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Governor Jerry Brown

Dam The Indians Anyway - War Dance at Shasta Dam

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Sep 10, 2014 at 14:59:52 PM PDT

Shasta Dam, on the Sacramento River north of Redding, will be the site of a "War Dance" held by the Winnemem (McCloud River) Wintu Tribe from September 11 through September 15.  

The War Dance is in response to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's proposal to raise the dam that threatens to submerge many Winnemem sacred sites and village areas, according to a news release from the Tribe, The Winnemem lost much of their homelands and their salmon when the giant federal Central Valley Project dam was first constructed.

"Any raising of the dam, even a few feet, will flood some of our last remaining sacred sites on the McCloud River - sites we still use today," said Caleen Sisk , Winnemem Chief and Spiritual Leader. "We can't be Winnemem any place else but the McCloud River. The dam raise is a form of cultural genocide."

The Winnemem invoked the War Dance in 1887 against a fish hatchery, the Baird U.S. Fish Hatchery, on the McCloud River that threatened the salmon and the Winnemem way of life, according to the Tribe. Again the Winnemem held a War Dance at the dam in 2004 to commit themselves to the protection of their land and their salmon. Now, the Winnemem face even more of their sacred sites and culture being submerged by the dam.

"In 2004, we held a War Dance on Shasta Dam, because that's the Weapon of Mass Destruction," said Chief Sisk. "That's the weapon that took our lands, flooded our sacred places, covered up our burials - everything. And left us with nothing."

"We gave up a lot of our homeland for the sake of the California people, and got nothing in return. Now the government wants to take our sacred places, and again we get nothing in return. How is this fair, over and over again?" she asked.

"This is not right," Chief Sisk said. "This is too much to ask of a people."

On September 11, 2014 at a site near Shasta Dam, just before dusk, a sacred ceremonial fire will be lit, and the Winnemem War Dancers will fast for the full four days of the ceremony. For the next 4 days, the fire, the drum, the songs and the dance will carry the prayers of the Winnemem people.

The dance is being held under a permit issued by The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). The Tribe has held numerous meetings with the BOR to raise questions about the feasibility of the BOR's plans, the impacts it will have on the tribe and their way of life, and the troubled history between the tribe and the BOR.

"Yet, BOR is going ahead with plans to raise the dam and will submit its final EIS/EIR to the Secretary of Interior in December, and anticipates the final project plan will be submitted to Congress for approval no later than March 2015," according to the Tribe.

"When Shasta Dam was first proposed, Congress passed a law (55 Stat 612) authorizing the federal government to take the lands and burial grounds that the Winnemem had for a thousand years, the Tribe said. "Promises were made to the Tribe in 55 Stat 612 that still have not been kept. The Tribe is asking that the BOR fulfill 55 Stat 612 to resolve these long standing debts as well as fully comply with NEPA, NHPA, and other laws that protect sacred and historic sites."

The Tribe has consistently requested that the BOR, study alternatives to raising the dam such as better management practices for existing reservoirs and conservation options, as well as better protection of the fish populations. "Raising the dam will damage, destroy and inundate cultural resources along the McCloud River, sites that are vital to future generations and are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as Traditional Cultural Properties," the Tribe stated.

The Shasta Dam raise takes place in tandem with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the proposal to build Sites Reservoir on the west side of the Sacramento Valley. The BDCP is an environmentally destructive $67 billion project that will export massive quantities of northern California water for use by San Joaquin Valley corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injecting operations,

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 imperil the steelhead and salmon populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. The project will also take vast tracts of Delta farmland, among the most fertile on the planet, out of production in order irrigate toxic, drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

"I'm still appalled that a lot of people don't make the connections between the Shasta Dam raise, the BDCP and Sites Reservoir, which is in the water bond (Proposition 1)," said Chief Sisk. "There is not going to be more water for the tunnels if Sites Reservoir isn't built and Sites can't be filled unless the Shasta Dam is raised."

"The BDCP can't exist without the Shasta Dam raise and the construction of Sites Reservoir to store water for the tunnels. It's all one project - I don't know where people think the water is going to come from," she concluded.

The Winnemem Wintu Tribe over the past 10 years has played a key leadership role in the campaign to oppose the peripheral tunnels and the water bond. The Tribe is also working on a plan to return native winter run Chinook salmon, now thriving in the Rakaira River in New Zealand, to the McCloud River above Shasta Dam. They are researching and developing a proposal for a passageway around Shasta Dam for the returning spawning salmon and the outgoing ocean bound salmon fingerlings.

For more information, visit http://www.winnememwintu.us.
Media Contact: Charlotte Berta
Cell: 916-207-2378
Email: char [at] ranchriver.com

War Dance Location Information:
Shasta Dam Bureau of Reclamation
16349 Shasta Dam Boulevard
Shasta Lake, California 96019
Lat/Long 40.7140, -122.4176

Action Alert: Urge Your Congress Member to vote against the Shasta Dam raise!

Representative Jim Costa, of Fresno, has introduced a bill, co-signed by a number of California Democratic Congressmen, to raise Shasta Dam. "There is no mention of the standing debt to our people or the destruction it will cause to our way of life.

Please contact your Senators and Congresspeople (http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml), in any state you're in, to remind them that a debt is still owed by the United States to the Winnemem Wintu people, and ask them to vote NO on any proposal to raise Shasta Dam.

Also, tell the Bureau's Commission Michael Connor to not submit his plan to raise Shasta Dam. Tell him to support Winnemem cultural survival - Michael Connor - comments [at] usbr.gov; (202) 513-0501

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Most voters don't support Prop. 1's $15 billion debt for dams, agribusiness subsidies

by: Dan Bacher

Mon Sep 08, 2014 at 13:19:03 PM PDT

The survey of 600 likely November voters found that Prop. 1, Governor Jerry Brown's Water Bond Festival of Pork, fails to attract majority support, with just 42% of voters saying they'd vote yes, 24% no, and 34% undecided. Voters understand the State of California is a staggering $770 billion in debt - and Prop. 1 will add to that debt, costing taxpayers $360 million per year for the next 40 years, all to pay for dams, bike trails in conservancies and huge subsidies for already heavily subsidized corporate agribusiness interests.

Opponents of Proposition 1 include the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, San Francisco Crab Boat Association, Restore the Delta, Center for Biological Diversity, California Water Impact Network, Food & Water Watch, Southern California Watershed Alliance, South Delta Water Agency, Central Delta Water Agency, Concerned Citizens Coalition of Stockton, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Small Boat Commercial Salmon Fisherman's Association and numerous other fishing, environmental, water and civic organizations. Below is the news release from the No on Prop. 1 Campaign:

No on Prop. 1 Poll: Majority of Voters Don't Support $15 Billion Debt for Dams, Conservancies, Subsidies for Huge Agribusiness

Sacramento - Opponents of Proposition 1, the State Water Bond, today released results of a statewide poll finding that the $15 billion spending package for dams, bike trails in conservancies, and subsidies for huge agribusiness water-takers "has a tenuous path to passage."

The poll of 600 likely November voters was conducted by the respected national firm of Lake Research Partners at the end of August. The survey found that Prop. 1 fails to attract majority support, with just 42% of voters saying they'd vote yes, 24% no, and 34% undecided.

No on Prop. 1 consultant Steve Hopcraft said, "Our findings show voters strongly doubt Prop. 1's misplaced spending, and taking on billions more in debt. Voters understand that spending Prop. 1's $15 billion on building dams that don't pencil out, and funding bike trails and hiking trails, takes that money away from education, public safety and health care. Prop. 1 has already squeezed education by pushing a school construction bond off the ballot. Prop. 1 is the wrong investment."

Lake Research Partners' Joshua Ulibarri told a news teleconference "Proposition 1 is by no means a sure thing and has a tenuous path to passage. The proposition fails to meet the usual threshold for initial strength in polling, serious doubts can be raised among voters, and Prop. 1 faces opposition from credible messengers."

"Voters are very concerned that Prop. 1's cost is too high, much of the spending is misplaced, and spending on those things takes away funding from sustainable water investments, including fixing our leaking urban water systems, and squeezes funding from education and public safety," said No on Prop. 1's Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. "Voters understand the State of California is a staggering $770 billion in debt, and Prop. 1 will add to that debt, costing taxpayers $360 million per year for the next 40 years. Passing Prop. 1 will expand our debt. Prop. 1 would build projects that will not solve our water problems, but will benefit wealthy agriculture corporations who want more access to California's water. California taxpayers should not go into debt to build projects for billion-dollar farming conglomerates."

For poll results, 9/5/14 media teleconference recording and more information
about Prop. 1's flaws, please visit http://www.noonprop1.org/news-...

For Immediate Release: Friday, Sept. 5, 2014
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve [at] hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft  

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Big Oil has spent $63 million on lobbying in Sacramento since 2009

by: Dan Bacher

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 19:33:20 PM PDT

While there are many powerful industries based in California, ranging from the computer and high tech industry to corporate agribusiness, no industry has more influence over the state's environmental policies than Big Oil.

An ongoing analysis of reports filed with the California Secretary of State shows that the oil industry, the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento, collectively spent over $63 million lobbying California policymakers between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014.

The Western States Petroleum Association, led by President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California, topped the oil industry lobby spending with $26,969,861.

