or twitter with hashtag #Advice4Gavin.

How? Tell Newsom you agree with the Mercury News Editorial. All in California link.

The Merc News advice? “Newsom should tell the State Water Board to stand firm in their push to increase the amount of water flowing through the San Joaquin River. It’s not only in the best interests of the state’s water future but also is consistent with his desire to resist President Trump’s effort to roll back crucial California environmental protections.”

But other great advice is also in the editorial. Read: How California can chart new approach to water woes.

ALSO, if you use Twitter, send the advice to Newsom by including the hashtag #Advice4Gavin, these tweets will be discussed by reporters and political leaders next Thursday Nov. 15 on California Nation.

Tweet to Newsom to “Stand Firm and support the Water Board in increasing the water flows through the Delta.” Remember to use the #Advice4Gavin hashtag.

Consider: What if Newsom borrowed a page from Brown’s climate change playbook, which called for a big move away from coal and oil in favor of renewable and green energy?

What if, instead of seeking to build more dams or find new ways to divert more water from California’s rivers, Newsom focused on how we can conserve water and create vast new supplies of renewable water through increased recycling, new treatment plants, additional gray water systems, efficient irrigation systems, large-scale storm water capture and more.

That’s leadership. And it would leave a far greater legacy than Brown’s ill-conceived Delta twin-tunnels plan, which would cost $19.9 billion but wouldn’t add a drop of new water to California’s limited supply.

Newsom can start by making his position clear at a pivotal State Water Resources Control Board meeting rescheduled for Dec. 11. The board is scheduled to vote on a proposal to substantially increase water flows in the San Joaquin River and its tributaries from as low as 10 to 20 percent to 40 percent of natural flows.

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Here’s more about the Delta Stewardship Council staff recommending against the tunnels. Deirdre Des Jardins (California Water Research)’s testimony on sea level rise was also agreed with by the staff, North Delta C.A.R.E.S. (Barbara Daly) testified against the legacy town damage that would occur, STCDA on all of the impacts up and down the Delta, and other testimonies were presented during the two-day Delta Stewardship Meeting October 24 & 25. What a great effort by the groups battling the horrible Delta Tunnel Plan!

Here’s Dan Batcher’s writeup: https://fishsniffer.com/index.php/2018/11/08/stewardship-council-staff-finds-delta-tunnels-inconsistent-with-delta-plan/?fbclid=IwAR3vqU6Kmj0h87HMD7fordVeettamR4LySld4WRB9wZ-MvjKjTbPOtC9z-g

Next step – the Council will review the Staff Report in November 13 and then vote (in December). Fingers crossed that the declare the Tunnels inconsistent with the Delta Plan which will mean the tunnels cannot go forward as is.

That would be a major (and we hope final) blow for the tunnels. Although I imagine someone who wants the tunnels would then sue. Stay tuned . . .

Posted by: Jan | November 8, 2018

Michael Brodsky clearly explains

BrodskyDeltaPlan.png

Here’s a video from Discovery Bay Press prior to the Oct 24th meeting where Michael Brodsky explains why the Delta Tunnels are inconsistent with the Delta Plan.

Obviously, from our prior blog, the Delta Stewardship Council staff agreed.

https://www.thepress.net/multimedia/video-waterfix-hearings/youtube_6fe4813a-dd37-11e8-b122-0702245ebca2.html

We need to support Michael’s continued efforts. He is effective! He is winning! Please donate!



Or send a check made out to “STCDA” to:
STCDA
P.O. Box 1760
Discovery Bay, CA 94505

BIG NEWS!

The Delta Stewardship Staff Reports that WaterFix is not consistent with the Delta Plan!

The staff accepted two of Save the California Delta Alliance’s main arguments: that WaterFix is not consistent with D-1641 water quality requirements (meaning acceptable salinity in the Delta, particularly that it violates the Export to Inflow ratios); and that WaterFix does not respect local land uses because of impacts on recreation and legacy communities.

This is big!

The first argument about water quality is what many groups fighting the tunnels have been saying.

The second argument is one we (STCDA) have been pushing hard – working to protect recreation and boating throughout the Delta and protecting the legacy towns in the North Delta.

