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Report #12 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Sat Aug 30, 2014 at 17:29:55 PM PDT

Thursday's update included completed random samples from three more counties: Alameda (validity rate 67.6%), Calaveras (73.2%), and Tehama (66.9%). The overall validity rate is up slightly, from 66.9% to 67.0%, for a projected total valid signature count of 762,328 (up from 761,190 in my previous report), still not enough to qualify for a full count. That requires 767,235 projected valid signatures.

Eighteen counties still have to complete their random sampling. The top ten (by the number of raw signatures they reported) are now Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Riverside (74,478), Orange (52,217), Fresno (38,382), Kern (26,422), San Luis Obispo (12,906), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), Tuolumne (4,732), and Nevada (4,322).

Jim Riley posted an interesting comment to Report #11. One of his points is (I think) that the estimate of duplicates has a wide variance, and this can cause an initiative to fail to qualify based on the sampling when a full count would show that it had sufficient signatures. It might be interesting to look at the qualification rules used by other states that have the initiative.

--Steve Chessin
President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)
www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

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Report #11 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 00:07:11 AM PDT

Good news! Tuesday's random sample update includes raw signature counts from Amador and Trinity counties! Amador reports 1,750 raw signatures, and Trinity reports 779 raw signatures. That would have brought the total raw signature count to 1,137,875, except that Kern County, which finished its sampling, reduced its raw count from 26,444 to 26,422, and Humboldt County, which hasn't finished its sampling, reduced its raw count from 7,280 to 7,230. That brings the total raw signature count to 1,137,803. (I was going to say "final total raw signature count", except as we have seen a county might change its report of raw signatures when it completes its sampling.)

In addition to Kern (validity rate of 74.9%), three other counties have also completed their random sampling. They are San Bernardino (61.4%), San Mateo (68.0%), and Siskiyou (71.2%). That brings the overall validity rate to 66.9%, down from the 67.5% in my previous report, and gives an overall estimate of 761,190 raw signatures, well below the 767,235 needed to qualify for a full count.

There are still 21 counties that need to finish their sampling (including Amador and Trinity). With San Bernardino having reported (it had been ranked second), the top ten are now Los Angeles (311,924 raw signatures), Riverside (74,478), Orange (52,217), Alameda (51,366), Fresno (38,382), Kern (26,422), San Luis Obispo (12,906), El Dorado (11,649), Humboldt (7,230), and Tehama (4,855).

--Steve Chessin
President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)
www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

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Reports #8, #9, and #10 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 22:04:12 PM PDT

I apologize for getting behind; between my day job, family, and unrelated political activity I haven't been able to post any reports since my previous report until today. So this is three reports in one.

The random sample update for Monday, August 18th, was released after hours; it had a time-stamp of 5:32pm. It reported completed random samplings from the following counties: Lake (65.8% valid), Marin (76.9%), Monterey (71.9%), Santa Clara (65.6%), Stanislaus (71.9%), Tulare (72.0%), and Ventura (82.2%). In addition, the date when Inyo County reported their raw count of 616 signatures was changed from 11 August to 6 August. That correction is balanced by the obvious typo that Ventura's sampling was completed 18 July instead of 18 August. The above average validity rates of Marin, Monterey, and especially Stanislaus, Tulare, and Ventura counties brought the overall validity rate up from 66.9% to 69.2%. If the validity rate stays that high (but keep reading), Six Californias will qualify for a full count.

Another random sample update was released on Tuesday, August 19th. This had reports from four more counties: the small ones of Colusa (they did a full count, with a validity rate of 79.4%) and Del Norte (random sample, 59.2% valid), and the large ones of Sacramento (60.5%) and San Diego (69.5%). The overall validity rate dropped slightly to 68.3%, still high enough to qualify for a full count.

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Tribal members rally in Sacramento to stop Klamath River fish kill

by: Dan Bacher

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:23:40 AM PDT

Over 200 Tribal members and their allies from the Trinity and Klamath river watersheds held a four-hour protest at the Bureau of Reclamation offices in Sacramento on Tuesday, August 19 to urge them to release more water from upriver dams to stop a massive fish kill.

Members of the Yurok, Klamath and Karuk tribes, as well as leaders of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, displayed an array of signs and banners with slogans including "Fish Need Water," "Let The River Flow," "Give Us Our Water, " "Save The Salmon," "Tribal Rights Are Non Negotiable," "Release The Dam Water," "Undam the Klamath - Free the Trinity," "Fish Can't Swim In Money," and "Westlands Sucks The Trinity Dry."

They demanded increased water releases, known as preventative flows, from Lewiston Dam into the Trinity River, the largest tributaryof the Klamath River, to prevent a fish kill from taking place in the currently warm and low water conditions. They also asked federal officials to release more water from Iron Gate Dam on the Klamath.

Participants ranging from young children to elders protested Reclamation's recent decision to withhold these emergency releases until large numbers - approximately 50 adult dead salmon per mile of river - are documented.

They urged the Bureau to increase water releases from the dams so that a fish kill on the lower Klamath, like the one of September 2002 when over 68,000 fish perished, doesn't occur again.

"We need 25 to keep the fish alive," they chanted, referring to their demand that the federal agency release 2500 cfs to the river. After holding signs and banners and chanting slogans in front of the federal building complex, they marched to the back to try to meet with Bureau officials.

The federal officials allowed six people to meet with David Murillo, Mid-Pacific Regional Director of the Bureau of Reclamation, about releasing the flows. Murillo didn't commit to increased flows, but said he would make a decision the following day, August 20 after a meeting of state, federal and Tribal scientists about the flows in Eureka Tuesday.

Lois Moore, Bureau spokesman, said that no decision had been made at press time.

"The biologists from the different federal and state agencies and tribes had a discussion today to produce information for Murrillo to make a decision. Everybody understands how important this water flow is, not only to the fish and the environment but to the tribes," Moore stated Tuesday.

After the Tuesday meeting at the BOR offices, Danielle Vigil-Masten, Chair of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, said she was "very disappointed."

"It still feels like they gave us the run around," said Vigil-Masten. "Scientists have said that the fish need water. Hundreds of people came here today to get an answer. David Murrillo said he would have an answer tomorrow. Prevention of a fish kill is the answer and it seems like nobody cares."

Frankie Joe Myers of the Yurok Tribe Watershed Restoration Program said he was "cautiously optimistic" after the meeting.

"He listened to us as for as long as we wanted to talk, although we were originally scheduled for just 30 minutes. We told him we wouldn't leave the office until we got a response. He said we could stay in the office as long as we wanted and we wouldn't get arrested," said Myers.

Chook Chook Hillman, Karuk tribal member, said, "He heard us. We asked him if irrigators are willing to die for water like the rest of us are. He listened, but there were no guarantees. We didn't want to leave without getting an answer."

"The tribes asked for bare bones to prevent a fish kill," he said, "just flows of 2500 cfs."

"I told Murillo that if there is a fish kill, he is responsible for genocide," said Annelia Hillman, a member of the Klamath Justice Coalition and Yurok Tribe.

Emergency flow releases from Lewiston Dam would take four days to reach the struggling Klamath River salmon, according to a statement from the Klamath Justice Coalition. Fisheries biologists commonly agree that by the time the emergency flows are triggered and the water has traveled from the dam, it would be too late to prevent a large-scale fish die-off. Tribal members say Reclamation is ignoring the beginning stages of a disaster.

"Fish are pooled up at cold water tributaries because the water in the river is so warm and polluted," said Hoopa Valley Tribal member, Kayla Brown. "These fish are diseased and dying. Once the disease starts to spread, it can't be stopped and we will have a fish kill on our hands, courtesy of the Bureau of Reclamation."

The protesters said five times more water is diverted to the Sacramento Basin for Central Valley irrigators than is released into the Trinity River.

Rally organizers and participants also said they support Klamath River fisheries biologists' assertion that a minimum of 2,500 cubic feet per second be maintained near the mouth of the Klamath River. This can be achieved if the Bureau of Reclamation approves preventative releases from Lewiston Reservoir on the Trinity.

Nat Pennington, Fisheries Biologist for the Salmon River Restoration Council, emphasized, "Klamath River flows are lower than they were during the 2002 fish kill. River temperatures are consistently higher than the acute stress level for Chinook salmon at seventy-two degrees Fahrenheit. If this trend continues, a large-scale fish kill is likely and the Klamath could loose the entire run."

Karuk tribal member Molli White said, "Reclamation says they need the water for Sacramento River salmon, but our rivers are actually being exported to meet the demands of corporate agriculture like the Westland's Water district."

White noted that California's almond growers are projecting an eight percent increase in the 2014 harvest while the rest of California experiences a devastating drought year.