"The oil industry is spending over $1 million per month lobbying Sacramento, with the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) as the second overall leading spender so far in 2014 with almost $3 million spent in the past six months," according to Stop Fooling California (http://www.stopfoolingca.org), an online and social media public education and awareness campaign that highlights oil companies efforts to mislead and confuse Californians. "Chevron, with $1.3 million spent so far in 2014, is also among the top five. If money speaks, Big Oil has the loudest voice in politics."

WSPA was California's second overall leading lobbyist spender, with $1.5 million spent in the second quarter of 2014. This is the second largest quarter going back to January 2009.

WSPA is on pace to exceed the previous annual (2012) total in 2014. So far this session, WSPA has paid over $2 million to KP Public Affairs, the state's highest paid lobbying firm, during the current (2013-14) legislative session, according to the group. WSPA spent $4,670,010 on lobbying in 2013 and $5,698,917 in 2012.

Chevron is the fifth overall spender in California through the second quarter of 2014, having spent $784,757 over the past quarter, an increase of nearly $300,000 over the prior quarter.

Since 2009, WSPA ($27 million) and Chevron ($14.7 million) accounted for $42 million, two-thirds of the industry total.

The other "Dirty Dozen" spenders in the oil industry since 2009 were:
• BP - $3,407,467
• AERA Energy - $2,678,910
• Occidental - $2,678,910
• ConocoPhillips - $2,352,767
• Exxon - $2,297,452
• Shell - $2,258,610
• CIPA - $1,916,231
• Phillips66 - $1,715,416
• Fueling CA - $669,049
• CIOMA - $523,069

The money that the Western States Petroleum Association and other members of the oil lobby spend is well spent, since it has allowed Big Oil to sabotage state and federal laws protecting the air, water and environment. In 2013, the oil industry added poison pill amendments to gut an already weak fracking bill, Senator Fran Pavley's Senate Bill 4, in order to clear the path to the expansion of fracking operations in California.

WSPA and other oil industry interests also were able to defeat a bill, sponsored by Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno, to impose a moratorium on fracking in the state. In fact, the Legislators who voted against the bill received 14 times the amount of money from Big Oil that those who voted yes received from the industry.

But oil industry influence extends behind the money it spends on lobbying and political campaigns. Oil industry officials have also sat on key panels crafting environmental regulations in California and the U.S.

For example, WSPA President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, in one of the biggest conflicts of interest in California history, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create alleged marine protected areas in Southern California. (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mpa/brtf_bios_sc.asp)

She also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast, as well as on a federal NOAA marine protected areas committee.

The "marine protected areas" that she and other task force members helped to create fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.

While Reheis-Boyd served on the task forces to "protect" the ocean, the same oil industry that the "marine guardian" represents was conducting environmentally destructive hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations off the Southern California coast. Documents recently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and media investigations by Associated Press and truthout.org reveal that the ocean has been fracked at least 203 times in the past 20 years, including the period from 2004 to 2012 that Reheis-Boyd served as a "marine guardian."

Stop Fooling California recently pointed out that the former Chair of the MLPA Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force opposes a ban on offshore drilling in the Vandenberg State Marine Reserve.

"Big Oil, we know you're no stranger to conflicts of interest. But you have outdone yourself this time!" the group stated.

The campaign was referring to WSPA's opposition to Senate Bill 1096, a bill to ban offshore oil drilling in state waters in the Santa Barbara Channel known as Tranquillon Ridge.

You can't make this stuff up. Only in the oil-soaked politics of "Green California" would an oil lobbyist charged with the task of creating "marine protected areas" go on record against protecting a "state marine reserve" from oil drilling!

However, the money Big Oil spends on lobbying and campaign contributions is just chump change for them, since the oil companies continue to post mind-boggling profits every year. The top five oil companies made over $93 billion in profits in 2013 and have made over $58 billion in profits this year to date. (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2014/02/10/83879/with-only-93-billion-in-profits-the-big-five-oil-companies-demand-to-keep-tax-breaks/)  

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Water bond includes $485 million to buy water for Brown's death tunnels

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 13:47:23 PM PDT

Yesterday Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and over two dozen agricultural, water, environmental, labor and corporate representatives called for action on Brown's controversial revised water bond. Meanwhile, defenders of the Delta and its imperiled fish populations slammed the proposed measure for containing $485 million to buy water pumped into the Bay Delta Conservation Plan's peripheral tunnels.

Environmental NGOs backing the Governor's revised $7 million bond include the Community Water Center, Nature Conservancy, California Trout, American Rivers, Trout Unlimited, California Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). None of these groups, as opposed to the majority of grassroots environmental, fishing and consumer groups across the state, have gone on record against the construction of the twin tunnels, the most environmentally destructive proposed project in California history.

The Legislature is likely to approve the Governor's water bond this afternoon, although the new language has only been available for two days. On Monday, Brown signed legislation extending the deadline to place a new water bond on the ballot by 48 hours.

The Nature Conservancy Water Program Director Brian Stranko's statement of praise for the Governor's proposal was typical of those made by pro-bond NGO representatives.

"In this historic drought, our communities are suffering, our farms are suffering and the environment upon which we all depend is suffering. Our window to prepare for future droughts is now," said Stranko. "We need a well-structured Water Bond, one that invests in water infrastructure improvements and one that protects and restores our natural environment. That's what is necessary to get us through this drought and what is necessary to get a bond voters across the state will support in November."

The press release from the Governor's Office is available here: http://cert1.mail-west.com/anm...

The Governor and legislative leaders in recent weeks have claimed that the bond must be "tunnels neutral" to garner the support of voters, but there was no mention of "tunnel neutrality" in the statements released by the Governor's Office yesterday.

However, State Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) issued a statement claiming that the new bond proposal is "tunnels neutral."

"We fought hard to ensure this bond would be BDCP neutral and to ensure no funds will be used for the Delta Tunnels, including to pay for costs for their mitigation. We also won recognition and first time ever funding of $50 million for the Delta Conservancy, including their ability to fund important agriculture sustainability projects in the Delta. All told, it's a good deal for the Delta and Northern California," Wolk said.

Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Brown's rush to build Peripheral Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, disagreed. The group called upon Delta and other legislators to vote against Governor Brown's water bond proposal, saying it is NOT "tunnels neutral," and contains $485 million to buy water to be pumped into the tunnels. RTD called upon Delta legislators to reject any bond with false protections.

"This bond proposal gives the Brown administration $485 million to buy water to be pumped into the tunnels," said RTD Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. "It contains false protections for the Delta, and we call upon legislators, especially those representing the Delta, to vote against it. We are not fooled, and this bond will become a referendum on the tunnels. That is not going to advance the water solutions we need."

Barrigan-Parrilla said the governor's flow language would allow public funds to be used to purchase water that could be diverted into the Delta tunnels. The Department of Fish and Wildlife would use up to $485,000,000 from Sections 79733 and 79737 to buy water that would be dedicated under Water Code Section 1707 for instream use in waterways upstream of the Delta.

"However, once that water reached the tunnel intakes it could be diverted into the tunnels," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "The new wording does not prevent that. This water would be available for export from the Delta the same as any other water purchased by the exporters. The public would be paying for that benefit to the exporters."

Barrigan-Parrilla urged people to call Speaker Atkins and President pro Tem Steinberg and let their staff know you are against a water bond with environmental water account funds for water to fill the Delta tunnels and against money for habitat restoration that will pave the way for construction of the Delta tunnels. Their phone numbers are below:

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg: 916-651-4006
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins: 916-319-2078

Kathryn Phillips, Sierra Club California Director, also issued an action alert, "Stop the Free Ride for Dam Builders," about the water bond. She urged Club members and supporters to call Assembly Member Eggman at 916-319-2013 and ask their representatives to VOTE NO on AB 1471 and SB 866 unless they are amended to make sure that there is a level playing field for all California, no preference for Central Valley dams, and responsible legislative oversight of how the money is spent.

"This week, the legislature will vote on either of two bond bills, Senate Bill 866 and Assembly Bill 1471. The bills are identical and if either of them passes, it means that voters will face a $7.2 billion water bond ballot measure in November that will devote a third of its value to dam builders in the Central Valley. And the legislature will forfeit its traditional oversight role for this money for dams," said Phillips.

"Call Assembly Member Eggman at 916-319-2013 and urge your representative to VOTE NO on AB 1471 and SB SB 866. It's OK to call after hours and leave a message," she urged.

BDCP background: Jerry Brown's Death Tunnels

Governor Jerrry Brown's Bay Delta Delta Conservation Plan to build the 35-mile long peripheral tunnels won't create one drop of new water, but the project will lead to horrendous environmental degradation, according to tunnel critics. The construction of the tunnels, estimated to cost $67 billion, will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

BDCP opponents say Brown's "legacy" project will lead to the death of the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas that provides a nursery for many species. It will harm salmon, halibut, leopard shark, soupfin shark, sevengill shark, anchovy, sardine, herring, groundfish and Dungeness crab populations stretching from Southern Washington to Southern California.

Under the guise of habitat restoration, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan will take vast tracts of Delta farmland, among the most fertile on the planet, out of production in order to irrigate toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and provide Delta water to Southern California developers and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County.