Telling testimony had been brought forward by Michael Brodsky about the horrible problems with 24×7 pile driving noise near the towns of Hood and Clarksburg – how students in elementary schools would not be able to hear their teachers speak . . . for up to 10 years. This is totally unacceptable. Construction trucks thundering through the historical Chinese town of Locke would absolutely cause those 100 plus year old buildings to crumble. These issues were reiterated by Barbara Daly representing North Delta C.A.R.E.S. California Water Research’s reams of analysis and study backed up the issues with the construction itself.

The STCDA case exposed how construction gridlock throughout the Delta roads and impossible barge traffic in all the waterways would drive tourists and boaters away – in total conflict with the Delta Plan that supposedly strives to protect the Delta as a Place for all of its wonderful aspects, including boating and recreation.

Right now the Delta Stewardship Council vote is likely tied 2 to 2. So with the staff recommending our way, this seems to be very good news.

Of course, in the lengthy battle, we have often hit what we thought was a “done deal” status to find water agencies pushing back and suing or other obstacles arising and hurdles to be overcome.

But, it is very good news and shows our arguments are on the right track. It shows your investments in STCDA are paying off and, if we can continue to fight any new challenges, we will win!

Thank you to our donors and supporters. We appreciate your support. Please continue to help us during our end-of-year fundraising.

A special thanks to Michael Brodsky and his hours and hours of pro-bono work to save our Delta !!!

Together we will win this thing! We will stop the Delta Tunnels!

Please donate!



Or send a check made out to “STCDA” to:
STCDA
P.O. Box 1760
Discovery Bay, CA 94505

Posted by: Jan | November 2, 2018

When the levees fall down – what’s their plan?

Riddle me this: Since the Tunnel proponents say a MAJOR justification for building the tunnels is the damage that WILL occur from the next major earthquake and the resulting RISK to water exports south, why are they planning to build their tunnels in a place and a way that ignores that same risk?

That earthquake risk is an important factor for David Sunding’s Cost/Benefits Analysis of the WaterFix (aka Delta Tunnels). The earthquake risk (or major storm causing all of the levees to crumble) is used as a scare tactic to get L.A. water rate payers to buy into the Tunnels. We heard it repeated again at the Delta Stewardship Council meeting last Friday by proponents of the Delta Tunnels: That these tunnels are needed so that when the big one, the earthquake hits, their water supply in L.A. won’t be cut off.

The claim is that when the big one hits (or a superstorm), all of the levees in the Delta will fall down, salt water will intrude, and L.A.’s fresh water exports will stop.

Although the “Earthquake Bogey” has been hotly contested time and again, it remains a key justification in the discussions.

So let’s figure this out.

The tunnel shafts being built every few miles throughout the Delta have two purposes: (a) Lowering pipe segments down to construct the pipeline during the building stage and (b) Accessing the pipeline for maintenance and repairs long-term. Continued and long-term access to these shafts is vital for the tunnel construction and long-term maintenance.

TunnelAccessShafts
South Delta tunnel access shafts south of the channel and north of Highway 4 are on Mandeville Island, then south to Bacon Island, and Victoria Island.

In the South Delta, the shafts are all on Delta Islands.

There aren’t a lot of roads in that area. Mostly waterways.

The plan is for a 24×7 column of construction trucks to travel from Antioch to the tunnel shafts taking construction materials and construction workers and to move borrow pit dirt to build the shafts up and take muck (“Reusable Tunnel Material”) out and back to the muck pond just south of Discovery Bay.

How do all of these trucks get to those tunnel access shafts. They are on islands … surrounded by water?

There is a road (one road) that can get all of the trucks from Highway 4 to all of the construction activity on Bacon Island and Mandeville Island. One road they all need to travel on and then turn off to go to the shaft they are assigned to.

The road exits Highway 4 onto what is now a farm road, Bacon Island Road located on Jones Tract. If you recall, Jones Tract is the island that flooded in 2004 when a rodent or some other agent caused the levee to break. That was the last island rupture in the South Delta. The Sante Fe Railroad Line goes through the center of Jones Tract.

