Saturday, October 3, 2015
For Jerry Brown’s water-stealing WaterFix, the Fix is IN…
By Dan Bacher
On the same day that Californians for Water Security, the astroturf coalition established to rally support for Jerry Brown’s $15+billion Delta Tunnels, announced they were approaching their first anniversary, a panel of experts convened by Restore the Delta revealed the alarming information that they have discovered so about the project after reading through the 48,000 page Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
In an email statement to their supporters on September 29, Californians for Water Security claimed, “the coalition has achieved so much in the past year, thanks to the active participation of you and all of our coalition members. But it’s not time for celebration. It’s time to continue the work.”
“This next year could be the most important year in moving the California Water Fix from planning to construction. In the next year, we’ll have important decisions on the environmental impact report; local water agencies and contractors will make key decisions on future support; key state and federal agencies will hold hearings and determine positions on CA Water Fix; and much more,” the group wrote.
“You know how important the CA Water Fix is to the future of California’s water security. That’s why we hope we can count on continued support from you and our more than 150 organizational members and more than 16,000 citizens who support the project,” the “coalition” (http://watersecurityca.com) claimed.
However, the experts speaking in the Restore the Delta teleconference painted a very bleak, much different picture about the “future of California’s water security” for fish, wildlife, the environment and the people of California if the proposed California Water Fix, the Delta Tunnels project formerly known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), is somehow approved by the permitting agencies.
They noted that this giant project will cost California tax and ratepayers between $15 and $60 billion — “one of California’s largest public investments to date.” And there will be no public vote, unlike in 1982 when the voters turned down the original peripheral tunnel plan by a huge margin.
For the complete statements by each expert on the panel and the audio of the event, you can go to: http://restorethedelta.org/…
Jeffrey Michael Ph.D., Director, Center for Business and Policy Research, University of the Pacific, spoke on “Water Yields, Economics and Missing Alternatives,” exposing how the project is not economically or financially feasible.
“First, an EIR must describe the project accurately,” said Michael. “The Delta Tunnels EIR/EIS describes a project that is not economically or financially feasible due to its minimal water yields. Specifically, the EIR/EIS describes water exports with the $16 billion tunnels will only average about 250,000 acre feet more each year than under No Action.”
“That’s about 16,000 acre feet of unreliable, untreated water per $1 billion of capital cost, an incredibly low return on investment. For comparison, the highest cost alternatives like desalination plants deliver over 50,000 acre feet of highly reliable, purified water for the same capital investment,” noted Michael.
Robert Wright, Senior Counsel for Friends of the River, reported on the devastating impacts that Tunnels Plan would have on endangered species, including Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, green sturgeon and Delta and longfin smelt.
“The Delta Water Tunnels would instead destroy endangered and threatened fish species,” said Wright. “The Tunnels would divert for the Central Valley and State Water Projects vast quantities of freshwater from the Sacramento River near Clarksburg that would no longer flow through the lower Sacramento River, sloughs, and Delta. This would jeopardize the continued existence of endangered and threatened species of fish and adversely modify their designated critical habitat by taking away freshwater flows for Winter Run Chinook salmon, spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, green Sturgeon, and Delta smelt.”
Besides jeopardizing the continued existence of endangered Central Valley salmon and steelhead and Delta and longfin smelt, the tunnels also imperil the salmon and steelhead runs on the Trinity and Klamath rivers, since a large percentage of the water from the Trinity River is diverted to the Sacramento River system and the Delta for export to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
Osha Meserve, North Delta Water rights attorney, exposed how the state and federal agencies were currently forging forward with key permits while the environmental review process is still underway.
“Signaling their commitment to a deeply flawed project, the project rushed forward with its major water right and wetland fill permit applications this month,” said Meserve. “In its submittal to the State Water Resources Control Board, tunnel applicants claimed they owned the roughly forty parcels of land necessary to construct the three tunnels that can convey 9000 cubic feet per second of water. Keep in mind the highest the river has flowed near the proposed tunnel intakes is 8400 cfs this month.”
“Later, after we pointed out the error, DWR submitted an errata sheet and tried to excuse its misrepresentations because the form was not usable for a project this large. DWR also had to amend its application to show that every water user in the Delta – over three thousand water rights — may be injured by the project from the changes in water quality, quantity and levels the project will cause,” she explained.