The tunnels are being constructed in tandem with the federal government's plan to raise Shasta Dam, a project that will flood many of the remaining sacred sites of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe that weren't inundated by Shasta Dam.

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Department of Water Resources Faces $60 Million Shortfall

by: Dan Bacher

Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 15:11:33 PM PDT

Group says taxpayers and ratepayers are on the hook  

It appears that California is not only running out of water during the drought, but it is running out of money to move that water because of mismanagement, according to the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN).

The environmental group accused the California Department of Water Resources of facing a $60 million shortfall after failing to collect $125 million owed by water contractors.

"Even as it continues to promote the ruinously expensive, environmentally destructive and ultimately unworkable Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), the California Department of Water Resources has failed to collect $125 million for ongoing operations owed by water contractors, and now faces a $60 million shortfall," according to a C-WIN media release.

"The dearth of cash couldn't come at a worse time for the beleaguered agency," said Carolee Krieger, C-WIN Executive Director. "DWR now has only $50 million available, enough for about 60 days of operations, including meeting payroll."

The group said this shortfall required the agency to withdraw a $500 million bond proposal for BDCP planning costs because the measure's draft disclosure form did not cite the financing deficit.

While this shortfall is occurring, Krieger criticized Governor Jerry Brown and "his proxy, DWR," for continuing to promote the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build two massive water conveyance tunnels beneath the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta at a final cost to ratepayers and taxpayers of $ 67 billion or more, inclusive of interest and cost overruns.

"Ultimately, DWR cannot go broke because it has a default source for funding: property taxes and water rates," Krieger pointed out. "They believe property taxes can be increased to meet the agency's needs without a public vote."

The group said an increase in property taxes is planned for the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, where officials claim the moves are exempt from Proposition 13 and Proposition 218 that restrict state government options on raising property assessments.

A memo from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, demonstrates that district officials believe they can raise property taxes to pay for the Twin Tunnels without a vote, according to Tom Stokely, Water Policy Analyst/Media Contact for the California Water Impact Network. (See http://www.c-win.org/webfm_sen...

"Staff financial modeling assumes that BDCP costs associated with conveyance of State Water Project supply (approximately 65 million out of the $228 million ten year total) would be paid for by the State Water Project tax. Consequently, the State Water Project tax for average single family residence would increase from $36/yr to $60/yr by FY 2023-24," the memo stated.

Stokely also cited a document submitted on March 19, 2014 by Goldman Sachs to the State Water Contractors' Project Authority that flat out says the bonds will be secured by "ad valorem tax" increases. For example, page 10 of the document, the "Goldman Sachs Request for Qualifications and Proposals for Underwriting Services," cites "The authority of DWR to adopt a new Indenture, finance and build BDCP projects and obligate contractors to levy ad valorem tax (if necessary)."  

Nancy Vogel, Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Water Resources, confirmed the shortfall that DWR now faces, attributing it to "cumulative underbilling" of $125 million in 2013 and 2014, and cited a number of reasons why the underbilling occurred.

"DWR is obligated to provide the State Water Project contractors with a projection of the following year's costs and bills by July 1," said Vogel. "We became aware in June that actual SWP operational costs for 2013 and 2014 have been higher than previously accounted for due to a number of factors, including unanticipated maintenance needs and compliance requirements, elimination of State government furloughs, salary increases for skilled project trades and crafts staff, new staff positions, and increases in overhead."

"Because these cost increases were not completely accounted for in 2013 and 2014 bills, a cumulative under-billing of about $125 million occurred over these two calendar years," she explained. "The under collection amounts to 6 percent of the cumulative billing in those two years."

She noted that the total State Water Project billing was $1.06 billion in 2013 and $1.03 billion in 2014 - and that they are working to reduce charges and operating expense in 2015 and to mitigate the "under-collection."

"We are working to reduce the charges for 2015," said Vogel. "For example, we have identified about two dozen projects at existing SWP facilities that were originally billed as operating expenses that could have been capitalized. And we are evaluating the deferral of certain non-critical SWP work for six to 18 months. We anticipate having a revised statement of charges for 2015 in the next few months that reflects a reduction."

She concluded, "No payments have been or are threatened to be missed on any SWP obligations. No compromise of safety has occurred, nor has SWP operational capability been impaired. We are working to reduce SWP operating expenses for 2014 and 2015 and otherwise mitigate the under-collection, and we are confident that the SWP water contractors will be able to absorb the increase without undue hardship."

Krieger called DWR's response "one of the most defensive spins I've ever heard to cover up blatant incompetence."

"If they go ahead with this twin tunnel boondoggle, they're on the verge of running out of money," said Krieger.

Krieger said DWR's quandary comes at a critical time for the BDCP. "The administration has yet to make a strong 'business case' for the Twin Tunnels. The lavishly expensive project is being pushed at a time of growing public resistance to gigantic infrastructure projects that have no palpable benefit," she stated.

"As the facts emerge about the BDCP, it is clear the plan will not increase the state's net supply of water, the Delta will be placed at great risk, and the beneficiaries will be a handful of corporate farms in the western San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Basin, not southern California urban ratepayers," Krieger emphasized.

She also said secure funding is becoming increasingly elusive. "A large water bond seems foredoomed to failure," noted Krieger. "Property owners are thus the only viable alternative."

'The $125 million dollars that ratepayers and taxpayers will cough up to pay for DWR's shortfall is just the beginning. It will take an additional $1.2 billion to complete the planning process for the Twin Tunnels," Krieger noted.

She said that if the project moves forward, many California residents will see their properties taxes and water rates rise to support the $67 billion Twin Tunnels.

"Few state citizens understand their properties can be so encumbered without a vote or even token input. Unfortunately, they may be about to receive an object lesson in property taxation without representation," she summed up.

The twin tunnels won't create one drop of new water, but they will lead to horrendous environmental degradation, according to tunnel critics. The construction of the tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

Tunnels Background: CWIN and other BDCP opponents say Brown's "legacy" project will destroy the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas that provides a nursery for many species. It will harm salmon, halibut, leopard shark, soupfin shark, sevengill shark, anchovy, sardine, herring, groundfish and Dungeness crab populations stretching from Southern Washington to Southern California.

Under the guise of habitat restoration, the BDCP will take vast tracts of Delta farmland, among the most fertile on the planet, out of production in order to irrigate toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and provide Delta water to Southern California developers and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County.

The tunnels are being constructed in tandem with the federal government's plan to raise Shasta Dam, a project that will flood many of the remaining sacred sites of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe that weren't inundated by Shasta Dam.

Rally against the tunnels: Restore the Delta, C-WIN and other groups opposed to the construction of the twin tunnels will rally on July 29 at the West Steps of State Capitol, 10th St and Capitol Street, Sacramento at 11:30 AM. July 29 is the final day of the public comment period for the Bay Delta Conservation and the EIS/EIR. The rally will feature a variety of speakers and music.

To RSVP for the bus ride from Stockton or Oakley or if you have any questions relating to event, please contact Stina [at] restorethedelta.org or call (209) 475-9550. For more information, go to: http://restorethedelta.org/events  

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Board approves emergency water rules as Brown promotes tunnels and fracking

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Jul 16, 2014 at 18:09:07 PM PDT

As the State Water Resources Control Board approved new emergency regulations to fine residential "water hogs" up to $500 a day, Californians Against Fracking urged Governor Jerry Brown to ban the environmentally destructive, water intensive oil drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."

A dozen activists rallied outside of the EPA building in Sacramento where the regulations were approved. They held signs including, "When in Drought Ban Fracking," "You Can't Have Your Water and Frack It Too," and "Save Our Water: Ban Fracking."

"It's critical to California's future that we conserve water in the face of the serious drought," according to a statement from Californians Against Fracking. "If the Governor and the State Water Board are really serious about protecting California's water supplies, the Governor needs to ban fracking and similar methods. These techniques permanently poison and remove millions of gallons of water from the water cycle. If the Governor stops fracking, not only will he save Californians' water from being wasted during this historic drought, but he'll also protect their health and climate as well."

"Big Oil is one of the state's largest and dirtiest water users," the group said. "If Gov. Jerry Brown wants to lead on climate change and effectively address our dwindling water supplies, he must ban fracking to protect and conserve water in California."

Californians Against Fracking is a coalition of environmental, business, health, agriculture, labor, political, and environmental justice organizations working to win a statewide ban on fracking in California. Find more information at http://www.CaliforniansAgainst...

The Board approved emergency regulations Tuesday that would allow water agencies to ask courts to impose a maximum $500-a-day fine on water wasters. On the same day, data released by the state revealed that water use statewide has increased 1 percent over the past three years, in spite of calls by Governor Jerry Brown for Californians to slash water use by 20 percent during the drought.

"The new conservation regulation is intended to reduce outdoor urban water use," according to a statement from the Board. "The regulation, adopted by the State Water Board, mandates minimum actions to conserve water supplies both for this year and into 2015. Most Californians use more water outdoors than indoors. In some areas, 50 percent or more of daily water use is for lawns and outdoor landscaping."

State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus said, "We are facing the worst drought impact that we or our grandparents have ever seen. And, more important, we have no idea when it will end. This drought's impacts are being felt by communities all over California. Fields are fallowed; communities are running out of water, fish and wildlife will be devastated.