Recent USDA data reveals that California almond growers, one of the major recipients of exported Trinity River and Delta water, will harvest a record 2.1 billion pounds this year. The National Agricultural Statistics Service's estimate is up 5 percent from last year's crop and 8 percent from the initial 2014 forecast on May 1. If this figure hold ups as the harvest proceeds, it would exceed the record of 2.03 billion pounds in 2011. (http://www.modbee.com/2014/06/30/3417479/usda-forecasts-record-almond-crop.html#storylink=cpy)

"The argument that the Bureau makes that they need flows for endangered salmon in the Sacramento is totally bogus," said Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA), who attended the protest in solidarity with the Tribes. "The water from the Trinity is shipped south not for endangered salmon, but for 'endangered' almonds."

When the dams and diversion tunnels were built on the Trinity, laws were set up to protect the river and fish before exporting water to the Central Valley, according to the Klamath Justice Coalition. These laws established that fish and the tribes that depend on them are the top priority for the Trinity River flows.

Klamath Justice Coalition members have made it clear that Tribal people and traditional fishermen will not give up until Reclamation releases water.

"We're fighting so my son, Sregon, doesn't have to worry about water being in the river," Frankie Joe Myers explained. "The Klamath fish kill of 2002 was devastating for our tribal communities and to the West Coast Fisheries. Previously, Tribes, fisheries scientists, and the Department of the Interior have worked together to avert fish kills by releasing preventative flows during drought years. We need these releases now more then ever."

Caleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, concluded, "It is all about showing up, standing up, and speaking up for SALMON! Salmon is water and water is salmon....we are nothing without both!"

Follow the Klamath Justice Coalition on twitter at #releasethewater #savethesalmon #stopafishkill #neveragain

For information about current river conditions and fisheries health visit:
http://www.kbmp.net/collaborat...

For more information visit http://klamathjustice.blogspot...

Video b-roll and photos are available at:
http://www.dropbox.com/sh/inlr...
VIDEO b-roll
http://www.dropbox.com/sh/jsdh...  

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Report #7 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 21:01:17 PM PDT

There was no report from the SoS Monday. In Tuesday's report (available at this website), Inyo County reported a raw count of 616 signatures. (That leaves just Amador and Trinity counties to report their raw numbers. Maybe we should have a pool on who will be last? :-)) Also, during Plumas County's full count (they didn't bother with a random sampling), they discovered that their raw count was only 1,618, not the 1,626 they originally reported. That brings the total raw count to 1,135,354 from 1,134,746. Plumas's validity rate was 76.9%. In addition to Plumas, the following counties have finished their random sampling (with validity rate as indicated): Butte (66.6%), Madera (63.5%), and Mendocino (72.3%). The overall validity rate now stands at 66.9%, up slightly from the 66.8% reported last time.

Twenty of California's 58 counties have completed their random sampling. At the current validity rate, Six Californias will need 7,797 more raw signatures to qualify for a full count. (I think they'll be lucky to get another 2,000.) The alternative is for their validity rate to increase to at least 67.6%. The largest county (in terms of raw signatures) to report in so far is San Joaquin, with 27,831 raw signatures and a validity rate of 72.7%. There are nine counties with more raw signatures than San Joaquin: Los Angeles (311,924), San Diego (97,450), San Bernardino (88,067), Riverside (74,478), Orange (52,217), Alameda (51,366), Sacramento (43,578), Fresno (38,382), and Santa Clara (38,366). If their validity rates are higher than the current 66.9% overall number, they could pull it up enough so that Six Signatures will get a full count. Whether a full count would pull it up to the 71.1% needed to qualify for the ballot remains to be seen. (I doubt they can pull it up to the 78.2% necessary to qualify for the ballot without a full count.)

The counties have another month to complete their random sampling. And at the rate the reports are trickling in, it will probably take that long.

--Steve Chessin
President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)
www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

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Report #6 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 22:07:04 PM PDT

Alameda County finally reported their raw signature count! According to Friday's update from the SoS, they had 51,366 raw signatures (a collection rate of 6.4%, the same as the state average), bringing the total raw signature count up to 1,134,746. We're still waiting for Amador, Inyo, and Trinity to report in, but with only 37,771 registered voters among them, I doubt they'll contribute more than 2500 signatures to the raw count.

Also in today's update are San Francisco's random sample results. They had a validity rate of 73.7%, bringing the overall validity rate back up to 66.8%. That gives a projection (as of today) of 758,010 valid signatures, not enough to qualify for a full count. (Throwing in my estimate of 2500 raw signatures from the remaining three counties only adds another 1670 signatures, still not enough to get a full count.)

In my previous report I discussed the concept of margin of error, so today I calculated it. If a county has a raw count of R, a sample size of S, and a projected validity rate of P (converting the percentage figure to a decimal fraction), then I calculated the margin of error in signatures as R*sqrt(P*(1-P)/S). (Of course, if S is the same as R, as it is for Alpine, Modoc, and Mono counties, the margin of error is zero.) For example, Kings County had 3,187 raw signatures, a sample size of 500, and a projected validity rate of 0.762. That means the margin of error on the projected 2,428 signatures is 61 signatures (about 2.5%).

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Report #5 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 22:49:31 PM PDT

Well, it's another slow news day in the Six Californias signature verification world. There was no update from the SoS Wednesday. The only news in Thursday's update was that the County of Santa Barbara finished their random sample, with a validity rate of 54.1%. This brings the overall validity rate down from 66.7% to 65.4%. Still no word from Alameda, Amador, Inyo, or Trinity counties as to their raw counts.

In my previous report I opined how the projected numbers made it seem unlikely that Six Californias would qualify for the ballot. It occurred to me that a random sample is subject to, well, randomness, and even if the projected number is below the number needed to qualify, a full count could reverse that. That indeed is what happened with the "State Fees on Hospitals" initiative that has qualified for the November 2016 ballot, so I thought a review of that initiative's process might be educational.

Initiative 1613 (as it is known to the SoS) was filed late last April. By May 6th enough counties had submitted their raw counts to the SoS that she was able to declare on May 7th that more than 807,615 signatures had been filed and so the counties should begin their random sampling and report back no later than June 19th.

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Report #4 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 23:30:57 PM PDT

It's a slow news day on the Six Californias signature verification front. (You can find my previous updates here, here, and here.) According to Tuesday's report from the SoS, a total of eight signatures were collected in Alpine County, of which five were valid (no duplicates), for a validity rate of 62.5%. Also, Yolo County apparently found an additional 27 raw signatures during its sampling process, bringing the total raw count to 1,083,380.

We're still waiting for the raw counts from Alameda, Amador, Inyo, and Trinity, but it may be they won't report until they finish their random sample. (This surprises me, because EC 9030(b) says they're supposed to report their raw totals to the SoS within eight days after receiving the petitions. But I guess there's no penalty for being late.)

In addition to the aforementioned Alpine County, we now have sampling reports from Kings (76.2% valid), Napa (66.0%), Shasta (69.0%), and Yolo (57.2%) counties. The overall validity rate is 66.7%, up very slightly from yesterday's 66.4%.

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Report #3 on the Six Californias Signature Verification Process

by: steve.chessin

Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 19:40:26 PM PDT

The SoS has released the latest random sample report for Tim Draper's initiative to divide the state into six Californias.

Calaveras, Humboldt, Kings, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, and Ventura counties have turned in their raw counts, bringing Tim Draper's total to 1,083,353 raw signatures (it was 1,038,836 in my first report). That lowers the validity rate he needs to qualify to 74.5% (was 77.7%) and to avoid a full count to 82.0% (was 88.5%). Below 70.8% (was 73.9%) and he doesn't even get a full count. We're still waiting for Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Inyo, and Trinity Counties to report their raw numbers. If they bring the raw total up to the 1.3 million claimed, then he needs 62.1% to qualify, 68.3% to avoid a full count.

Also, the following counties have completed their random samples (with validity rates as noted): Merced (66.7%), Modoc (65.4%), Mono (81.0%), Placer (72.5%), and San Joaquin (72.7%). The uncorrected validity rate is 71.8%, up from 70.7% in the first report. When one corrects for duplicates, the validity rate is 66.4%, up from 58.1%.

Speaking of correcting for duplicates, I think I've convinced myself that I now understand where the "-1" comes from in the correction factor for duplicate signatures. It's best explained with an example.

Suppose I have 100 signatures, and I pick 25 of them (one fourth of 100) at random to check. Of the 25 signatures, I find that one person (Mary) isn't registered to vote, and one person who is registered (John) has signed twice. That means I have 23 valid signatures and 2 invalid ones (Mary's and one of John's). The uncorrected validity rate, before the extra accounting for duplicates, is 92% (23/25).