Bacon Island Road crosses the lower part of Jones Tract and then heads to the levee and runs up along the top of the levee along Jones, under the railroad trestle and continues to the Bacon Island Bridge. The trucks will cross the Bacon Island Bridge (a farm bridge that opens for boat traffic and will need to open more for barge traffic based on the busy barge plan). It travels along the Bacon Island Levee, up to perhaps the oldest bridge on the Delta, Connection Slough Bridge, across it to get to the Mandeville Island shaft.

BaconIsandRoad.png

The pictures below show these small top-of-levee roads with one side dropping off to the waterway and the subsided island farm on the other.


Small two-lane levee island roads on the tops of the levees between the waterways and Jones Tract, across Bacon Island Bridge to Bacon Island, then across Connection Slough Bridge to Mandeville.

That one and only road is on top of the very same levees that WILL FALL DOWN IN AN EARTHQUAKE (if you believe what DWR has publicized and based the need for the tunnels on). If any of the levees where the Bacon Island Road runs fail, the islands will flood and the access shafts will be totally inaccessible.

What will the cost for maintenance be when the “big one” hits? Since the tunnels aren’t being built to withstand a maximum earthquake in the Delta and are being built through soft, shifting alluvial Delta soils, there is a high probability they will crack and shift and need maintenance.

Riddle me this: If they believe their story that the Delta levees are fragile and about to all fall down, are they stupid enough to plan a project so when that happens, construction will come to a screeching halt and maintenance shafts will be in the middle of lakes and unaccessible?

This points out a glaring hole in the construction plan. They have chosen the through-Delta route for cost reasons and because they have been buying up Delta islands to avoid eminent domain problems. But they are tunneling through wetlands and areas which they predict will, in the near future, (according to them) be flooded and underwater. Where is the thinking?

Other References:

  • The February 2018 WaterFix cost-benefit analysis by David Sunding discusses the risks and potential economic costs of export curtailment due to multiple levee failures from a Maximum Considered Earthquake (MCE) on the Hayward- Rogers Creek fault. Sunding’s cost-benefit analysis implies that construction of the Waterfix tunnels would result in no reduction in State Water Project and Central Valley Project exports in the event of such an earthquake.
  • Yet: Tunnel experts and researchers dispute tunnel construction is sufficient in an earthquake.
Posted by: Jan | October 31, 2018

Where are we in the Tunnel Fight?

I’ve been blogging a lot this week about the issues with the construction project and other technicalities. But people are asking about the big picture.

Where are we at?

Will Jerry Brown get his way and break ground on the Tunnels before year-end?

I don’t see that happening. But we need your support to wrap this up.

Shovel-Ready.png

How do we Finish it Off?

The Water Board and Delta Stewardship Council vote in December:

  • Either the State Water Resources Control Board will deny the permit (hence killing the project) or add construction constraints on the project to respond to the significant issues we have raised. Those constraints may be sufficient to nix the project.
  • The Delta Stewardship Council could end up with a tie vote in December and the tunnel project as is wouldn’t be accepted for the Delta. That could squash it else take time to rework (or twist arms) and get a new vote.
  • Else if the tunnel project moves ahead, it goes to litigation. The past years of hiring expert witnesses (funded by our supportive members), testimonies, your comments, and Michael Brodsky’s hard work have built an awesome case against the tunnels. If the project moves ahead, we believe the judges will block it.
  • Ongoing: Defending our “Win” in Appeal Court: We won against the Delta Stewardship Council in 2016 and the Delta Plan. DSC appealed. We need to continue to defend our win in Appeals Court.

What do we need to finish this off and be successful? We are through with the need to hire more expert witnesses. Brodsky has built an outstanding case with facts and information to back up our claims. Much of our case is uniquely focused on boating and recreation as well as many other aspects of protecting the Delta as a Place. We think we have one of the best (or the best) cases and best chance to stop this thing!

Brodsky continues to work pro-bono for the cause (amazing!) but needs more help to come in to fight back in court. He can’t go it alone. STCDA’s case is strong and unique. We are confident and we can’t stop now! If the agencies vote for the Tunnels in December after everything they have heard, the only choice is to litigate.

We are starting our year-end fundraising. Our coffers are dry. We are behind our fundraising goal.