The least that urban Californians can do is to not waste water on outdoor uses. It is in their self-interest to conserve more, now, to avoid far more harsh restrictions, if the drought lasts into the future. These regulations are meant to spark awareness of the seriousness of the situation, and could be expanded if the drought wears on and people do not act."

Ironically, the Board approved the regulations after a drought year, 2013, when the state and federal governments drained Shasta, Oroville and Folsom reservoirs to export water to "corporate water hogs" including corporate agribusiness interests farming toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies, and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injections in Kern County. None of these "water hogs" were fined for draining northern California reservoirs to abysmally low levels - and leaving little carryover storage for 2014. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/07/1275862/-The-Emptying-of-Northern-California-Reservoirs)

Even more ironically, the same Brown administration that supports fining residential "water hogs" is fast-tracking the biggest and most environmentally devastating public works project in California history, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels under the California Delta. The tunnels won't create one drop of new water, but they will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other species. The project will also imperil the salmon and steelhead populations of the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

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Delta group reveals Brown water bond is not 'tunnels neutral'

by: Dan Bacher

Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 16:50:50 PM PDT

California Governor Jerry Brown earlier this week discussed with state legislators his outline for a $6 billion water bond to replace the $11.1 billion bond currently on the November ballot.

His outline for the "Water Action Plan Financing Act of 2014" included $2 billion for storage, $1.5 billion for watershed protection, watershed ecosystem restoration and state settlements, $1.5 billion for water quality and water supply reliability, $500 million for the Delta and $500 million for statewide flood management.

Brown's proposed bond would be "BDCP (Bay Delta Conservation Plan) neutral," according to an outline that was circulated to legislators, some stakeholders and the media.

Responding to Brown's claim, Restore the Delta (RTD), leading opponents of Governor Brown's rush to build massive water export tunnels that mainly serve corporate agribusiness interests in that Westlands and Kern Water Districts, today rejected the Governor's assertion that his proposed state water bond principles are "tunnel neutral." They released proposed bond language that would have taxpayers foot the bill for the damage from the tunnels project.

The group said the tunnels cannot be built without hundreds of millions of dollars to fund "mitigation" of the project's damage, damage the water-takers refuse to pay, and are foisting onto taxpayers.

"The governor's water bond is not 'tunnels neutral,' and his declaring it so does not make it true," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. "Much in the same way the proponents of the tunnels project named it the 'Bay Delta Conservation Plan,' (BDCP) and classified construction of the massive 35-mile long tunnels their primary 'conservation measure,' the governor is perverting the meaning of the English language. We are not fooled, and neither will the taxpayers who will pay the bill be fooled. This tunnels-enabling provision would doom the water bond we all need to address our water crisis."

RTD released language from the Governor's bond proposal exposing that his bond is not "tunnel neutral."

The governor's proposed Chapter X. Watershed Protection and Ecosystem Restoration, Section 79735 B, provides that funds will be made available for 'habitat restoration' that is part of the BDCP plan, and for moving water from willing sellers to habitat areas, a program that would have taxpayers pay to replace the required water flows exported by the BDCP tunnels.

RTD released BDCP records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act showing that the BDCP plans 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 needed to make up for over-pumping by the new water export Tunnels," said RTD consultant Steve Hopcraft. "Having taxpayers fund the replacement of Sacramento River and other water taken by the tunnels is an underhanded, back-door program required to mitigate the damage the tunnels would cause."

"They can't get the needed permits without the mitigation. How is that 'tunnels neutral?' The governor's own poll shows that the water bond will lose if it is a referendum on the tunnels project. This provision would be a poison pill and would undermine an otherwise valuable bond measure," said Hopcraft.

"We don't want to campaign against the water bond, because we need to put in place sustainable water policies. But we won't sit by and let the governor mislead taxpayers and pretend this funding is not part of the tunnels financing plan. Just read the language being proposed in his bond and put 1 + 1 together. The tunnels are not worth tubing the entire bond, and we urge the legislature to remove this provision and leave the fight over the Delta tunnels for another day," he stated.

In bond provisions labelled 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. This would devastate their groundwater supplies. That same water would be diverted into the new BDCP Tunnels before it flows into the heart of the Delta.

RTD also released a document obtained through a Public Information Act request prepared by the State Water Contractors Authority entitled "Stradling Yocca Carlson and Rauthm." The February 2014 document spells out that at this time, there is no financing plan for the BDCP-DHCCP peripheral water tunnels project.

According to the BDCP-DHCCP public draft, "[s]eparate financing plans, funding agreements, legislative authority, and other documents will be needed to enable the use of certain funding sources." The success of the project relies on as yet unfunded $4.1 billion dollars from the California State General Fund [17%] and $3.6 billion from federal taxpayers [14%].

Hopcraft said, "BDCP proponents need this water bond to begin putting the pieces in place to secure the financing for the project. The Brown administration knows this, and is trying to bury this funding in their proposed bond under watershed protection and is misleading the public describing a 'tunnel neutral' bond."

"What can be worse for Californians than not being able to trust the Governor to tell us the truth about what funds will be used for in his proposed water bond during a period of extreme drought?" asked Barrigan-Parrilla.

I have a call into the Governor's Press Office and am currently waiting for a response to Restore the Delta's contention that the Governor's water bond is not "tunnels neutral."

The Governor's Office has to date declined to comment on the specifics of the proposal.

"The Governor is concerned about ongoing debt service and its impact on future budgets," Brown spokesman Jim Evans said in a statement Monday.  

From the governor's proposed water bond:

Chapter X. Watershed Protection and Ecosystem Restoration

79731. This chapter implements activities in action numbers 4 and 9 of the California Water Action Plan.

79732. The sum of one billion four hundred fifty million dollars ($1,450,000,000) shall be available for the purposes of this chapter.

79733. Projects eligible for funds provided in Section 79732 shall be available upon appropriation by the Legislature for projects that protect and restore rivers, lakes and streams, their watersheds and associated land, water, and other natural resources.

79734. Of the funds provided in Section 79732, six hundred fifty million dollars ($650,000,000) shall be available for appropriation to the Natural Resources Agency.

79735. (a) The secretary may directly grant such funds in 79734 to any nonprofit organization, conservancy, public agency, or any tribal government or community for activities and programs that are consistent with and would further existing obligations in state settlement agreements or any authorized amendment thereto that achieve the ecological goals described in the California Water Action Plan.

(b) Funds may be used for projects that help fulfill state obligations to wildlife refuges and wildlife habitat areas under Section 3406(d) of Title 34 of Public Law 102-575, including the construction, retrofitting, and maintenance of water supply infrastructure and the acquisition and conveyance of water supply from willing sellers for water transfers of not less than 20 years, purchases of water rights, or other agreements that result in long-term enhancement of habitat conditions.

79736. (a) Of the funds provided in Section 79732, eight hundred million dollars ($800,000,000) shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to the State Board and the Department of Fish and Wildlife for vital species, habitat, or ecosystem restoration activities statewide and to achieve the protection of water related species and water quality. The State Board or the Department of Fish and Wildlife may directly grant to any nonprofit organization, conservancy, public agency, or any tribal government or community for activities under this section.

(1) Of the funds provided for in this section, at least $200 million shall be made available for the enhancement of water flows in stream systems statewide. These funds may be used to acquire water if (i) the acquisition involves a long-term water transfer for a term of not less than 20 years, a purchase of water for instream use, or other agreement that results in enhanced stream flow such as reservoir
reoperation or conjunctive use programs, and (ii) the Department of Fish and Wildlife determines that the acquisition, purchase, or agreement and the use of funds will provide fisheries or ecosystem benefits or improvements that are greater than required environmental mitigation measures or compliance obligations. The department shall consult with the State Board prior to making such a determination.

(2) Of the funds provided for in this section, at least $200 million shall be made available for ecosystem restoration for projects statewide. These funds may be used to fund coastal wetland habitat, watershed restoration, including activities to improve forest health, restore mountain meadows, modernize stream crossings, reconnect historical flood plains, install or improve fish screens, provide fish passages, restore river channels, restore or enhance riparian habitat, and remove sediment or trash. In allocating funds for projects pursuant to this paragraph, the State Board and Department of Fish and Wildlife shall consider the location of projects such that funded projects are geographically distributed throughout the state.

(b) Where it will either limit the cost of administering an activity under this chapter, increase the efficiency and effectiveness of an activity under this chapter, or will prevent unnecessary delay in its implementation, the Department of Fish and Wildlife shall use existing programs or procedures when implementing this section, and shall contract with the State Board for technical assistance and to aid in implementation of this chapter.  

Urgent Action Alert: Tell Jerry Brown Not One Penny for Tunnels Mitigation:

We need to tell Governor Brown we will not sit by and let him mislead taxpayers.Tell him that we do not want ONE PENNY of taxpayer money used for the  environmental water account to be funded for billionaire farmers like Stewart Resnick and Westlands mega-growers.

Tell him that we do NOT ONE PENNY of taxpayer money used for "habitat" that the BDCP admits is experimental and that independent science groups agree will not save fish without sufficient fresh water flows.  

Tell Governor Brown, no tunnels and NOT ONE PENNY for BDCP mitigation.

PLEASE CALL NOW!  916-445-2841!  And keep calling the next seven days if the phone is busy!