Remember that these signatures were picked at random, so if I found two signatures from John in the 25 I picked, it's likely that there are three others from John in the other 75. (Well, maybe not likely, but that's the best estimate.) So John really accounts for 4 duplicate signatures, not just one. But we already accounted for one of those duplicates by calling it invalid in our sample, so we just have to account for the 3 extra duplicates in the unsampled portion.

Also, if John signed more than once in this sample of 25, we can suppose that there are probably three other people in the other 75 who also signed more than once, and the best estimate is that they each also signed five times (one of which is a valid signature in our sample). So a factor of 4 (100/25) for the four people (John plus an estimate of three others) who signed more than once, times 3 (4 - 1) for the fact that one of each duplicate is already accounted for by the uncorrected calculation, means John's duplicate signature should be given a weight of 12. 12/100 is 12%, so the corrected validity rate is 80%.

Of course, if we found two people in the sample of 25 who signed twice, or if we found three signatures from John in that sample (one that we consider valid and two that we consider invalid), we'd have twice the correction factor (24%), etc.

Now before you start thinking "Gee, if I'm against a petition, I should sign it as many times as I can instead of not signing it at all so as to drive up the duplicate rate, since duplicate signatures hurt more than plain invalid ones", I have to point out that this is illegal. Election Code section 18612 says "Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who knowingly signs his or her own name more than once to any initiative, referendum, or recall petition ...." Deliberately signing a false name, while hurting the petition less than signing twice, carries a harsher penalty. Election code section 18613 says "Every person who subscribes to any initiative, referendum, or recall petition a fictitious name [...] is guilty of a felony and is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for two, three, or four years." So don't do it.

--Steve Chessin
President, Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER)
www.cfer.org

The opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of CfER.

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Update to Six Californias Signature Verification Progress Report

by: steve.chessin

Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 21:07:32 PM PDT

While the SoS hasn't posted a new report since Wednesday (there was a tantalizing broken link yesterday that implied there was an update, but that was a false alarm), I did find out why there was a discrepancy between my numbers and hers. It has to do with how one accounts for duplicates. And it isn't simple.

The regulations that describe how to verify signatures (a pdf version is available here) specify how this is done, and the SoS's office sent me a nice one-page summary of the formula. They couldn't provide me with the mathematical background for the formula, however, so I did a web search on the phrase "sampling petitions for duplicate signatures" (I prefer Yahoo! but you can use whatever search engine you like) and that led me to this paper. It's pretty heavy sledding unless you have a good background in statistics (which I do not), but the takeaway is that duplicates affect the validity rate in approximate inverse proportion to the square of the sample size. That is, if you sample 10% of the signatures, while each invalid signature in the sample represents 10 in the total, each duplicate in the sample represents 90 in the total. (This is using the SoS's formula, which may or may not be identical to the one in the paper.)

The exact formula goes like this:
Let V = (raw count) * (valid signatures in sample) / (sample size).
This is the uncorrected projected valid signatures. Note that
(valid signatures in sample) / (sample size) is the uncorrected validity rate; this is what I reported in my previous post.
Let A = (raw count) / (sample size). They call this the "value of each (sampled) signature"; it's the inverse of the sample fraction. You'll note that V is A * (valid signatures in sample).
Let B = A * (A - 1). This is the "extra value" of each duplicate. (I'm not sure where the "-1" comes from, but I'll take their word for it.)
Let C = B * (number of duplicate signatures). This is the correction factor due to the duplicate signatures.
Then V - C is the corrected projected valid signatures,
and (V - C) / (raw count) is the corrected validity rate.

In any event, when I use the SoS's formula, I do indeed get the same results. For the four counties reported so far, we have corrected validity rates of 76.4% (Sierra),  54.8% (Solano), 57.8% (Sonoma), and 75.8% (Sutter). The overall validity rate so far (calculated by adding the corrected projected valid signatures from each of those four counties and dividing that sum by the sum of the raw counts of the four counties) is 58.1%.

We'll have to wait for more counties to report their results to see if Six Californias is likely to make it to the ballot. I can't guarantee I'll report on every update the SoS releases, but I'll try.

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Six Californias Signature Verification Progress Report

by: steve.chessin

Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 18:32:58 PM PDT

The Secretary of State has begun posting the random sample updates for Tim Draper's initiative to divide the state into six Californias. You can find the most current update at http://www.sos.ca.gov/election... but I'll summarize today's for you.

According to the report, Draper turned in 1,038,836 raw signatures. He needs at least 807,615 of them to be valid for his measure to get on the ballot. That's 77.7% of his raw count. Keep that number in mind; we'll need it later.

First the SoS does (or rather, the counties do) a random sampling. Each county verifies 3% of the raw signatures at random (or 500, if greater, or all of them, if fewer) and projects from that a validity rate. If they project that he has at least 888,377 valid signatures (110% of the requirement, and 88.5% of the raw count), then the measure qualifies. If they project that he has fewer than 767,235 valid signatures (95% of the requirement; 73.9% of the raw count), then it doesn't qualify. If they project a number somewhere in between those two limits, they have to check every signature.

As of 1:24pm today, results are in from Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, and Sutter counties. In Sierra County, they checked all 208 signatures and found 159 (76.4%) to be valid. In each of the other counties they had to check 500 signatures. The validity rates were 67.4 (Solano), 64.6% (Sonoma), and 77.8% (Sutter)(*). Overall, out of 1,708 signatures checked, 1,208 were found to be valid, for an overall validity rate of 70.7%.

Now 1,708 is less than two-tenths of a percent of the signatures Draper collected, and it could be that he'll have a higher validity rate in the rest of the state. But if Sutter turns out to be his best county, Six Californias won't be on the ballot.

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Restore the Delta urges Brown to back 'clean water bond'

by: Dan Bacher

Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 12:01:52 PM PDT

Restore the Delta (RTD) called on Governor Brown to back a "clean water bond" for the November 2014 ballot that does not include any taxpayer funding for mitigating the damage from the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels.

The group's statement was issued after Brown told legislators in private meetings on Tuesday, June 24 that he opposes the existing $11.1 billion water bond and supports a $6 billion water bond instead, including about $2 billion for storage.

Brown also reportedly told legislators that Republicans "must accept less than their stated priority of $3 billion" for water storage projects, according to Capitol Public Radio. (http://www.capradio.org/articles/2014/06/24/brown-opposes-existing-water-bond,-wants-$6-billion-replacement/)

The Governor's Office has declined to comment on the specifics of his proposal, including whether any funding in the bond will help pay for mitigation for damage caused by the construction of two massive tunnels under the Delta proposed under Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). "The Governor is concerned about ongoing debt service and its impact on future budgets," according to Jim Evans of the Governor's Office.

However, a draft of Brown's blueprint obtained by the Sacramento and Fresno Bees also "suggests $1.5 billion for water supply and water reliability, encompassing areas like safe drinking water and groundwater cleanup; $1.5 billion for watershed protection; $500 million for flood control; and $500 million for the Delta." (http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/06/25/3996045/capitol-alert-governors-bond-plan.html)

"The document also states a general rule shared by Senate leaders: the bond must be 'Bay Delta Conservation Plan neutral,'" the Bee reported.

In response to the latest water bond developments, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said, "California desperately needs a new sustainable water policy and a bond measure that invests in conservation policies that have broad and deep support. We call on Gov. Brown to leave tunnels mitigation out of a water bond."

Barrigan-Parrilla cited records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act showing that the BDCP appears to plan to use bond funds to help fund purchases over the next 50 years of up to 1.3 million acre feet of water annually from upstream areas, such as the Sacramento Valley.

"These purchases are supposed to make up for over-pumping for the new water export Tunnels," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "This provision would become a referendum on the tunnels project and would likely doom the water bond to failure, leaving us with no progress on our need for drought resilient water projects."

"In bond provisions labeled as BDCP 'restoration' and 'habitat' funding, the public would pay to purchase so called 'enhanced environmental flow' water from previously identified districts in the Upper Sacramento River Basin - leading to the devastation of their groundwater supplies. That same water would be diverted into the new BDCP Tunnels before it flows into the heart of the Delta," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

"Mega-growers within Westlands and Kern County are depending on public subsidies to make the BDCP pencil out. The public purchase of 'environmental' water with bond funds has already been shown to be a waste. From 2000-2007, an 'environmental water account' was set up and spent nearly $200 million in public funds as the species crashed and the State Water Project over pumped the Delta, creating, huge profits for private landowners like billionaire Stewart Resnick. The voters will not agree to that kind of waste and profiteering again," Barrigan-Parrilla added.