Tim Stroshane, water policy analyst for Restore the Delta, revealed the alarming impact the tunnels would have on the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.
Stroshane said, “Harmful algal blooms are expected to increase due to the Tunnels, consuming most or all dissolved oxygen in the water, and suffocating oxygen-respiring organisms like fish. Blue-green algae, such as one species called Microcystis, can also produce ‘cyanotoxins’ that pose a significant potential threat to wildlife, dogs, and human beings, and exposure can cause liver cancer in humans.”
“Tunnels’ reports acknowledge that ‘increases in the frequency, magnitude, and geographic extent of Microcystis blooms in the Delta would occur relative to Existing Conditions,’ increasing a dangerous ecological and public health threat,” he disclosed.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, discussed “Politics vs. Sustainability” in the Tunnels Plan. She criticized the project for being a “legacy project” inherited from Governor Jerry Brown’s father “created on flawed logic” – and urged the Governor to “do the right thing” and drop the tunnels project.
“This repackaging of the Delta tunnels will waste up to $60 billion dollars without creating any new water, won’t help desperate communities during the drought, or fund innovative water conservation, stormwater capture, or water recycling projects that cities are eager to build for resilience in a changing climate,” she said.
“Californians now face a huge decision. Should we commit $60 billion (after bond repayment and operation costs are considered) to construct twin 40 foot-wide, 35 mile-long, tunnels to export what water is left for almonds for export and speculative development – in the year 2031? Or are we going to protect the most magnificent and important estuary on the west coast of the Americas?” asked Barrigan-Parrilla.
She concluded, “Governor Brown has inherited a legacy project from his father that was created on flawed logic – an overextended water supply, even back in the 1960s. With climate change, snowpack will continue to diminish in the Sacramento River watershed and more rain will fall at the coast. Instead of continuing to cling stubbornly to this flawed family legacy, Governor Brown needs to do the right thing for the future of the state he loves. He needs to drop the tunnels project once and for all, and use his office to create a Marshall plan for water sustainability for all Californians, not just mega growers in Westlands and the Kern County Water District, and certainly not for the Metropolitan Water District.”
The comment period ends for the California Water Fix ends on October 30, 2015, so Californians now have only one month left to submit comments on the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Delta Tunnels project. If you haven’t submitted your comment yet, now’s the time to do it!
Public Comments on the Delta EIR/EIS can be submitted to:
BDCP/California WaterFix Comments
P.O. Box 1919
Sacramento, CA 95812
BDCPComments [at] icfi.com
BDCP/California WaterFix Comments
P.O. Box 1919
Sacramento, CA 95812
BDCPComments [at] icfi.com
You can also sign the petition to oppose the Delta Tunnels at: http://www.change.org/
at 7:47 PM
Thursday, October 1, 2015
At least 15 people were killed and another 20 wounded at a shooting on Thursday at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon, media reported.
The Portland Oregonian newspaper and CNN reported that a suspect had been taken into custody, citing Douglas County officials. That suspect was not identified.
CNN reported that one of the wounded was a female who had been shot in the chest. There was no immediate information on condition of the other wounded victims.
A spokeswoman for the Douglas County Sheriff's department confirmed to Reuters that there was a shooting at the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg. The spokeswoman had no further details.
"Active shooter scene is code 4. Multiple casualties all pt's transported," the Douglas County Fire Department said in a tweet. Multiple ambulances were reported to be on scene.
at 12:33 PM
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Those planning to attend the hometown hero parade honoring the three Sacramento-area men who stopped a terror attack on a French train be warned that temperatures are expected to be in the high 90s when the noon parade begins.
But also be warned this is happening on 9/11 for these young men who thwarted a Jihadist attack and became symbols of American exceptionalism. With Islamic hostilities already voiced in attack against Jews at UC Davis recently, it is not a stretch to assume we have a radicalized element locally.
Remember, the FBI and Homeland Security called a High Alert for last Fourth of July Celebrations.