SAVE THE DATE!  July 29, 2014 "No Delta Tunnels Rally" on the West Steps of the Capitol! at 11:30 a.m.  Let us know if your group would like a table.  Watch for details!  Buses will be available!

For more information, go to: http://restorethedelta.org/

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Even BDCP-hired economist wouldn't sign off on Brown's tunnel plan

by: Dan Bacher

Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 12:11:54 PM PDT

In the latest episode in the sordid saga of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan "BDCP" to build the peripheral tunnels, two environmental groups revealed on June 20 that even an economist hired by BDCP officials won't sign off on the controversial project.

Dr. David Sunding, an economist on the faculty of the University of California-Berkeley and a principal with The Brattle Group, said at the recent Continuing Legal Education Water Law Conference in San Diego that "given the financial uncertainties if he were a water agency, he would not sign off" on the BDCP, according to a news release from Restore the Delta (RTD). (http://us3.campaign-archive2.com/?u=06887fa70084fef8e939fef63&id=b6d32e645b&e=120d0c2b69)

RTD and the Southern California Watershed Alliance responded to the Brown Administration's latest claims of alleged benefits from the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and its huge water export tunnels.

"The recently released statements and documents from BDCP on the costs, and who will pay, are more of the same disingenuous statements that they have been making throughout the life of the project," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta (RTD). "These unsubstantiated claims show how desperate BDCP officials are to greenwash this project for the public. Documents from public record requests, and statements from their own officials and water agency officials, reveal that the project will be closer to $67 billion in today's dollars, before cost over-runs."

Independent University of the Pacific economist Dr. Jeff Michael concludes that the average water ratepayer will end up paying between $40 and $80 per person per year.

"Los Angeles will not receive an additional drop of water, as 2/3 of the water taken from the Delta goes to mega-growers in the Westlands and Kern County Water Districts," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

"Work by the Pacific Institute's Dr. Peter Gleick shows the millions of acre feet of water can be made through conservation, recycling, and storm water capture," said Conner Everts, executive director of the So. California Watershed Alliance. "The truth is that the Metropolitan Water District cannot make money except through reselling water, and thus is the strongest proponent of the BDCP. They will continue to find reasons why conservation measures won't work, and to delay aggressive development of local water projects.

"Dr. David Sunding of the Brattle Group said at the recent Continuing Legal Education Water Law Conference in San Diego that 'given the financial uncertainties, if he were a water agency, he would not sign off' on the BDCP. Neither should we," said Everts.

In other BDCP news, Jerry Cadagan, water activist, pointed out that the most recent BDCP newsletter starts off with a canard in the very first sentence (".... improving how water moves through the" Delta). (http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/Libraries/Dynamic_Document_Library/BCDP_ENewsletter_6_18_2014_FINAL.sflb.ashx)

"Isn't one of the fundamental criticisms that BDCP precludes necessary water from moving through the Delta? According to my Funk & Wagnalls, 'through' and 'under' have distinctly different meanings," Cadagan said.  

The BDCP staff responded to Restore the Delta's news release by claiming, "Opponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) grossly misquoted BDCP consultant Dr. David Sunding." Ironically, in their effort to "set the record straight," the BDCP staff repeats their prior canard that that BDCP is about "improving how water moves through" the Delta, when in fact the purpose of the twin tunnels is to move Sacramento River water under the Delta, not through the estuary! (http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/news/news/14-06-20/Setting_the_Record_Straight_on_Sunding_Quotes.aspx)

It is seems that Bay Delta Conservation officials can't get anything "straight." There is no doubt that Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan has no basis in logic, science or fiscal realities. It is nothing other than a "legacy" project for Governor Brown to build as a giant monument to his ego.  

While the BDCP won't create one single new drop of water, the tunnels will take water from Northern California farms, fish and people and give it to corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County.

The peripheral tunnels under the Delta will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as pose an enormous threat to salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

Caleen Audrey Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, urged people to "please take a minute and add your response to STOP the Brown Water Plans" by going to the Food and Water Watch website: https://secure3.convio.net/fww...

"California should be a salmon state....a state that feeds the world with healthy wild salmon and not water draining MegaAg Monsanto crops that are not healthy," said Sisk.  

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Even BDCP-hired economist wouldn't sign off on Brown's tunnel plan

by: Dan Bacher

Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 12:11:54 PM PDT

In the latest episode in the sordid saga of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan "BDCP" to build the peripheral tunnels, two environmental groups revealed on June 20 that even an economist hired by BDCP officials won't sign off on the controversial project.

Dr. David Sunding, an economist on the faculty of the University of California-Berkeley and a principal with The Brattle Group, said at the recent Continuing Legal Education Water Law Conference in San Diego that "given the financial uncertainties if he were a water agency, he would not sign off" on the BDCP, according to a news release from Restore the Delta (RTD). (http://us3.campaign-archive2.com/?u=06887fa70084fef8e939fef63&id=b6d32e645b&e=120d0c2b69)

RTD and the Southern California Watershed Alliance responded to the Brown Administration's latest claims of alleged benefits from the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and its huge water export tunnels.

"The recently released statements and documents from BDCP on the costs, and who will pay, are more of the same disingenuous statements that they have been making throughout the life of the project," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta (RTD). "These unsubstantiated claims show how desperate BDCP officials are to greenwash this project for the public. Documents from public record requests, and statements from their own officials and water agency officials, reveal that the project will be closer to $67 billion in today's dollars, before cost over-runs."

Independent University of the Pacific economist Dr. Jeff Michael concludes that the average water ratepayer will end up paying between $40 and $80 per person per year.

"Los Angeles will not receive an additional drop of water, as 2/3 of the water taken from the Delta goes to mega-growers in the Westlands and Kern County Water Districts," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

"Work by the Pacific Institute's Dr. Peter Gleick shows the millions of acre feet of water can be made through conservation, recycling, and storm water capture," said Conner Everts, executive director of the So. California Watershed Alliance. "The truth is that the Metropolitan Water District cannot make money except through reselling water, and thus is the strongest proponent of the BDCP. They will continue to find reasons why conservation measures won't work, and to delay aggressive development of local water projects.

"Dr. David Sunding of the Brattle Group said at the recent Continuing Legal Education Water Law Conference in San Diego that 'given the financial uncertainties, if he were a water agency, he would not sign off' on the BDCP. Neither should we," said Everts.

In other BDCP news, Jerry Cadagan, water activist, pointed out that the most recent BDCP newsletter starts off with a canard in the very first sentence (".... improving how water moves through the" Delta). (http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/Libraries/Dynamic_Document_Library/BCDP_ENewsletter_6_18_2014_FINAL.sflb.ashx)

"Isn't one of the fundamental criticisms that BDCP precludes necessary water from moving through the Delta? According to my Funk & Wagnalls, 'through' and 'under' have distinctly different meanings," Cadagan said.  

The BDCP staff responded to Restore the Delta's news release by claiming, "Opponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) grossly misquoted BDCP consultant Dr. David Sunding." Ironically, in their effort to "set the record straight," the BDCP staff repeats their prior canard that that BDCP is about "improving how water moves through" the Delta, when in fact the purpose of the twin tunnels is to move Sacramento River water under the Delta, not through the estuary! (http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/news/news/14-06-20/Setting_the_Record_Straight_on_Sunding_Quotes.aspx)

It is seems that Bay Delta Conservation officials can't get anything "straight." There is no doubt that Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan has no basis in logic, science or fiscal realities. It is nothing other than a "legacy" project for Governor Brown to build as a giant monument to his ego.  

While the BDCP won't create one single new drop of water, the tunnels will take water from Northern California farms, fish and people and give it to corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County.

The peripheral tunnels under the Delta will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as pose an enormous threat to salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

Caleen Audrey Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, urged people to "please take a minute and add your response to STOP the Brown Water Plans" by going to the Food and Water Watch website: https://secure3.convio.net/fww...

"California should be a salmon state....a state that feeds the world with healthy wild salmon and not water draining MegaAg Monsanto crops that are not healthy," said Sisk.  

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FPPC complaint against Jerry Meral filed amidst culture of corruption

by: Dan Bacher

Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:29:05 AM PDT

Remember Jerry Meral, the guy who claimed the "Delta cannot be saved" while he was working for the Brown administration on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels? (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/04/26/1205064/-Five-Congressional-Democrats-call-for-Brown-administration-official-s-resignation)

Well, it appears that Meral has run afoul of the state's laws governing lobbying activities at a time when corruption and conflicts of interest are mushrooming in California politics.

Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Jerry Brown's rush to build the Peripheral Tunnels to drain the California Delta, on June 13 filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) charging former Brown Administration Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) point man, Jerry Meral, with "illegal lobbying."

"Meral appears to be violating the law prohibiting former administration officials from lobbying within one year and one day of leaving office," according to a statement from Restore the Delta. "Since January 2014, Meral has authored several versions of a Natural Heritage Institute-promoted (NHI) water bond for legislative consideration in 2014, and made direct contacts with staff in numerous legislators' offices to influence legislation."

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD, said, "Our complaint charges Jerry Meral with illegal lobbying during the period when former administration officials are barred from doing so. The revolving door between the Brown Administration, water exporters and groups that would benefit from the tunnels project and its habitat programs just keeps turning."