Please help! Donate now.



Or send a check made out to “STCDA” to:
STCDA
P.O. Box 1760
Discovery Bay, CA 94505

Posted by: Jan | October 31, 2018

A Summary of Tunnel Construction Issues

It seems there are so many issues and impacts from the Delta Tunnel (California WaterFix) construction project, it’s hard to keep track. But they are all important and all are significant. What’s more, they are all more destructive because of the ill-thought-out choice of tunnel routes: Through the heart of the sensitive estuary instead of around it. Through the middle of the “Delta as a Place” that is supposed to be protected, according to the Delta Reform Act and the Legislature.

NOTE: This is a work in progress. I’ll continue to add references and links over time.

So, focusing on construction issues alone, here’s a list and reference to any article(s) or blog(s) that describe it more fully (in random order of importance):

  1. Tunneling through the soft alluvial soils found in the Delta is risky
  2. Testimony of Tunneling Expert Tom Williams. Note he states: “The construction of two forty foot diameter, 40 mile long tunnels in soft wet sedimentary and peat soils is a significant engineering challenge”. DWR picked the wrong route!
  3. Tunneling under the main shipping channel is risky
  4. Tunneling through the Rio Vista gas fields WaterFix Tunnel through Gas Fields/Wells. (Note: Seventeen construction workers died when Metropolitan tunneled through a gas field building their Castaic tunnel some years ago).
  5. Tunneling through soft soils found in the Delta is a risk to our levees. NOTE: DWR recognized the risk when they moved the tunnel alignment to not go under levees maintained by the Army Corp of Engineers. They didn’t want to try to meet standards the ACOE sets for their levees.
  6. Tunneling under the Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad trestle (carrying freight and Amtrak trains) Amtrak
    Yep – that’s the plan. Tunneling through the soft Delta soils right under the train pilings.
  7. Barge docks and barges throughout the waterway making boating and recreation untenable:
  8. Affects of shutting down boating and recreation on Delta marinas and communities
  9. Impact from 24×7 construction trucks on Delta highways (mostly rural 2-lane levee roads)
  10. Impact of construction trucks on Highway 4 between Brentwood/Discovery Bay and Stockton
  11. Raising the Old River Bridge 8 times/day on Highway 4 just east of Discovery Bay
  12. Road damage from 24×7 construction trucks: KCRA Road Impact Video
  13. Farmers in the Delta unable to get their produce to market when all Delta roads are gridlocked
  14. Ruining the historical town of Locke – built by Chinese immigrants in 1913
  15. Impacts to Clarksburg and Courtland and the people living there
  16. Impacts to Hood and the people living there:
  17. Impacts to Bethel Island and the people living there. Bethel Island is a small Delta island community surrounded by 30-40 marinas, restaurants, and other businesses servicing the Delta boating and fishing community. It is located next to Franks Tract – a State Recreation Area and primary bass fishing locale for all of Northern California, bringing in bass fishing tournaments and tourists to Bethel Island and the Delta. Franks Tract is under consideration by the State to fill in with dirt and dams. See
  18. Impacts to Discovery Bay and the people living there
  19. Impacts to Boating and Recreation throughout the Delta
Posted by: Jan | October 31, 2018

Franks Tract Project moves forward – argh

Please see the notice below from Jamie Bolt, owner of Bethel Harbor on Bethel Island. Jamie has been working with all of the groups with vested interest in Franks Tract and other Delta Islands.

Send your questions or comments via email to: contact@deltaconservancy.ca.gov.

In particular, the State is planning on filling in Franks Tract with dirt, damning False River, and other terrible, unacceptable actions which will impact Bethel Island I’ve written about this project in multiple blogs. Here’s the overview: https://nodeltagates.com/2018/01/10/franks-tract-feasibility-study/

If you go to https://nodeltagates.com/ and “ Search” (right side Search box) for “Frank” you’ll see more blogs with information about this very bad project.

Send your questions or comments via email to: contact@deltaconservancy.ca.gov (I don’t know when the deadline is).