Why this date was chosen for the parade to honor our heroes, is yet to be made clear. Hopefully it is not going to prove to be a bad decision.One could imagine the different Islamic terror groups who have discussed making this a prime targeted event for both revenge and the psychological mental-anguish another attack could have on the national psyche.
at 12:30 PM
Friday, September 4, 2015
Take Action Now to Stop Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels by Dan Bacher If you want to save the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, and Pacific Coast fisheries, it's time to take action against Governor Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels Plan. The pork barrel project, if constructed, would hasten the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. The last round of public comments on the California Water Fix, formerly called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP, ends in just 65 days, October 30. That's why it is essential that you submit a public comment to go on record opposing the Delta tunnels/CA WaterFix/BDCP. This will be your last chance to submit a public comment -- federal agencies may attempt to permit this plan as early as 2016! Go to the Restore the Delta website to submit a public comment, sign their petition to send an automatic letter or create your own using their letter template: http://restorethedelta.org/take-action-oppose-the-delta-tunnels/ "Let's get our neighbors, friends and family members to submit as many public comments as we can opposing the tunnels," according to an action alert from Restore the Delta (RTD). "Together, Californians can stop this insane project. We have done it before and we can do it again!" Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, emphasized what is at stake if the tunnels are built. "I believe that the Delta should stay the same for future generations of salmon and people," said Chief Sisk. "The tunnels will kill the Delta by diverting all the Sacramento River, the tunnels are being build large enough to divert the entire river. This will be a irreversible water tragedy affecting our air and food sources and clean waters!" According to RTD, "The impact on wildlife and plant species in the Delta that depend on freshwater include the Delta smelt, chinook salmon, steelhead, San Joaquin kit fox, and tricolored blackbird, protected species already on the brink that will face decimation due to a diminishing food-web." On the ocean, the ESA-listed South Pacific Puget Sound Orca Whales depend on migrating Central Valley salmon that will be harmed by less water flowing through the Delta. The tunnels plan also appears to ignore Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits federal agency actions that are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or that “result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat of [listed] species.” The problem is that the Brown administration refuses to consider any other options to the tunnels to solve our ecosystem and water supply problems, such as the Environmental Water Caucus' responsible exports plan that sets an annual cap on Delta water exports of 3 million acre-feet. RTD said our tax and ratepayer dollars would be much better spent on: • More aggressive water efficiency program statewide that would apply to both urban and agricultural users. • Funding water recycling and groundwater recharging projects statewide that would be billions of dollars less expensive for rate payers than constructing a new version of the Peripheral Canal or major new surface storage dams. Meanwhile, these projects move communities towards water sustainability. • Retiring thousands of acres of impaired and pollution generating farmlands in the southern San Joaquin Valley and using those lands for more sustainable and profitable uses, such as solar energy generation. • Improving Delta levees in order to address potential earthquake, flooding, and future sea level rise concerns at a cost between $2 to $4 billion and is orders of-magnitude less expensive than major conveyance projects that are currently being contemplated. • Increasing freshwater flows through the Delta to reduce pollutants so ecosystems and wildlife can be restored. • Installing modern, state-of-the-art fish screens at the south Delta pumps to reduce the "salvage" of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Sacrament splittail, Delta and longfin smelt, striped bass, threadfin shad, American shad and a host of other fish species. The Delta smelt, an indicator species that demonstrates the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, reached a new record low population level in 2014, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's fall midwater trawl survey released this January. Department staff found a total of only eight smelt at a total of 100 sites sampled each month from September through December. Since then, the Delta surveys have revealed the continuing march of Delta fish species to the edge of extinction. (https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentId=92840) The surveys were initiated in 1967, the same year the State Water Project began exporting water from the Delta. The surveys show that population indices of Delta smelt, striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, American shad and Sacramento splittail have declined 97.80%, 99.70%, 99.98%, 97.80%, 91.90%, and 98.50%, respectively, between 1967 and 2014, according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). Fortunately, people throughout California strongly oppose Jerry Brown's salmon-killing tunnels. Outside the plush Los Angeles headquarters of agribusiness tycoon Stewart Resnick on August 19, 25 protesters chanted, "Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Corporate Greed has got to go" and “Mayor Garcetti, have some will. Don’t let Resnick raise our bills.” The protesters, including Los Angeles ratepayers, community leaders and representatives of water watchdog groups, demanded that Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti protect LA water ratepayers from funding the massive Delta tunnels project promoted by Governor Jerry Brown to export more water to corporate agribusiness interests and oil companies on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
at 2:40 PM