Meral's attempt to lobby and otherwise influence the state legislature and the agency, and the activities that he managed the day before leaving state employment, is illegal under the following statutes and regulations, according to Barrigan-Parrilla:

• Lobbying within one year of leaving a position in state service violates §87406, Regulations 18746.1 and 18746.2 of the Political Reform Act.

• Leaving state employment and being hired by NHI the following day begs the question of Influencing Prospective Employment (See Section 87407; Regulation 18747). "The legal issue of if he had prior contact with this prospective employer regarding an interview or discussion of an offer of employment seems self-evident and otherwise inexplicable given the timing," she stated.

Barrigan-Parrilla said Meral has been observed visiting the Legislature to "promote" his versions of the bond and the BDCP. Meral's bond includes specific funding for BDCP-related San Joaquin Delta conservation projects. Meral wants funding removed and restricted from levee projects, which constitutes lobbying to change the outcome of existing proposed legislation for the benefit of BDCP.

"It appears that Meral did not renew his lobbying certification, complete his ethics training, and has failed to timely file disclosures. Given that Meral is aware of these procedures from his previous two-year stint as a lobbyist, immediate corrective action and the maximum penalty should occur," said Barrigan-Parrilla.

The potential financial incentive for NHI's ability to successfully lobby or influence Resources, DWR and the Legislature is massive. Billions of dollars are at stake with the BDCP for NHI and other non-profit organizations as defined in the NHI proposed water bond, she noted.

NHI proposed Sections 79740 and 79742 provide for direct and indirect funding for potential NHI-affiliated habitat projects of no more than $1.2 billion, directly to non-profits through grants and through pass through monies managed and distributed by Resources/DWR, and the Delta Conservancy; and, even more funding from DWR's California Water Commission, according to the group.

In his February 23, 2014 letter from NHI, Meral specifically directs that the Delta Protection Commission "follow the provisions described in this letter" regarding wildlife habitat and levee funding from a proposed new special district, which have historically received significant funding from DWR under the subventions program.

Barrigan-Parrilla said Meral appears to be demanding a de facto "cut of the action" from the new district for his BDCP habitat projects. Meral also lobbies for the state water contractors (SWC) to be paid back from supposed overpayments under the Davis-Dohlwig Act, also in an effort to promote the ability of the SWC to pay for BDCP.

Jerry Meral served as Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for the State of California from 2011 to December 31, 2013. He acted as Director of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the twin tunnels during this time.

On January 1, 2014, Meral accepted a position as Director of the California Water Program for the Natural Heritage Institute (NHI).

"The NHI currently has direct ties to the BDCP, direct and indirect financial benefit from its completion, and continues to lobby for its funding and implementation, as evidenced by the documentation that can be found at http://restorethedelta.org/?p=... according to RTD.

Upon his acceptance of the position, NHI issued a statement on their website announcing that Meral was representing NHI on California water issues, specifically including the BDCP. In this statement, the NGO touted itself as "an early and strenuous proponent of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan" (http://yubanet.com/california/Natural-Heritage-Institute-Hires-Jerry-Meral.php#.U6G2i93DyRo)

"NHI finds the evidence overwhelming that the delta cannot serve the dual functions of maintaining endangered species and water supply reliability without a massive habitat restoration program and improvements to the water diversion and conveyance infrastructure that can reduce the conflicts between these uses," the NHI stated.

Not only has the NHI has been an "early and strenuous" cheerleader of the BDCP, but the organization has long championed water markets and water transfers that have privatized water and transformed a public trust asset, belonging to all citizens, into a "profit center to enrich special interests," according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA). 



"NHI also developed the concept that became the Environmental Water Account, which enabled water speculators to sell public trust water back to the public at vast profit," said Jennings

This is not the first time that Mr. Meral has engaged in questionable practices. In 2002, Meral authored Proposition 51, an initiative that the Sacramento Bee called "California's most corrupt initiative." The Bee also called Meral's group "a morally bankrupt environmental lobby." (Editorial: No on Proposition 51: stop California's most corrupt initiative, September 29, 2002). (http://digital.library.ucla.edu/websites/2002_998_063/beeed.htm)

The Bee editors wrote, "But financial irresponsibility is the least of this measure's sins. It is fundamentally corrupt. It's an unapologetic example of 'pay to play.' To get this measure on the ballot and pass it, Gerald Meral, executive director of PCL, studded it with projects for developers and groups willing to contribute to the campaign."

"For example, Tejon Ranch Co. would get $5 million in improvements on an Interstate 5 interchange to support its distribution center in Kern County; it contributed $65,000. Hillwood Development Corp. would get $30 million worth of railroad grade crossings near its proposed distribution center at former Norton Air Force Base in San Bernadino; it has given $150,000. The list of projects tied to contributions goes on and on. We'll be detailing some of the scummiest deals here in coming days," they added.

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

The revolving door between corporations, government and NGOs

The FPPC complaint against Jerry Meral takes place in context of the larger picture of the corruption of California environmental politics in recent years.

The revolving door between corporate interests, water contractors and state government swung wide-open last September when Governor Jerry Brown appointed Laura King Moon of Woodland, a lobbyist for the state's water exporters, as chief deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

Moon was a project manager for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan since 2011 while "on loan" from the State Water Contractors, a non-profit association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under contract from the California State Water Project.

And Moon's appointment was just one of the many examples of the revolving door between corporations and state government that have infested politics in California during the Schwarzenegger and Brown administrations. These examples include:

• The resignation of State Senator Michael J. Rubio in February 2013 to go work in a "government affairs" position for Chevron. Rubio, who was leading the charge to weaken the landmark California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and make it more friendly to corporations, claimed he resigned in order to spend more time with his family. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/23/1189354/-Senator-Michael-Rubio-resigns-to-take-job-with-Chevron)

• DWR's hiring of Susan Ramos "on loan" from the Westlands Water District, the "Darth Vader" of California water politics, to serve as "a liaison between all relevant parties" surrounding the Delta Habitat Conservation and Conveyance Program (DHCCP) and provide "technical and strategic assistance" to DWR. (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/14/18702762.php)

Documents obtained by this reporter under the California Public Records Act revealed that Ramos, Deputy General Manager of the Westlands Water District, was hired in an "inter-jurisdictional personal exchange agreement" between the Department of Water Resources and Westlands Water District from November 15, 2009 through December 31, 2010. The contract was extended to run through December 31, 2011 and again to continue through December 31, 2012.

• The hijacking of "marine protection" in California by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA). Reheis-Boyd chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create alleged "marine protected areas" in Southern California and served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. (http://yubanet.com/california/Dan-Bacher-Top-Censored-Environmental-Story-of-2012-Marine-guardian-lobbies-for-offshore-oil-drilling-fracking.php)

• The failure of Katherine Hart Johns, Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board member, to report her husband's separate property interest in his lobbying firm, California Resource Strategies, Inc., on her 2006, 2007, and 2008 annual Statements of Economic Interests. The California Fair Political Practices Commission fined Hart Johns only $600 for this overt conflict of interest, in a classic example of how violators of state ethics and environmental laws often get off with a mere "slap on the wrist." (http://www.sacbee.com/2010/03/21/2622315/water-pollution-regulator-failed.html).

And of course, we can't forget the three Senators - Leland Yee of San Francisco, Ron Calderon of Montebello and Rod Wright of Inglewood - who 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)

Nor can we overlook one of the greatest scandals to hit environmental politics in recent years - the 10 month federal prison sentence that a federal judge in May imposed upon Ron LeValley of Mad River Biologists, the former co-chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Science Advisory Team for the North Coast, for his role in a conspiracy to embezzle over $852,000 in federal funds from the Yurok Tribe.

In February, LeValley pleaded guilty to a single federal charge of conspiracy to commit embezzlement and theft from an Indian Tribal Organization (18U.S.C §§ 371 and 1163) in the complex scheme in collaboration with former Yurok Forestry Director Roland Raymond. According to court documents, LeValley submitted more than 75 false invoices between 2007 and 2010 in payment for "work" on northern spotted owl surveys that was never performed. The link to the indictment is available at: http://noyonews.net/wp-content...

Restore the Delta's FPPC complaint proceeds forward as the Brown administration fast-tracks the $67 billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build twin tunnels to export water to corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The peripheral tunnels under the Delta will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and fish species, as well as pose an enormous threat to salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

Background on Meral and the BDCP 


Jerry Meral became the focus of a huge controversy when he acknowledged on April 15, 2013 that "BDCP is not about, and has never been about saving the Delta.The Delta cannot be saved."

He made his controversial comments while speaking with Tom Stokely of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) in a private conversation after a meeting with Northern California Indian Tribes, according to Restore the Delta's "Delta Flows" newsletter (http://www.restorethedelta.org/or-is-it-the-point/) 



After Meral made the revealing, candid comments, five Congressional Democrats - George Miller, Mike Thompson, Jerry McNerney, Doris Matsui and Anna Eshoo - called for Meral's immediate resignation. (http://www.fishsniffer.com/blogs/details/congressional-democrats-call-for-brown-administration-officials-resignation/) 


"Meral's statement, if accurately reported, suggests the Brown Administration intends to explicitly violate the established statutory co-equal goals of ecosystem restoration in the Bay-Delta and water reliability throughout the state," according to the Representatives' statement. "This fuels speculation that the Administration's plan, if unchanged, will devastate the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the communities that rely on it, a concern that Northern California Lawmakers and other stakeholders have voiced throughout the process." 