In addition, BDCP water exporters are relying on the public, through a combination of state and federal funds and two successive state water bonds, to pay $7.824 billion (before interest in today's dollars) toward the cost of BDCP. The draft BDCP describes how state bond measures would provide $3.759 billion in funds to carry out the project, according to Barrigan-Parilla.

She said taxpayers, through other state and federal funding allocations, would also pay the remaining $4 billion needed for the estimated $25 billion dollar project. With the water exporters paying for the cost of the water export Tunnels through increased water rates to families, the public would pay additionally through taxes for the cost of creating more than 140,000 acres of experimental habitat, on Delta farmland, the largest strip of prime farmland in California.

"According to independent scientific reviews, BDCP habitat is unlikely to yield the benefits assumed by BDCP, in part because the Tunnels will starve the Delta of needed fresh water flows. The BDCP water export Tunnels will remove life-giving flows of high quality water through the Delta. The massive acquisition of farmland for habitat is a ruse to justify building the BDCP Tunnels, and the water exporters are planning to stick the taxpayers with that bill," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

Restore the Delta calls on Governor Brown support the following three principles in the 2014 water bond:

• Remove all funding for Delta habitat and water purchases tied to the BDCP. Funding actions needed by the still draft, unfinished BDCP will take away funding from other crucial water projects that will make California drought resilient. Taxpayers should not be expected to pay to restore habitat or purchase paper "environmental" water to make the Tunnels appear to be an environmental project.

• Support levee improvement funding in order to upgrade Delta levees to the minimum PL194-99 standards. The Governor needs to recognize that if there is a catastrophic event in the Delta, one hundred percent of the loss of life and 80% of the economic loss will fall on the Delta region. Levees protect statewide water supplies and provide local flood protection. Regional infrastructure worth billions of dollars (roads, railroads, electric transmission lines, gas lines) is also at risk.

"The State claims to be worried about an earthquake in the Delta, yet inexplicably is focused not on shoring up the Delta's earthquake defenses, but on building Peripheral Tunnels to "protect" the water exported. The State has forgotten that 4 million people live in the five Delta Counties and need to be protected from a catastrophic flood event," she said.

• Support conservation and local water supply and treatment projects throughout California to make the state more water resilient and less dependent on Delta exports.

"We are calling on Governor Brown to support principles that will actually lead to more secure water supplies for all Californians, rather than endorsing a water exporter driven bond that will deliver only for certain special-interest water districts to the detriment of the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas," she summed up.

"If the governor and Westlands mega-growers insist on including taxpayer subsidies for the tunnels mitigation in the water bond, it will become a vote of the people of California on the mammoth and destructive BDCP Tunnel project, estimated to cost a total of at least $54.1 billion after interest," said Restore the Delta's media consultant, Steve Hopcraft.

The current water bond on the November ballot was created as part of a water policy/water bond package passed by the Legislature in a special session called by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in November 2009. The water bond was rescheduled twice, first in 2010 and then again in 2012, due to strong opposition to provisions in the bond that facilitate the construction of the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Brown is a relentless advocate for the widely-criticized Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels - and looks at the tunnel plan, estimated to cost up to $67 billion, as a "legacy" project.

On Monday, June 23, Senator Lois Wolk's new water bond, SB 848, failed to gain required two-thirds vote "due to Republican opposition and demands that the measure include more funding to enable the construction of two tunnels underneath the Delta to divert water to farming interests in the Southern San Joaquin Valley," according to a statement from Wolk's Office.

The vote was on party lines, with the Senate Democrats supporting the measure and the Senate Republicans voting against it.

The 22 yes votes were Beall, Corbett, Correa, De León, DeSaulnier, Evans, Galgiani, Hernandez, Hueso, Jackson, Lara, Leno, Lieu, Liu, Mitchell, Monning, Padilla, Pavley, Roth, Steinberg, Torres, and Wolk, all Democrats.

The no votes were Anderson, Berryhill, Fuller, Huff, Knight, Morrell, Vidak, Walters, Wyland, all Republicans.

No votes were recorded by Block, Calderon, Cannella, Gaines, Hancock, Hill, Nielsen, Wright and Yee.

Three of those recorded not voting - Leland Yee of San Francisco, Ron Calderon of Montebello and Rod Wright of Inglewood - were suspended from the State Senate with pay this March. Senators Yee and Calderon were indicted in separate federal corruption cases, while Senator Wright will be sentenced on July 21 on criminal charges that he lied about where he lived when he ran for office in 2008. (http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/rod-wright/#storylink=cpy)

"Yesterday's vote was a missed opportunity," said Senator Wolk. "It was especially disappointing to see my Republican colleagues from Northern California tie their horses to the Delta Tunnels and support the current bond written in 2009 rather than the tunnel neutral approach in SB 848 that was before them. The 2009 bond promotes the tunnels and is doomed to be rejected by the voters."

"We are in a drought," she said. "The voters want real solutions, not the tunnels. There is no better time than now to act. SB 848 includes water solutions for every region of the state that reflect local needs and priorities. This bond doesn't hurt any region and, critically, it avoids investments in controversial projects like the Delta Tunnels that will result in opposition at the ballot. SB 848 is the only proposal that doesn't provoke a North-South water war and meets Republican core demand for surface storage."

For more information, go to: http://www.indybay.org/newsite...

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Fracking moratorium bill defeated by oil industry lobby

by: Dan Bacher

Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:40:33 PM PDT

The California State Senate failed to pass SB 1132, legislation authored by Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno that would have stopped hydraulic fracturing and other dangerous well stimulation methods while the state studied their risks.  

The vote failed with a tie of 16 to 16, with 8 votes not recorded. The 16 aye votes were Beall, Corbett, De León, DeSaulnier, Evans, Hancock, Jackson, Leno, Lieu, Liu, Mitchell, Monning, Padilla, Pavley, Steinberg and Wolk

The 16 no votes were Anderson, Berryhill, Cannella, Correa, Fuller, Gaines, Galgiani, Hernandez, Huff, Knight, Morrell, Nielsen, Torres, Vidak, Walters, Wyland. The 8 votes not recorded include absentions by Block, Lara, Hill, Hueso and Roth. Three Senators - Calderon, Wright and Yee - can't and didn't vote because they are suspended and were not present for the vote.  

The defeat of the legislation was undoubtedly due to the huge amounts of money dumped into lobbying the Legislature by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, and oil companies.

WSPA alone spent a total of $5,331,493 in 2009, $4,013,813 in 2010, $4,273,664 in 2011, $5,698,917 in 2012 and $4,670,010 in 2013 on lobbying at the State Capitol - and spent $1,456,785 in just the first 3 months of 2014. (http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/23365-californias-big-oil-dirty-dozen) You can bet that a good chunk of this money spent so far this year was spent on stopping Senate Bill 1132.  

The statewide coalition Californians Against Fracking issued the following statement:

"Despite polls showing a majority of Californians in favor of banning fracking, today the California Senate failed to pass SB 1132 to place a moratorium on fracking. The vote is disappointing but not completely unexpected given that the oil industry has spent a whopping $15 million on lobbying activities to defeat the bill and buy influence in Sacramento.

State lawmakers will continue to face growing concern about fracking pollution from voters in their communities. Californians Against Fracking calls on Governor Brown to protect California's water, agriculture, public health and climate by declaring a moratorium on fracking now. If Governor Brown is serious about fighting climate change and its severe impacts, including droughts and fires, then he must show real leadership and stop the fracking now."

The statement was issued on behalf of Californians Against Fracking, 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, CREDO Action, Environment California, Food & Water Watch and Oil Change International.  

As the Friday deadline for moving legislation from California's Senate to the Assembly approaches, Senator Holly J. Mitchell's bill to set a moratorium on fracking for oil in the state still needed three votes to pass when the Senate recessed Wednesday night, according to a statement from Senator Mitchell's Office.

Mitchell said the SB 1132 elicited "spirited floor debate" before the failure of several senators to vote on the bill left it without the 21 votes needed to advance to the Assembly. Although a motion for reconsideration allows Mitchell to bring the bill up for vote again, unless at least three senators cast favorable votes by Friday, the bill dies for the current legislative session.

"Last year our efforts to enact a moratorium got as far as an Assembly committee, and this year to the floor of the Senate, with more 'yes' than 'no' votes," noted Senator Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), who carried a similar bill, AB 1323, while serving in the Assembly. "We have the momentum, this issue's gone viral nationally, and it's just a matter of time before the dangers of fracking prompt people to put it on pause until its safety can be established."  

"When the impacts on the public of a for-profit endeavor are unknown, we try it out first in minority neighborhoods - assuming low vigilance and the need to bring in jobs makes safety irrelevant," said the Senator. "But we've put big industry on notice: That ploy won't fly forever. People's neighborhoods aren't fodder for fracking, environmental justice must come, and one day soon the vote to refrain from polluting for profit will prevail!"  