The CA Dept of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) who is heading up this project).held a big meeting in January at Bethel Island which was attended by marina operators, restaurant owners, business people with a stake in keeping Franks Tract the primary bass fishing area for Northern California and maintaining open boat access to Bethel Island establishments. The unanimous response to the Franks Tract proposal to fill in and dam was “What? That would be a disaster!” More recently the CDFW issued their findings that the Franks Tract project was “feasible.” That means they totally ignored the economic impact and hardship this project would cause to the Community of Bethel Island. Another example of the state prioritizing the desires of the water contractors over real people living in the Delta.

Please send comments and even better, if you can go to the November 13 workshop, please do.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 | 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Jean Harvie Community Center
14273 River Rd, Walnut Grove, CA 95690
Click here to view map

Alert from Jamie Bolt

Greetings All,

**ALERT**

Please see below the PUBLIC meeting notice for the workshop to discuss the ‘first draft’ of the Central Delta Public Lands Strategy.
Since the first meeting in early August, the name has curiously been changed from the Central Delta Corridor Conservation Strategy to the Central Delta Public Lands Strategy. This name change is not done without express purpose on their part.
This project will serve purpose for the California Water Fix to mitigate thousands of acres of land as required by the state for the twin tunnels project.

If you scroll to the bottom of the below notice you will see the map of delta islands included in their ‘conservation strategy’.
You should note that Franks Tract is specifically included in the Public Lands description and may be extensively filled in as ‘restored marshland’.

You should also note that Bethel Island is surrounded to the east, north, southeast and northwest by the planned project properties.
You should be aware that it was discussed at the last workshop that False River be included in the project and be dammed/dead-ended.

Under the guise of partnering with the public, you will note the workshop wording states they have been “working collaboratively and in coordination with local communities”. They also state the agency supports “the economic well-being of Delta area residents”.

The damming of False River and the filling of Franks Tract are NOT in our best interests. We have not been consulted as a community.
Our delta as we know it is at risk.

I urge you to share this information with others you may know with a stake in these plans. This includes anyone who recreates on Franks Tract.
I urge you to follow the link at the bottom of the page offering more information on the program.
I urge you to stay abreast of this massive project which is at our front door!

Thank you,

Jamie Bolt
Bethel Harbor, Ltd.
925-684-2141

Delta Conservancy Central Delta Corridor Project Announcement

To view the announcement below in your browser click here

From: Delta Conservancy Central Delta Corridor Project [mailto:Linadria@CatalystGroupCA.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2018 6:29 AM
To: Jamie Bolt
Subject: Central Delta Corridor Public Workshop — November 13

Central Delta Public Lands Strategy
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy will host its next public workshop to discuss the first draft of Central Delta Public Lands Strategy (formerly titled: Central Delta Corridor Strategy), which outlines multi-benefit opportunities on publicly-funded* lands from Sherman Island to the Cosumnes Preserve.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 | 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Jean Harvie Community Center
14273 River Rd, Walnut Grove, CA 95690
Click here to view map

The goal of this public workshop is to share the draft strategy document, which outlines a high-level strategy to guide investments on publicly funded lands. This is the ideal place for you to understand the guiding principles, near-and-long-term opportunities, goals and objectives and conservation priorities. Get an update on each phase of the strategy development and the project.

Project partners include the following landowners: The Nature Conservancy (TNC), California Waterfowl Association (CWA), California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), California Department of Water Resources (DWR), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD).

For background information and the latest updates on this project visit the Central Delta Corridor Partnership page at: http://www.deltaconservancy.ca.gov.

Send your questions or comments via email to: contact@deltaconservancy.ca.gov.

Thank you for your interest in the Central Delta Corridor Partnership and the Central Delta Public Lands Strategy.

*Publicly-owned lands include lands owned by state, federal, and regional government agencies and lands purchased with public funds.

About the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy is a state agency that supports implementation of ecosystem restoration, efforts that advance environmental protection, and the economic well-being of Delta area residents, visit http://deltaconservancy.ca.gov to learn more.

The Delta Conservancy mission: Working collaboratively and in coordination with local communities, the Conservancy will lead efforts to protect, enhance, and restore the Delta’s economy, agriculture and working landscapes, and environment for the benefit of the Delta region, its local communities, and the citizens of California.