The widely-criticized 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 stretching hundreds of miles to the south and west. 



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From Governor Moonbeam to "Big Oil Brown"

by: Dan Bacher

Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 09:40:50 AM PDT

Jerry Brown, once known as "Governor Moonbeam" for his quirkiness and eccentricities during his first two administrations from 1975 to 1983, has in his third administration transformed himself into "Big Oil Brown."

According to Jessie McKinley in the New York Times, The "Governor Moonbeam" nickname "was coined by Mike Royko, the famed Chicago columnist, who in 1976 said that Mr. Brown appeared to be attracting 'the moonbeam vote; which in Chicago political parlance meant young, idealistic and nontraditional." (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/weekinreview/07mckinley.html)

Thirty-eight years later, Oil Change International, a research, communication, and advocacy organization focused on "exposing the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitating the coming transition towards clean energy" has given Brown a new nickname, "Big Oil Brown," for the large contributions he has received from oil companies and his support of fracking. The web page dedicated to "Big Oil Brown" features Jerry attired in a suit and cowboy hat like a Texas oil baron right next to an oil rig (http://www.bigoilbrown.org/)

"California's Governor Jerry Brown has a problem: he wants to be seen as a climate champion who understands the science and takes this crisis seriously. At the same time, he just proposed new fracking rules in California that would amount to a gift to Big Oil. He can't have it both ways," according to the web page.

The group has also created a spoof ad about "Jerry Brown's Frackwater Cologne."

Leaders of environmental organizations, Indian Tribes and fishing groups are upset that Brown signed Senator Fran Pavley's Senate Bill 4, the green light for fracking bill that clears the path for expanded fracking in California, in September 2013. The last minute amendments to the bill by the oil industry were so odious that they spurred the League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund to withdraw their support at the last minute for the already weak legislation.

The bill made California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of fracking permits optional and prevents imposing a moratorium on fracking for 15 months.

Big Oil strongly supported the amended version of Senate Bill 4 that Brown signed. Just ask Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast, who praised the governor's signing of Senate Bill 4 for creating the "environmental" platform to expand fracking in California. (http://www.wspa.org/blog/post/statement-wspa-president-catherine-reheis-boyd-signing-sb-4)

"With the signing of Senate Bill 4, California has the toughest regulations of hydraulic fracturing and other energy production technologies in the country," said Reheis-Boyd. "While SB 4's requirements went significantly farther than the petroleum industry felt was necessary, we now have an environmental platform on which California can look toward the opportunity to responsibly develop the enormous potential energy resource contained in the Monterey Shale formation
Brown signed the bill after receiving at least $2,014,570.22 from fossil fuel interests since his race for Attorney General in 2006. (http://www.bigoilbrown.org/frackwater/)

In the 2014 election cycle, four oil companies have contributed a total of $161,000 to the Brown campaign to date, according to Oil Change Internation. Occidental Petroleum has given $27,200, the maximum legally allowed. Edison and Chevron have both contributed $27,200 twice, once for the primary election and another for the general election. Phillips 66 has nearly maxed out with a $25,000 contribution. Fossil fuel industry contributions in 2010 Governor's race were $198,451.22.

Proposition 30, one of the Governor's signature policy initiatives in 2012, was also heavily funded by Big Oil. The oil and gas companies contributed over $1,118,418 to the campaign, including $500,000 from Occidental Petroleum.

In addition, fossil fuel industry interests have donated $355,000 to Brown's two Oakland charter schools since 2006. In 2013 alone, Occidental Petroleum gave The Oakland Military Institute $150,000 at Brown's behest.

Brown backs carbon trading, Delta death tunnels

But the Governor's signing of the green light to fracking bill is just one of the many attacks on the environment that Brown has engaged in.

Governor Brown is an avid supporter of the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation+) that allows Northern Hemisphere polluters to buy forest carbon offset credits from the global South. Brown is trying to link an agreement among Chiapas, Mexico; Acre, Brazil; and California, to AB32, which commits to a 25% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for 2020, and an 80% reduction for 2050).

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, exposed the impact of Brown's REDD policies on the environment and Indigenous Peoples when he spoke at a protest against Brown's failed environmental policies in San Francisco on October 17, 2013 when Brown was slated to receive environmental leadership award by the Blue Green Alliance. Brown didn't show up, probably because of those, including Goldtooch and Michael Preston of the Winnemem Wintu tribe, who gathered outside to protest the event. (http://www.ienearth.org/press-statement-tom-goldtooth-behind-the-backs-of-the-people-of-california/:

"Despite being awarded, as I speak, for his supposed environmentalism, Governor Brown is moving ahead with a policy that grabs land, clear-cuts forests, destroys biodiversity, abuses Mother Earth, pimps Father Sky and threatens the cultural survival of Indigenous Peoples

This policy privatizes the air we breathe. Commodifies the clouds. Buy and sells the atmosphere. Corrupts the Sacred.

This policy is called carbon trading and REDD. REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. But REDD really means Reaping profits from Evictions, land grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of biodiversity. REDD does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at source. And REDD may result in the biggest land grab of the last 500 years."

Brown has also rushed the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, a $67 billion boondoggle that will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and numerous other fish species, as well as imperiing salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers. The plan would take large tracts of fertile Delta farmland out of production in order to irrigate drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, all under the guise of "habitat restoration."

Every scientific panel, ranging from the Independent Delta Science Board to the National Academy of Sciences, has criticized the flawed "science" behind the twin tunnel plan. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/05/20/1300714/-Delta-Independent-Science-Board-Slams-Brown-s-Tunnel-Plan)

Brown administration exported record amounts of Delta water

The Brown administration also authorized the export of record water amounts of water from the Delta in 2011 - 6,520,000 acre-feet, 217,000 acre feet more than the previous record of 6,303,000 acre feet set in 2005 under Schwarzenegger. Most of this water went to corporate agribusiness, including mega-farmers irrigating unsustainable, selenium-laced land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The record water exports spurred massive fish kills at the state and federal Delta pumps. The Brown administration "salvaged" a record of nearly 9 million Sacramento splittail and over 2 million salmon, steelhead, striped bass, largemouth bass, threadfin shad, white catfish and sturgeon in the Delta export pumping facilities in 2011. Since the actual number of fish killed in the pumps is at least 5 to 10 times those reported, the actual number of fish killed is probably 55 million to 110 million.

More recently, Governor and the Obama administration oversaw the systematic emptying of Folsom and other northern California reservoirs last year during a record drought, imperiling struggling salmon and steelhead populations and local water supplies. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/07/1275862/-The-Emptying-of-Northern-California-Reservoirs)

And if that wasn't bad enough, the Brown and Obama administration's anti-fish and pro-agribusiness policies have resulted in pushing Delta fish populations closer to extinction. A Delta fish survey released by the California Department of Wildlife in January 2014 confirms the continuing collapse of the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.

The 2013 indices (a relative number of abundance) for Delta smelt, a federal and state endangered species, and American shad were the second lowest in the 46 years of the survey. The striped bass index was tied for third lowest, while the longfin smelt and threadfin shad indices were the eighth and fifth lowest, respectively, according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. (http://truth-out.org/speakout/item/21219-delta-fish-survey-reveals-an-ecosystem-in-collapse

Oil lobbyist-overseen marine "protection"

Brown has also forged ahead with one of the worst environmental programs of the Schwarzenegger regime, the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. In one of the most egregious conflicts of interests in modern California history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast, as well as serving on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. (http://intercontinentalcry.org/the-five-inconvenient-truths-about-the-mlpa-initiative/)

It is no surprise that the alleged "marine protected areas" fast-tracked under the Schwarzenegger and Brown administrations fail to protect the ocean from pollution, fracking, offshore oil drilling, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.

In fact, a Freedom of Information Act and Associated Press investigation last year revealed that Southern California marine waters were fracked at least 203 times in the past 20 years. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/10/19/calif-finds-more-instances-of-offshore-fracking/3045721/)

Much of the fracking took place while the Western States Petroleum Association president was overseeing the creation of the oil industry-friendly "marine protected areas." Does anybody think there might have been a conflict of interest here?

Brown's relentless march to environmental destruction

Other abysmal environmental policies of the "Green Energy Governor" include the following:

• Department of Conservation Shake-Up: Brown fired Acting Director Derk Chernow and Oil and Gas Supervisor Elena Miller and appointed oil industry-friendly Mark Nechodom in 2011, amidst claims by the oil industry and their political allies that the two officials weren't granting permits quickly and easily enough. As a result, risky injection oil drilling permits increased by 18 percent. (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/30/18703640.php)

• California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA): Brown is trying to weaken or even eliminate CEQA, one of California's greatest environmental laws, to fast-track big developments for giant corporations like Walmart, Berkshire Hathaway, General Electric, Valero and Chevron.

• Clear cutting in the Sierra Nevada: Brown is doing nothing to stop Sierra Pacific Industries from clear cutting forests, destroying wildlife habitat, and contributing to climate change.