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, celebrated the defeat of SB 1132, by stating, "With SB 1132 behind us, let's now focus on SB 4 implementation." (https://www.wspa.org/blog/post/sb-1132-behind-us-let's-now-focus-sb-4-implementation)

"Today's defeat of Senate Bill 1132, legislation that would have imposed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation technologies, clears a path for a concerted and collaborative effort to fully implement new statewide regulations embodied in Senate Bill 4," she said.

"The SB 4 regulations put into place a robust set of monitoring, disclosure, testing, land use and research requirements that ensure hydraulic fracturing in California is conducted safely and without harm to the environment.  But there is still much to be done to finalize these new regulations and the petroleum industry is going to be a constructive partner in getting them accomplished," Reheis-Boyd claimed.

The oil industry is most powerful corporate lobby in California. A ground breaking report released on April 1, 2014 by the ACCE Institute and Common Cause reveals that Big Oil's combined spending on lobbying and political campaigns in Sacramento amounts to a stunning $266.9 million over the past 15 years. This massive spending enables the oil industry to effectively buy the votes of many State Assembly Members and Senators.  (http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/14/how-big-oil-bought-sacramento/)

But the oil industry exerts its influence not just through spending enormous sums on lobbying and contributions to political campaigns, but by serving on state and federal government panels.

In one of the biggest conflicts of interest in California environmental history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, served as the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California, as well as sitting on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.

It is no surprise that the alleged "Yosemites of the Sea" created under Reheis-Boyd's "leadership" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and tribal gathering.

It is also no surprise that the oil industry was fracking like crazy in Southern California ocean waters at the same time that Reheis-Boyd and MLPA Initiative advocates were greenwashing one of the most corrupt environmental processes in California history.    

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Fracking moratorium bill defeated by oil industry lobby

by: Dan Bacher

Fri May 30, 2014 at 12:40:33 PM PDT

The California State Senate failed to pass SB 1132, legislation authored by Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno that would have stopped hydraulic fracturing and other dangerous well stimulation methods while the state studied their risks.  

The vote failed with a tie of 16 to 16, with 8 votes not recorded. The 16 aye votes were Beall, Corbett, De León, DeSaulnier, Evans, Hancock, Jackson, Leno, Lieu, Liu, Mitchell, Monning, Padilla, Pavley, Steinberg and Wolk

The 16 no votes were Anderson, Berryhill, Cannella, Correa, Fuller, Gaines, Galgiani, Hernandez, Huff, Knight, Morrell, Nielsen, Torres, Vidak, Walters, Wyland. The 8 votes not recorded include absentions by Block, Lara, Hill, Hueso and Roth. Three Senators - Calderon, Wright and Yee - can't and didn't vote because they are suspended and were not present for the vote.  

The defeat of the legislation was undoubtedly due to the huge amounts of money dumped into lobbying the Legislature by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, and oil companies.

WSPA alone spent a total of $5,331,493 in 2009, $4,013,813 in 2010, $4,273,664 in 2011, $5,698,917 in 2012 and $4,670,010 in 2013 on lobbying at the State Capitol - and spent $1,456,785 in just the first 3 months of 2014. (http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/23365-californias-big-oil-dirty-dozen) You can bet that a good chunk of this money spent so far this year was spent on stopping Senate Bill 1132.  

The statewide coalition Californians Against Fracking issued the following statement:

"Despite polls showing a majority of Californians in favor of banning fracking, today the California Senate failed to pass SB 1132 to place a moratorium on fracking. The vote is disappointing but not completely unexpected given that the oil industry has spent a whopping $15 million on lobbying activities to defeat the bill and buy influence in Sacramento.

State lawmakers will continue to face growing concern about fracking pollution from voters in their communities. Californians Against Fracking calls on Governor Brown to protect California's water, agriculture, public health and climate by declaring a moratorium on fracking now. If Governor Brown is serious about fighting climate change and its severe impacts, including droughts and fires, then he must show real leadership and stop the fracking now."

The statement was issued on behalf of Californians Against Fracking, 350.org, Center for Biological Diversity, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, CREDO Action, Environment California, Food & Water Watch and Oil Change International.  

As the Friday deadline for moving legislation from California's Senate to the Assembly approaches, Senator Holly J. Mitchell's bill to set a moratorium on fracking for oil in the state still needed three votes to pass when the Senate recessed Wednesday night, according to a statement from Senator Mitchell's Office.

Mitchell said the SB 1132 elicited "spirited floor debate" before the failure of several senators to vote on the bill left it without the 21 votes needed to advance to the Assembly. Although a motion for reconsideration allows Mitchell to bring the bill up for vote again, unless at least three senators cast favorable votes by Friday, the bill dies for the current legislative session.

"Last year our efforts to enact a moratorium got as far as an Assembly committee, and this year to the floor of the Senate, with more 'yes' than 'no' votes," noted Senator Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), who carried a similar bill, AB 1323, while serving in the Assembly. "We have the momentum, this issue's gone viral nationally, and it's just a matter of time before the dangers of fracking prompt people to put it on pause until its safety can be established."  

"When the impacts on the public of a for-profit endeavor are unknown, we try it out first in minority neighborhoods - assuming low vigilance and the need to bring in jobs makes safety irrelevant," said the Senator. "But we've put big industry on notice: That ploy won't fly forever. People's neighborhoods aren't fodder for fracking, environmental justice must come, and one day soon the vote to refrain from polluting for profit will prevail!"  

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, celebrated the defeat of SB 1132, by stating, "With SB 1132 behind us, let's now focus on SB 4 implementation." (https://www.wspa.org/blog/post/sb-1132-behind-us-let's-now-focus-sb-4-implementation)

"Today's defeat of Senate Bill 1132, legislation that would have imposed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation technologies, clears a path for a concerted and collaborative effort to fully implement new statewide regulations embodied in Senate Bill 4," she said.

"The SB 4 regulations put into place a robust set of monitoring, disclosure, testing, land use and research requirements that ensure hydraulic fracturing in California is conducted safely and without harm to the environment.  But there is still much to be done to finalize these new regulations and the petroleum industry is going to be a constructive partner in getting them accomplished," Reheis-Boyd claimed.

The oil industry is most powerful corporate lobby in California. A ground breaking report released on April 1, 2014 by the ACCE Institute and Common Cause reveals that Big Oil's combined spending on lobbying and political campaigns in Sacramento amounts to a stunning $266.9 million over the past 15 years. This massive spending enables the oil industry to effectively buy the votes of many State Assembly Members and Senators.  (http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/14/how-big-oil-bought-sacramento/)

But the oil industry exerts its influence not just through spending enormous sums on lobbying and contributions to political campaigns, but by serving on state and federal government panels.

In one of the biggest conflicts of interest in California environmental history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, served as the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California, as well as sitting on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.

It is no surprise that the alleged "Yosemites of the Sea" created under Reheis-Boyd's "leadership" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and tribal gathering.

It is also no surprise that the oil industry was fracking like crazy in Southern California ocean waters at the same time that Reheis-Boyd and MLPA Initiative advocates were greenwashing one of the most corrupt environmental processes in California history.    

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Delta Tunnels Opponents Offer Senator Feinstein A Better Water Solution

by: Dan Bacher

Tue May 20, 2014 at 15:40:47 PM PDT

In discussing her agribusiness-friendly drought relief legislation, S 2198, Senator Dianne Feinstein recently told the San Francisco Chronicle that environmentalists have "never been helpful to me in producing good water policy.'"

"I have not had a single constructive view from environmentalists of how to provide water when there is no snowpack," said Feinstein in her interview. (http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Feinstein-Environmentalists-no-help-on-5481560.php)

Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, on Monday announced the release of  a new video in response to Feinstein's false claim that environmentalists have "never been helpful" to her in solving California's water resource challenges.

Restore the Delta's storyboard video, http://youtu.be/Ml_pCr2uMaE, describes what water efficiency would accomplish for the Delta and for meeting California's water and jobs needs. RTD, along with the Environmental Water Caucus in their Responsible Water Exports Plan, has long proposed  sustainable water water policies.

"Sen. Feinstein is carrying water in S 2198 for huge industrial mega-growers who  have planted thousands of additional acres of almonds on dry lands in Westlands  and Kern Water Districts in the midst of our three-year dry spell," said Barbara  Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. "Sen. Feinstein's response to this  unsustainable overplanting of permanent crops on unsustainable lands without their  own water supply is to strip sustainable farms and fisheries of protections so these  huge growers can water their unwise plantings."

