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Restore the Delta, opponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s peripheral tunnels, today asked the Brown administration for a 120-day extension of the public comment period for the massive Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).

"The Brown Administration is providing citizens insufficient time to respond to its nearly 40,000-page project proposal," said Restore the Delta Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. "It is impossible to fully review the massive EIR/EIS documents in just 85 working days. That would require reviewing and analyzing more than 473 pages per workday, every week."

"This is not achievable for public interest organizations. With the tax burden and water resources at stake, it is imperative to take the time to get this project right. We call for an additional 120 days for public review and comment," she said.

“Federal regulations intend that proposals for complex projects be less than 300 pages. The Brown Administration is drowning the public in propaganda, supported by an army of flacks and state employees. We cannot be expected to provide expert comment in 85 working days to a document of this mammoth size," she concluded.

On December 19, the Environmental Water Caucus also sent a letter to federal and state authorities asking for an 120 day extension in the public review and comment period for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan Draft Plan and EIR and EIS, noting that the 40,214 actual pages of the document represent 20% more pages than the 32 volumes of the last printed edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

"You may recall that in a November 21 letter to you, prior to the December 13 release of the BDCP Draft Plan and EIR/EIS, we requested that the public review and comment period be extended beyond the planned 120 days, based on the anticipated 25,000 page estimate of the BDCP documents," wrote Nick Di Croce, Co-Facilitator of the Environmental Water Caucus.

"We have now determined that there are 40,214 actual pages of the released documents and we request that you extend the public review and comment period for at least 120 additional days, due to the extraordinary size of the documents to be reviewed," he stated.

Di Croce, representing the EWC and its 33 grassroots members, requested that the public review and comment period be extended until August 15, 2014, based on the size of the actual documents they released on December 13.

"Without such additional time, the public’s essential role in the NEPA process of commenting on the agencies’ findings contained in the BDCP’s environmental review documents will be severely constrained," he concluded.  

Caleen Sisk, Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, strongly supports the extension of the public comment period also. She emphasized that California Tribes had their first "informational" meeting the day after the 40,000 page study was released by the Governor.

"This disrespectful action toward California Tribes left the Tribes only 118 days of the 120 days to make their comments," said Sisk. "All Tribes should be in agreement with extending the time to respond! Since no tribes were consulted with about the Cultural Resource study, the study does not address the digging up of old village sites and burial grounds, especially of the Miwok."  

The controversial Bay Delta Conservation Plan proposes to construct three new intakes in the north Delta along the Sacramento River about 35 miles north of the existing South Delta pumping plants. Two 35-mile long twin tunnels would carry the water underground to the existing pumping plants that feed canals sttetching hundreds of miles to the south and west.

The release of the plan's documents takes place at a time when the enormous cost of the BDCP is coming under increasing scrutiny by water agencies, water ratepayers and the taxpayers who will pay for the tunnels. A total of $240 million has already been spent on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan - and it will take another $1.2 billion to complete the planning for the government boondoggle. (http://www.sacbee.com/...)

Scientists and tunnel opponents fear that the construction of the twin tunnels will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as threaten the salmon and steehead populations of the Trinity and Klamath rivers.  

Restore the Delta is a 15,000-member grassroots organization committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. For more information, go to: www.restorethedelta.org

For more information about the EWC and its Responsible Exports Plan, an alternative to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, go to: http://www.ewccalifornia.org

 

Originally posted to Dan Bacher on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 03:33 PM PST.

Also republished by California politics and DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  IF Brown has not become the disaster capitalist (5+ / 0-)

    he appears to be on the Delta issue he will see that the extension is approved.

    He needs to act on the science...

    Scientists and tunnel opponents fear that the construction of the twin tunnels will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as threaten the salmon and steehead populations of the Trinity and Klamath rivers.  

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 03:50:55 PM PST

  •  So, could you explain what the twin peripheral (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Norm in Chicago

    Tunnels are for? (In a sentence or two.)

    Is this part of a high speed railway or is it related to levees, or something else?

    In any event, I see no reason why people cannot have more time to examine the documents, and to assert their right to offer input. Especially given that the cost of the project could be OVER 65 billions of dollars.

    •  they are for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      renzo capetti

      emptying the delta of its water for the benefit of SoCal consumers and Central California agribusiness.

      "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

      by esquimaux on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 06:17:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the official website for the project (0+ / 0-)

      http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/...

      It isn't a simple project (it's about WATER in the West).  The political and ecological history goes back many years.  

      The San Joaquin River Delta is perhaps the single most important source of water in the state (25 million Californians draw water from the Delta); the delta itself is near ecological collapse under the stressors of roughly 150 years of abuse by the populace, such that water deliveries are restricted under court order.

      A project proponent would describe it as a re-design of the water diversion system to reduce ecological impact while allowing historical levels of withdrawal to continue.

      I do not have a detailed opinion on the project, the public documents run well over 40,000 pages.  I am confident that neither side of the political battle (both sides of which are primarily Democrats) is most interested in providing unbiased information to those who have not yet formed opinions.

      Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

      by benamery21 on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 06:58:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Congressman Garmendi, Democratic House member (0+ / 0-)

        for the East Bay, San  Francisco area, released a statement a day ago:

        Garamendi: California needs a comprehensive water plan – not a $25 billion boondoggle
        Tuesday, 24 December 2013 16:19 Congressman John Garamendi

        California’s aging water infrastructure is insufficient for our present and future needs.