Posted by: Jan | October 31, 2018

We’re humans, not “receptors”

HoodConstruction_waterfixand1
North Delta intakes 2018 WaterFix Conceptual Engineering Report

This Tunnel project is crazy. Such a destructive construction project! Now the DWR justifies putting construction right next to and through the small town of Hood because there are “no sensitive receptors” in Hood to the hazardous materials as part of the construction. (Note: “receptor” is a DWR code word for humans or other living entity). How did DWR justify saying that? Because, DWR stated, there are no hospitals, schools, or parks in Hood.

Wait a minute! Aren’t there any old people, kids with asthma, puppies?

BTW – DWR is admitting there be hazardous materials in the air.

Here’s the complete write-up about this: WaterFix DWR Claims No Sensitive Receptors to Hazardous Materials in North Delta Towns.

We are humans, not “receptors”. It reminds me the public outcry to DWR’s plan to leave muck ponds everywhere throughout the Delta (muck – the crap that is excavated from the tunnel hole 150 feet down – wet, smelly stuff). They didn’t modify their plan, they used global edit throughout their 40,000 page EIR and replaced “Muck” with “Reusable Tunnel Materials”, aka “RTM.” That certainly solved the problem.

Thanks to those of you who trekked up to the Delta Stewardship Council Meeting in Sacramento last week. I’m sorry we didn’t have enough to fill a bus but lots of you came anyway. Between all of the organizations who put out the call, the room was full.


Bill Wells (top left), Jan McCleery and Jamie Bolt (right). At the bottom, Skip Thomson, Solano County Supervisor (pro Delta) and Randy Florin, DSC Chair with Turlock tree/wine farm background (pro Tunnel). Photos by Tony Kukulich, Brentwood Press

Michael Brodsky, STCDA Legal Council, made an excellent appeal to the DSC on Wednesday, highlighting the impacts the horrible construction project will have throughout the Delta – from the north to the south. (See the full text of his Appeal and his slides).

Comments started on Thursday afternoon. Thanks to you who went to Sacramento and delivered comments including our members and California Assemblyman Jim Frazier. Here’s Jim’s Comments.

On Friday, the comment period started with folks representing the exporters making their plea for why they need clean water in LA and for Central Valley farming. They were good and valid comments, but they ignored that this plan will destroy the Delta as a Place including the communities and people who live here.

Then Pro Delta speakers took their turn at commenting. Those included yours truly, STCDA Board Members Bill Wells and Jan McCleery. Jan’s comments focused on the construction impacts to Delta communities, highways, and boating waterways and raised the question about why the destructive through-Delta route was chosen instead of the around-the-Delta Eastern Route. Jamie Bolt, the owner of Bethel Harbor, represented the many, numerous establishments on Bethel Island and throughout the Delta that will be devastated with this project. Contra Costa Supervisor Diane Burgis gave a strong rebuttal to the exporters comments and advocated the need to balance concerns for the Delta with the water exporter’s needs. Cecily Tippery from Discovery Bay read the comments from Jerry McNerney (very good – read them including the updated W.E.S.T Bill he’s introducing to the US Congress for a better solution to California’s water), Barbara Barrigan-Parrada from Restore the Delta complained about the lack of communications and outreach to the impacted groups, Deirdre Des Jardin from California Water Research raised very interesting technical questions pointing out concerns about if the plan will protect salinity control in the Delta.

There were a host of folks who showed up to comment. Particularly moving was a gentleman from Locke who showed pictures of that legacy town built in 1915 by Chinese immigrants and considered an important historical site. The second picture showed a grim depiction of how the fragile town would look after only a few years of construction trucks rumbling 24×7 down the narrow main street – shaking the town structures down. Another man from Hood described the historical farmhouse he purchased and has been preserving for decades. Like Locke, his home is on the CA historical registry. The tunnel construction plan is to put a construction road right down the middle of his front yard and going through groves of 100 year old cypress trees.

The damage throughout the Delta from this ill-thought-out plan will be immense. Wouldn’t you go around a treasure like the Delta if you were trying to protect it? Not through the middle, tearing everything up? See more here:

DSC Meeting References:

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