"During times of drought, people think about big water projects as the solution because most people have seen large canals or dams that hold and convey  water," she said. "We decided to create a storyboard that shows what water efficiency looks like with easy to understand facts so that people can learn why water efficiency is  the better value for each dollar spent on water infrastructure."

"The water efficiency  story will be turned into a feature video in the months ahead -- and it will tell the  story of how water efficiency throughout California is the solution for the Delta  and the citizens of California," Barrigan-Parrilla concluded.

The video is here: http://youtu.be/Ml_pCr2uMaE
 

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Fracking moratorium bill put in suspense file

by: Dan Bacher

Mon May 19, 2014 at 19:23:18 PM PDT

Senate Bill 1132, Senator Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno's legislation to require a moratorium on fracking in California while studies were conducted, was put into the suspense file today following the hearing in the appropriations committee this morning.

According to Stop Fracking California State, "The Appropriations Committee has the power to put bills into the Suspense File. This happens for any bill with an annual cost of more than $150,000 (any fund)."

According to the state legislature's website: "Suspense File bills are then considered at one hearing after the state budget has been prepared and the committee has a better sense of available revenue. No testimony is presented - author or witness - at the Suspense File hearing."

The committee will announce Friday if SB 1132 moves through Appropriations for a vote by the entire Senate. That vote would occur within a few days.

Daily Kos is hosting a CA Fracking Marathon blogathon this week to urge people to phone members of the committee to ensure SB 1132 comes up for a vote. Daily Kos is part of a coalition that includes Earth Works, the Sierra Club, 350.org, the Indigenous Envioronmental Network, and the Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment.

SB 1132 would require the California Natural Resources Agency to facilitate an "independent scientific study" on well stimulation treatments (fracking and acidizing) and their hazards and risks to natural resources and public, occupational, and environmental health and safety by January 1, 2015.

The legislation would also:

• require the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to adopt rules and regulations for well stimulation treatments by January 1, 2015, in consultation with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), CalRecycle, and any local air and regional water quality control boards;

• require DOGGR to complete a statewide environmental impact report (EIR) by July 1, 2015 ;

• allow operators to continue well stimulation practices while DOGGR completes its regulations, providing that the well owner complies with interim requirements.

Big Oil spends more than any other corporate lobby

It is crucial to understand that the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) spends more money every year on lobbying in Sacramento than any other corporate group. This massive spending enables the oil industry to effectively buy the votes of State Assembly Members and Senators.

The organization spent a total of $5,331,493 in 2009, $4,013,813 in 2010, $4,273,664 in 2011, $5,698,917 in 2012 and $4,670,010 in 2013 on lobbying at the State Capitol - and spent $1,456,785 in just the first 3 months of 2014. (http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/23365-californias-big-oil-dirty-dozen) You can bet that a good chunk of this money spent so far this year was spent on stopping Senate Bill 1132.

A ground breaking report released on April 1, 2014 by the ACCE Institute and Common Cause also reveals that Big Oil's combined spending on lobbying and political campaigns in Sacramento amounts to a stunning $266.9 million over the past 15 years. (http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/14/how-big-oil-bought-sacramento/)

But the oil industry exerts its influence not just through spending enormous sums on lobbying and contributions to political campaigns, but by serving on state and federal government panels.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, served as the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California, as well as sitting on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.

It is no surprise that the alleged "Yosemites of the Sea" created under Reheis-Boyd's "leadership" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and tribal gathering. It is also no surprise that the oil industry was fracking like crazy in Southern California ocean waters at the same time that Reheis-Boyd and MLPA Initiative advocates were greenwashing one of the most corrupt environmental processes in California history.

In spite of false claims by the mainstream media and state officials that California is a "green state," in reality California under Jerry Brown and the current state leadership is an "Oilogarchy" of the worst kind.

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Calls on Governor Brown to Ban Fracking

In another development in the campaign to ban fracking in California, the California League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) assembly on Sunday, May 18 voted unanimously to pass a resolution calling on Governor Brown and the state legislature to ban fracking.
In addition, the resolution affirmed LULAC's support for local ordinances and initiatives now underway in several cities and counties throughout California to ban fracking.

"Because the health and environment of California's Latino communities, who already disproportionately suffer from pollution, is threatened by fracking, the California League of United Latin American Citizens calls on Governor Brown to ban fracking now," said California State LULAC Director Dave Rodriguez.

Fracking, an extreme form of energy extraction using millions of gallons of water and known toxic chemicals, has been linked to increased air pollution and a possible association with human birth defects. Some communities, like Carson, have been plagued by problems related to fossil fuel industry abuse.

"Our communities have suffered long enough from the impacts of oil extraction and we must stop the oil industry's latest assault to expand fracking and other forms of high intensity extraction," said Carson councilmember Albert Robles. "We welcome the support of the League to protect the health and well-being of our communities." Robles introduced a fracking moratorium this year after Occidental Petroleum proposed to drill 200 wells near residential homes in Carson.

While Governor Brown continues to allow oil companies to frack and use other intensive well-stimulation techniques, many cities and counties are advancing local fracking bans or moratoria including Butte County, Monterey County, Santa Barbara County, San Benito County, Santa Cruz County and the cities of Los Angeles and Culver City.

"We are really excited that LULAC has recognized that the fight is not just at the state level, but is now at the local level with the people in cities and counties really taking a stand, and using the initiative process," said Margaret Morales Rebecchi from San Benito Rising. "Governor Brown has thwarted action at the state level. It is so fortunate that LULAC recognizes and endorses the efforts by the people to have the final say."

For more information, go to: http://www.californiansagainst...

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California Unions Urge Support for State's Veterans, Yes Vote on Prop 41

by: California Labor Federation

Mon May 19, 2014 at 12:09:57 PM PDT

By Steve Smith

Over 200,000 California veterans live in poverty. More than a quarter of the nation's homeless veterans are right here in our state. We see them on the street. Their injuries - both physical and emotional - are evident. Yet, far too little is being done to help the heroes who fought for our country find a roof over their heads at night. That's simply shameful.

We can do better. We must do better.

Prop 41 directs $600 million of existing Proposition 12 (Veterans Bond Act of 2008) to housing options for veterans. On June 3, California voters have an opportunity to infuse much-needed funds into transitional housing for veterans, which would go a long way to providing a warm place to sleep at night for those who have sacrificed so much to defend the very freedoms many of us take for granted.

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Big Oil lobbyist praises EDF for "balanced approach" to fracking

by: Dan Bacher

Fri May 16, 2014 at 17:58:41 PM PDT

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and the former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California, has praised the supposedly "balanced approach" to fracking advocated by the Environmental Defense Fund and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the recipient of millions of dollars of Walton Family Foundation money every year, is a supporter of the environmentally destructive practice of fracking for natural gas and oil. The group claims fracking would provide "measurable environmental benefits" in spite of the enormous harm that fracking poses to human health, groundwater and surface water supplies, and fish and wildlife populations.

EDF is no stranger to corporate greenwashing campaigns, since the corporate "environmental" NGO is also a big backer of "catch shares" or "catch and trade" programs that privatize fisheries. These programs for the 1 percent result in fisheries being transferred from traditional fishing families into fewer, increasingly corporate hands.The Walton Family Foundation donated $8,500,000 to EDF to promote catch shares in 2013 and $7,800,000 in 2012 (http://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/about/2012-grant-report#environment.)

Reheis-Boyd, in her latest blog on the Western States Petroleum Association website (http://www.wspa.org), applauded Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund, and Michael Bloomberg for calling for "sensible rulemaking" and "measurable regulations" on fracking in their April 29 op-ed in the New York Times.

It is crucial to understand that the Western States Petroleum Association that Reheis-Boyd heads is the most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento. The organization spent a total of $5,331,493 in 2009, $4,013,813 in 2010, $4,273,664 in 2011, $5,698,917 in 2012 and $4,670,010 in 2013 on lobbying at the State Capitol - and spent $1,456,785 in just the first 3 months of 2014. (http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/23365-californias-big-oil-dirty-dozen)

Reheis-Boyd said:

"In an April 29 opinion editorial published in the New York Times, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) joined former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in advocating for a balanced approach to hydraulic fracturing:

'The shale gas boom is indeed lowering energy costs, creating new jobs, boosting domestic manufacturing and delivering some measurable environmental benefits as well. Unlike coal, natural gas produces minuscule amounts of such toxic air pollutants as sulfur dioxide and mercury when burned - so the transition from coal- to natural-gas-fired electricity generation is improving overall air quality, which improves public health. There's also a potential climate benefit, since natural-gas-fired plants emit roughly half the carbon dioxide of coal-fired ones.'