        Unfortunately, the current Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and its two massive tunnels is a destructive $25 billion boondoggle that won't solve the problem.

        California can solve its water needs and end the water wars that pit north vs. south and water exporters vs. environmentalists – but not with the BDCP.

        California needs a comprehensive water plan that generates new water and is focused on six
        priorities:

        1) New water storage infrastructure,

        2) Water conservation,

        3) Water recycling,

        4) Fixing the Delta with levee improvements, habitat restoration, and a right sized conveyance,

        5) A science-driven process,

        6) The protection of existing water rights.

        If the BDCP moves forward, two tunnels will be constructed near Sacramento with the capacity to move 15,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).

        To accommodate this massive plumbing project, we would sacrifice prime agricultural land, destroy legacy Delta communities, and potentially suck our Delta dry.

        At a minimum cost of $24.5 billion, it’s extraordinarily expensive for California taxpayers and water ratepayers.

        Delta farmers, fishermen and recreation businesses would see their livelihoods destroyed to benefit powerful corporate agribusinesses operating on desert lands in part of the San Joaquin Valley.

        We need to develop surface and underground water storage systems. Sites Reservoir north of Sacramento could be built and Los Vaqueros reservoir could be expanded at an estimated cost of $4.8 billion creating the capacity to store 1.9 million acre feet of water and providing up to 700,000 acre feet of water to use each year.

        The San Louis dam could be repaired and expanded as could Shasta Dam. New reservoirs could be built at Los Banos Grandes and other off stream sites throughout the Central Valley. The underground aquifers of the Central Valley offer enormous storage when used in a
        conjunctive management system.

        The quickest and cheapest new water source is conservation. The California Department of
        Water Resources estimates that robust conservation efforts in urban water use could save 1 million acre feet of water each year by investing $530 million.

        In addition to urban conservation, we must also look to agricultural water users to conserve water. California’s $40 billion agricultural economy needs a sustainable water
        supply and the technology already exists to conserve 3 million acre feet of water each year at a cost of $1.2 billion over 10 years.

        Each year, 3.5 million acre feet of treated water is dumped into the Pacific Ocean by cities in the Los Angeles Basin. How foolish to pump water 500 miles, clean it, use it
        once, clean it to a higher standard than the day it arrives, and dump it in the ocean. One million acre feet could be recycled and stored in the underground aquifers in Southern California at a cost of $1.3 billion. Similar projects must be done in Northern California.

        Desalination of ocean water can also add to our supplies.

        With adequate investment and implementation, urban and agriculture conservation, recycling programs and new storage could create approximately 5.7 million acre feet of new water to use each year at a projected cost of $7.8 billion.

        Any plan that doesn’t include levee improvements in the Delta is a plan awaiting disaster.

        The BDCP will spend $25 billion, but not one dime to secure the Delta levee system that is necessary for delivering half of the anticipated water supply. How foolish and short
        sighted. The key Delta levees could be secured at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

        The BDCP skips all of these important sources of increased water supply. It's a $25 billion boondoggle that won’t create a single drop of new water for California.

        The BDCP plan for habitat restoration is well intentioned, but too extensive and expensive.

        The plan calls for as much as 145,000 acres of valuable Delta farm land to be converted to wildlife habitat. Every scientific study done thus far doubts the potential of this $10 billion proposal to restore and maintain the endangered fish in the Delta, yet the BDCP
        moves forward as if money is no problem.

        After investing in conservation, recycling, storage and Delta levees and carefully
        monitoring their progress, it might be necessary to construct a much smaller Delta water

        delivery facility.

        A 3,000 cubic feet per second facility could operate year round delivering 2 million acre

        feet water to the pumps in Tracy and on to the south.

        Instead of destroying heritage communities and Delta farm land, this facility could use the

        existing 25 mile long Sacramento Deep Water Shipping Channel for water deliveries to a

        short 12 mile pipe connected to existing channels leading to the Tracy pumps. This could

        save billions of dollars while preserving the economy and communities of the Delta.

        Providing a foundation for these projects is the protection of existing water rights. If we

        are going to build any project, these rights must be honored.

        Stop the $25 billion BDCP boondoggle and use that money on water conservation, recycling, storage, fixing the Delta, a balanced habitat program, and a small Delta facility.

        California could create up to 5.7 million acre feet of new water at half the cost of the $25 billion tunnel plan, solve its water crisis, and avoid a fruitless time consuming water
        war. Only by embracing a comprehensive plan can we avoid this gridlock.

  •  Delta Tunnels: Welfare for corporations writ large (0+ / 0-)

    Industrial agriculture and large scale real estate development rely on cheap water. The Delta tunnels are designed to keep the water flowing in Southern California without regard to any other need for that same water in the North--and with very little regard for the needs of individuals in the South.

    Customers of water systems in the South will be asked to pay substantially increased fees even though very litle of the water will go to residential water users.

    The tunnels are yet another example of public projects that largely benefit private interests. In other words, corporate welfare.

  •  Save CA, Turn Brown/Around! (0+ / 0-)

    it tebble, it hobble; honey lu been shot. - harvey kurtzman

    by renzo capetti on Wed Jan 08, 2014 at 06:27:58 PM PST

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