We agree. Krupp and Bloomberg also called for sensible rulemaking and measurable regulations that protect the environment while allowing the petroleum industry to capitalize on an historic moment in our nation's economy. Despite the emotions surrounding hydraulic fracturing, the American energy renaissance, led by the increase in domestic shale oil and gas production, can move forward safely."

Reheis-Boyd then used her blog piece to greenwash Senator Fran Pavley's Senate Bill 4, the green light to fracking bill in California, claiming that "California is leading and innovating this entire discussion."

The vast majority of conservation and environmental justice groups strongly opposed Senate Bill 4 because it would create a clear path to expanded fracking in California. However, the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council and League of Conservation Voters supported the legislation until the last minute - withdrawing their support only after the oil industry added "poison pill" amendments to further weaken the badly-flawed legislation.

Reheis Boyd also reiterated oil industry disinformation claiming that the Pavley bill created the "most stringent" fracking regulations in the nation:

"Senate Bill 4 regulations, passed at the end of last year's session, are the most stringent hydraulic fracturing regulations in the nation. The bill requires companies to obtain a permit from the state, notify surrounding landowners, conduct pre and post fracturing water tests, disclose all chemicals used in the process, conduct regular pressure tests on wells to ensure well integrity and submit extensive water management plans.

This week's New York Times opinion editorial is a good reminder we must finally agree to embrace balanced policies that can achieve strict environmental protection, economic growth, and increased domestic energy security."

Reheis-Boyd is extremely hypocritical for saying she supports "balanced" policies and "strict environmental protection," based upon her dubious record as the Chair of the MLPA Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast. (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mpa/brtf_bios_sc.asp)

She and her collaborators on the task force made sure that the questionable "marine protected areas" created in Southern California under her "leadership" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, corporate aquaculture, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering. Reheis-Boyd, state officials and MLPA Initiative advocates ensured that these alleged "marine protected areas" were good for big oil and ocean industrialists - and bad for fishermen, tribal gatherers and the public trust.

Reheis-Boyd also "served" on the MLPA initiative Blue Ribbon Task Forces to create so-called "marine protected areas" on the North Coast, North Central Coast and Central Coast and she currently sits on a federal "marine protection" panel, NOAA's 20 member Marine Protected Areas Advisory Committee. As she served on these panels, the oil industry engaged in a frenzy of environmentally destructive fracking operations off the Southern California coast, as revealed in an Associated Press and Freedom of Information Act investigation last year.

The corrupt process that Reheis-Boyd oversaw created no take "state marine reserves" that violate the traditional gathering rights of the Yurok Tribe and other California Indian Tribes to harvest seaweed, mussels and fish, as they have done for thousands of years. The privately funded process also rejected numerous requests by Yurok Tribe scientists and lawyers to present scientific studies that countered the terminally flawed and incomplete "science," based on flawed assumptions, that drove the MLPA Initiative. (http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2011/07/15/lop_yurok_6-29_11.pdf)

As Frankie Joe Myers, Yurok Tribe member and Coastal Justice Coalition organizer, said before a direct action protest against the MLPA Initiative in Fort Bragg in July 2010, "The whole process is inherently flawed by institutionalized racism. It doesn't recognize Tribes as political entities, or Tribal biologists as legitimate scientists." (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/24/18654645.php)

"Whether it is their intention or not, what the Marine Life Protection Act does to tribes is it systematically decimates our ability to be who we are," emphasized Myers. "That is the definition of cultural genocide.

To make make matters even worse, Ron LeValley, the Co-Chair of the MLPA Science Advisory Team - the same controversial state panel that inexplicably rejected the Yurok Tribe's science studies - will be sentenced on May 20 on a single federal charge of conspiracy to embezzle nearly $1 million from the Yurok Tribe!( theava.com/archives/28651)

On February 11, LeValley, of Mad River Biologists, pled guilty to the charge in federal court. Court documents reveal that LeValley conspired with Roland Raymond, former Yurok Tribe forestry chair, to embezzle the funds through a complex scheme of fake and inflated invoices and payments for spotted owl surveys that LeValley and his organization never performed. The link to the federal indictment is available at: http://noyonews.net/wp-content...

More recently, the industry that Reheis-Boyd lobbies for engaged in over 100 violations of California's new public disclosure rules for fracking and other dangerous oil production methods. The violations were uncovered by a Center for Biological Diversity analysis of records from the state, the oil industry and South Coast air quality regulators. (http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/fracking-04-30-2014.html)

In a letter to Governor Jerry Brown, the Center revealed that state regulators with the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources have failed to disclose legally mandated reports for 47 frack jobs and notices for more than 100 uses of other risky oil production techniques.

"This lack of disclosure underscores the failure of current regulations and the need for strong action that will protect public health and safety and the environment," the letter says.

However, these overt violations of California environmental law are just a small taste of the massive violations of environmental laws that will take place if Reheis-Boyd and her collaborators are allowed to proceed with their plans to expand fracking operations in California.

If the oil industry and Governor Jerry Brown have their way, groundwater and surface supplies will be polluted with numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol, benzene, naphthalene and trimethylbenzene. According to the Center, evidence is mounting throughout the country that these chemicals are making their way into aquifers and drinking water.

Human health, endangered Central Valley salmon, steelhead and other fish populations and many wildlife species will be imperiled by increasing water pollution in California, as well as by the increasing use of water for fracking that is badly needed for people, farms and fish during the current drought.

In addition, air pollution caused by fracking contributes to the risk of asthma, cancer, and other health problems in people living near fracked wells, according to a Colorado School of Public Health study. (http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/20/local/la-me-gs-fracking-increases-air-pollution-health-risks-to-residents-20120320)

There is no doubt that we must completely reject the false claims by the oil industry, the Environmental Defense Fund and Michael Bloomberg that fracking can be conducted in a "safe" and "sensible" manner that "protects" the environment. We must call on Governor Brown and other state officials to ban fracking now!

We must also call on Brown and state and federal officials to halt the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the biggest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. The tunnels will provide water for fracking and steam injection operations used to extract oil in Kern County, as well as for corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California water agencies. For more information about the twin tunnels, go to http://www.restorethedelta.org.  

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Internal memo reveals 'the fix is in' on Delta tunnel plan

by: Dan Bacher

Sun May 11, 2014 at 15:53:59 PM PDT

DWR creates two new divisions to implement BDCP  

Advocates for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, Central Valley salmon and openness and transparency in government have often stated that the "fix is in" on Governor Jerry Brown's peripheral tunnel plan.

Their contention that the process is rigged and unjustly manipulated by state officials and water contractors was only confirmed in a May 6 memorandum sent to Department of Water Resources (DWR) staff from DWR Director Mark Cowin indicating that the Brown administration is stepping up its efforts to fast-track the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels.

Cowin said two new organizations will be established within the agency to implement the controversial Bay Delta Conservation Plan - a DWR BDCP Office and the Delta Conveyance Facilities Design and Construction Enterprise (DCE) - beginning June 1.

"While many milestones remain before a positive decision to implement BDCP is achieved, DWR must begin to prepare to carry out its critical role in the implementation phase of this important project, should a conclusion be reached to move forward," said Cowin. "To this end, we are establishing two new DWR organizations beginning June 1, 2014 - the DWR BDCP Office and the Delta Conveyance Facilities Design and Construction Enterprise (known as the DCE)."

The DCE will constitute a new joint powers authority overseen by a Program Manager under contract to the Department of Water Resources and staffed by representatives from DWR, the Metropolitan Water District and other water agencies, and private contractors. It will give water contractors who would benefit from the tunnel plan a key role in the construction planning for the project.

According to Cowin, "The organizational structure and staffing of the DCE is envisioned to be somewhat unique in comparison to a typical DWR organization. It will be managed by a Program Manager under contract to DWR, and will be staffed by highly qualified individuals from within DWR, participating regional and local public water agencies, and private consulting firms. As part of DWR, it will have the capacity to issue contracts for consulting services as well as construction, using DWR's authority and in keeping with all applicable State contracting statutes."

Delta advocates criticized the memo for being the latest in a series of actions taken by the Brown administration to rush the construction of the peripheral tunnels before permitting of the process is complete - and before any financial plan or agreement to pay for the tunnels, estimated to cost $67 billion or more, is in place.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said, "Permitting is not complete. There is no financial plan or agreement. The Implementing Agreement will not be released to the public until after the public comment period on the BDCP and its EIR/S is complete."

"Yet, DWR is moving forward to implement the project?" she asked. "They are trying to steamroll Delta communities which will be harmed by the impacts, and the people of California who will be stuck paying the bill for the boondoggle."

Carolee Krieger, Executive Director of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), after reading the memorandum, said, "It sounds to me like DWR is going ahead full steam, facts or lack of facts be damned. They have no idea what the project looks like because they have not been able to do the drilling tests because the Delta landowners have won their lawsuits. So they (DWR) have no idea what problems they may face with tunnel construction; they have no real idea of the costs...only guesses."

"It sounds to me like the same thing the Third District Court said about paper water in our Monterey Agreement case...they are going on 'a wish and a prayer!'" she stated.

"And where in the State Water Project (SWP) contracts does it allow DWR to collect funds from the contractors for this BDCP/Twin Tunnel planning, as this is not maintenance but a huge new project?" asked Krieger.

Nancy Vogel, Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Water Resources and former reporter for the Sacramento Bee and LA Times, confirmed that Cowin had sent out the memo, but couldn't answer several questions posed to her by the Central Valley Business Times (CVBT).

The CVBT reported, "Nancy Vogel, chief spokeswoman for DWR, says she does not know how much of the existing DWR budget, including money and staff, will be diverted to the two offices; what prompted the decision to move forward with the two offices or how many additional staff have been or will be hired to staff the offices. (http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=25822)

As the Brown administration continues to rush the construction of the twin tunnels, opposition to the project by a coalition of family farmers, Indian Tribes, fishing groups, environmental organizations, Delta residents and elected officials continues to grow.

The public review and comment period for the Draft BDCP and BDCP Draft EIR/EIS will run through June 13, 2014. Restore the Delta will host a "Public Comment Party" to complete more than one hundred citizens comments against the environmentally destructive peripheral tunnels on May 13, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Reserve at Spanos Park, Mt. Diablo Room 6301 W. Eight Mile Rd. in Stockton.

Refreshments will be provided. RSVP and letter writing information, language translators or childcare can be arranged: contact stina [at] restorethedelta.org or call (209) 475-9550. (RSVP is encouraged, but not required.)

The water diverted from the Sacramento River through the tunnels would go to corporate agribusiness interests farming toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County, and Southern California water agencies. The construction of the twin tunnels would hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations of the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

Below is the memo:

State of California California Natural Resources Agency

M e m o r a n d u m

Date: May 6, 2014

To: All DWR Employees

From: Department of Water Resources

Subject: Establishment of the DWR BDCP Office and the DHCCP Design and

Construction Enterprise

As many of you are keenly aware, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has been deeply engaged in the development of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) since 2006. Several DWR offices and divisions are currently working on BDCP, either as part of the Delta Habitat Conservation and Conveyance Program (DHCCP) or as part of the planning and analysis of the overall BDCP program.

We are approaching a critical juncture for BDCP as the planning phase reaches completion, State and federal resource agencies consider permitting decisions, and a more detailed financing plan is developed. While many milestones remain before a positive decision to implement BDCP is achieved, DWR must begin to prepare to carry out its critical role in the implementation phase of this important project, should a conclusion be reached to move forward. To this end, we are establishing two new DWR organizations beginning June 1, 2014 - the DWR BDCP Office and the Delta Conveyance Facilities Design and Construction Enterprise (known as the DCE).

First, a new BDCP Office will be established within the Executive Division. The initial focus will be the completion of the conservation plan while providing early coordination and transition to implementation of BDCP conservation measures 2 through 22, including, for example, tidal marsh restoration, Yolo Bypass fishery enhancement and urban stormwater treatment. This team will work to plan, manage, and integrate coordination among DWR's various divisions involved with development of BDCP and initiate preliminary evaluations needed to implement BDCP. In addition, this team will play an important role in agency and stakeholder engagement needed to complete the plan. To help facilitate the completion of BDCP, including the needed close coordination with the Governor's Office and the State administration, the office will initially be led by the Chief Deputy Director.

This office will lay the foundation for the implementation of BDCP, and once the BDCP is finalized, that work will be merged into the formal BDCP Implementation Office as is defined in Chapter 7 of the BDCP. This organization will likely be a multi-agency effort involving DWR or supported by DWR.

Second, a Delta Conveyance Facility Design and Construction Enterprise (DCE) will be established within the Department as a new program to support activities associated with design and construction of conservation measure 1, the Delta Conveyance facilities. The mission of this enterprise is intended to be limited to this singular focus, and the life span of the enterprise will be limited to the time necessary to complete construction of these facilities. The organizational structure and staffing of the DCE is envisioned to be somewhat unique in comparison to a typical DWR organization. It will be managed by a Program Manager under contract to DWR, and will be staffed by highly qualified individuals from within DWR, participating regional and local public water agencies, and private consulting firms. As part of DWR, it will have the capacity to issue contracts for consulting services as well as construction, using DWR's authority and in keeping with all applicable State contracting statutes. Initially the DCE will be located in the Bonderson Building, but it is anticipated that it will move to another location to accommodate the growth needed to complete the design and construction of the conveyance facilities.

Undoubtedly, a number of questions will arise about how these two structures will mesh with our existing organization at DWR, and we will be working with you all to elicit your questions and develop solutions together. I look forward to your continued support as we enter into this exciting phase of the BDCP which will shape the future of Delta ecological restoration and water project operations.

Mark W. Cowin

Director

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FRIENDS OF THE RIVER POSTS BDCP COMMENTS SUPPRESSED BY THE GOVERNMENT

by: Dan Bacher

Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 18:02:53 PM PDT

CONTACT:
Bob Wright, Senior Counsel, Friends of the River
BWright@friendsoftheriver.org 916- 442-3155 X207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2014

FRIENDS OF THE RIVER POSTS BDCP COMMENTS SUPPRESSED BY THE GOVERNMENT

Sacramento, CA - Friends of the River announced today that it is posting all comments made on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Water Tunnels project on its website, www.friendsoftheriver.org  , under the heading  Bay Delta Conservation Plan Public Comment Library. The federal and state agencies in charge of the project now refuse to post any correspondence other than project proponent material touting the Water Tunnels. It is imperative that public interest organizations, public agencies, and California citizens, taxpayers and ratepayers have access to comments made as they come in to assist them in spotting issues and formulating their own comments on the 40,000 pages of advocacy--the Plan and draft EIR/EIS-- touting the BDCP Water Tunnels. The government agencies declare they will not make the comments "available to the public" until "the release of the Final EIR/EIS." That concealment of the comments until after the public review period has ended will be of no help to the public in formulating comments during the review period.  

Friends of the River has been demanding copies of the comments from the government agencies under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Friends of the River (FOR) is posting the comments it has obtained regardless of whether the particular comment agrees or disagrees with FOR's support for saving the Sacramento River and San Francisco Bay-Delta and opposition to the Water Tunnels. FOR is now doing what the government of a free country should be-- but is not-- doing. That is, FOR is insuring that all sides of this important and controversial issue can be heard during this critical public review period.

The proposed BDCP Water Tunnels project that is the subject of the BDCP draft Plan and draft EIR/EIS is one of the most controversial and expensive public works projects in the history of the State of California. Back in June of 1982 a statewide referendum blocked development of the project (then called the "peripheral canal") by a 2 to 1 vote. The Water Tunnels raise profound environmental issues under several laws including the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, and California Environmental Quality Act. With respect to economic issues, the only true statewide cost-benefit study of the project concluded that the costs would exceed the benefits by 2.5 to 1, so that the project does not make economic or financial sense.

Bob Wright, Senior Counsel for Friends of the River, said "The BDCP Water Tunnels project is in reality a dagger aimed at the hearts of the Sacramento River and the San Francisco Bay-Delta as well as a pickpocket after the wallets of California taxpayers and ratepayers. That is why the BDCP agencies are afraid to post the comments. They are afraid of the truth."

According to often repeated statements by Resources Agency Secretary John Laird and others, the BDCP development process would be fair, open, and transparent. Now the truth is even clearer than before that special interests--not the public-- will decide the important issues behind closed doors and the public will only see what the BDCP proponents want it to see.  

Serious questions have been raised about the financial feasibility and environmental consequences of the BDCP Water Tunnels. The project would re-route a large portion of the Sacramento River into massive underground tunnels, to the detriment of fish, wildlife and local uses of the River and the Delta.   Public debate over such a destructive and expensive public works project is essential.  

Informed public debate is the hallmark of our democracy.  The modern equivalent of the venerable town hall/public park assembly is the ability to view comments from the public via the internet regarding proposed major governmental actions.  Friends of the River will continue to post the comments on its website that it is obtaining from the government agencies with regular updates in mid - April, mid - May, and early June through the end of the public comment period, now scheduled to end June 13, 2014. Unlike the BDCP proponents, Friends of the River and other protectors of our rivers and the San Francisco Bay-Delta are not afraid of the truth or contrary points of view.
###

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