• "Theme Park" Wetlands: The Department of Fish and Wildlife under the Jerry Brown administration is working with the Annenberg Foundation to bulldoze a section of the Ballona Wetlands to build an interpretive center and help with the "restoration" of the land around the center.

As I have documented in article after article, Brown, rather than a being an "environmental leader" as some proclaim, appears to be on a relentless march to the destruction of fish, water and the environment. He has definitely earned the nickname of "Big Oil Brown."

For more information about Brown's abysmal environmental policies, go to: http://www.counterpunch.org/20... or http://www.alternet.org/enviro...  

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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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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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Big Oil spokesman admits water use will rise with expanded fracking

by: Dan Bacher

Thu May 08, 2014 at 08:35:41 AM PDT

Oil and gas industry representatives constantly like to talk about the "small amounts" of water that the industry currently uses in fracking operations in Kern County and coastal areas of California.

However, on April 28, Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and former press spokesman for the Westlands Water District, admitted in an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) what the anti-fracking community has known for a long time: Once they figure out how to make the Monterey Shale economically viable, the water usage will ramp up significantly.

Here is a partial transcript of Lauren Sommer's interview with Hull, courtesy of the Stop Fracking California State facebook page:

TUPPER HULL: In California today, hydraulic fracturing uses very small amounts of water.

SOMMER: Tupper Hull is with the Western States Petroleum Association, an oil industry group. He points out, all together, fracking operations in California currently use the same amount of water each year as 650 homes do.

HULL: It is not a lot of water in the big picture. Companies are looking very diligently at ways to reduce that number.

SOMMER: But a drilling boom in the Monterey Shale could change that. Fracking there uses more water than anywhere else in the state, up to a million gallons per well.

HULL: I think it's fair to say that if this technology that has proved so successful in other parts of the country can be as successful here, that we will see water consumption for hydraulic fracturing going up.

Listen Here: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/28/...

Yes, there is no doubt that "we will see water consumption for hydraulic fracturing going up" as the oil industry expands its fracking operations through the state's land and coastal waters.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the controversial process of injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals underground at high pressure in order to release and extract oil or gas. In California, the main target of fracking is the oil found in the Monterey Shale Formation.

Nobody really knows how much water is used for fracking in California. Although corporate agribusiness remains the biggest user of state and federal water project water exported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the oil industry uses significant quantities of water that will only increase with the expansion of fracking.

The oil industry's allies in state government, like the industry representatives themselves, try to minimize the amount of water that is used for hydraulic fracturing operations.

In a post on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) website on March 20, 2013, Richard Stapler, Deputy Secretary for Communications of the California Natural Resources Agency, claimed that only 8 acre feet of water is used every year for hydraulic fracturing in California. (http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/blog/blog/13-03-20/Oil_Water.aspx_)

In a recent blog piece on the WSPA website entitled, "Oil Production and the Drought: We Get It," Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create "marine protected areas" in Southern California, actually used a higher figure - "less than 300 acre feet of water" - for the amount of water used for fracking than Stapler did.

"Hydraulic fracturing does not use large volumes of water, at least not in California," Reheis-Boyd said. "All of the hydraulic fracturing that occurred last year used less than 300 acre feet of water, according to the California Department of Conservation. That's about the same amount of water needed to keep two West Coast golf courses green." (http://www.wspa.org/blog/post/oil-production-and-drought-we-get-it)

On the other hand, Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director for Food & Water Watch, revealed that the oil industry in Kern County, where 70 percent of California's oil reserves are located, used 150,000 acre feet of water in 2008 alone. This water was used for both steam injection and fracking operations.
(http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/04/1282205/-Groups-release-new-map-revealing-drainage-impaired-land-and-oil-basins.)  

"When you consider that 8 barrels of water are used for every barrel of oil extracted, you could be getting into millions of acre feet used for fracking oil wells," he noted.

If 30,000 potential fracking sites were utilized, that could result in the consumption of an additional 450,000 acre feet of water, considering that each fracking operation uses 15 acre feet of water, said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.

She also noted that the industry has used four times the amount of water that it has claimed in Colorado and other states where fracking has been used to extract oil and natural gas.

Although the amount specifically used in fracking operations is hard to pinpoint, one thing is for certain - oil companies use big quantities of water in their current oil drilling operations in Kern County. Much of this water comes through the State Water Project's California Aqueduct and the Central Valley Water Project's Delta-Mendota Canal, spurring increasing conflicts between local farmers and oil companies over available water when Californians continue to suffer from a historic drought

"What's resoundingly clear, however, is that it takes more water than ever just to sustain Kern County's ebbing oil production," according to Jeremy Miller's 2011 investigative piece, "The Colonization of Kern County," in Orion Magazine (http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6047/)

"At the height of California oil production in 1985, oil companies in Kern County pumped 1.1 billion barrels of water underground to extract 256 million barrels of oil-a ratio of roughly four and a half barrels of water for every barrel of oil," according to Miller. "In 2008, Kern producers injected nearly 1.3 billion barrels of water to extract 162 million barrels of oil-a ratio of nearly eight barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced."

Miller's investigation yielded some alarming data on how much water has been used by the oil industry in Kern County and statewide since the 1960s.

"In the time since steamflooding was pioneered here in the fields of Kern County in the 1960s, oil companies statewide have pumped roughly 2.8 trillion gallons of fresh water-or, in the parlance of agriculture, nearly 9 million acre-feet-underground in pursuit of the region's tarry oil," said Miller. "Essentially, enough water has been injected into the oil fields here over the last forty years to create a lake one foot deep covering more than thirteen thousand square miles-nearly twice the surface area of Lake Ontario."

Another thing that is very clear is that the expansion of fracking will cause massive contamination of groundwater and surface supplies in California. According to David Braun of Californians Against Fracking, the industry's own data indicated that 5 to 6% of the casings for fracked wells fail in the first year of operation - and 50 percent fail over a 30-year period.

Fracking operations use numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol, benzene, naphthalene and trimethylbenzene, that imperil groundwater supplies, rivers and lakes. Increased water contamination resulting from fracking operations in the Central Valley is the last thing that collapsing populations of Central Valley salmon and steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish populations need.

There is also no doubt that Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels would supply the water used to expand fracking in Kern County, as well as provide subsidized water to corporate agribusiness interests farming toxic, drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

On March 4, Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch released a new map that shows that the 35-mile long twin tunnels would mainly supply water to the largest agribusiness users of Delta water exports, land impaired by toxic selenium concentrations that make farming unsustainable, and the oil and gas basins where the energy industry could expand fracking.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla noted that fracking is another "water intensive industry" in the San Joaquin Valley that will further contaminate groundwater supplies already impaired by selenium, nitrates, pesticides and other pollutants.

"The governor's plan describes water for fracking via the proposed peripheral tunnels as a beneficial use," she stated, referring to the BDCP website. "Beneficial for whom? The peripheral tunnels would benefit unsustainable corporate agribusiness in one region and potentially the energy industry - at the expense of everyday Californians."

"This map shows a remarkable overlay of where our water is going, how the public subsidizes unsustainable crops on drainage-impaired lands, selenium concentrations that pose a threat to the public, and underlying oil deposits that could be fracked with water from the governor's tunnels," she said. "Unsustainable farming has damaged these lands. And the taxpayers have been subsidizing it."

Chook Chook Hillman, a member of the Karuk Tribe and the Klamath Justice Coalition, summed up the threat that fracking, massive water exports and the peripheral tunnels pose to salmon, other fish and people at a big rally against fracking attended by 4,000 people on March 14 at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

"Brown is setting aside all the environmental rules in order to ship water south," said Hillman. "Fracking will take good water, put chemicals in it and then it will come out toxic forever. Fracking will affect all us - fracking is a terrible use of water, water that could be used for people and fish." (http://intercontinentalcry.org/hundreds-tribal-representatives-join-huge-rally-oppose-fracking-22513/)

Background: How Fracking Contaminates Our Water and Air

Fracking routinely employs numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol, benzene, naphthalene and trimethylbenzene, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. About 25 percent of fracking chemicals could cause cancer, according to scientists with the Endocrine Disruption Exchange. Evidence is mounting throughout the country that these chemicals are making their way into aquifers and drinking water.

Water quality can also be threatened by methane contamination tied to drilling and the fracturing of rock formations. This problem has been highlighted by footage of people in fracked areas setting fire to methane-laced water from kitchen faucets.

Fracking can also expose people to harm from lead, arsenic and radioactivity that are brought back to the surface with fracking flowback fluid. Fracking requires an enormous amount of water, and because fracking waste water contains dangerous toxins it generally cannot be cleaned and reused for other purposes. Especially during a historic drought, we cannot afford to permanently remove massive quantities of this precious resource from our state's water supply.

Fracking also pollutes the air by releasing dangerous petroleum hydrocarbons, including benzene, toluene and xylene. It can also increase levels of ground-level ozone, a key risk factor for asthma and other respiratory illness. 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)

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

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Big Oil spokesman admits water use will rise with expanded fracking

by: Dan Bacher

Thu May 08, 2014 at 08:35:41 AM PDT

Oil and gas industry representatives constantly like to talk about the "small amounts" of water that the industry currently uses in fracking operations in Kern County and coastal areas of California.

However, on April 28, Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and former press spokesman for the Westlands Water District, admitted in an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) what the anti-fracking community has known for a long time: Once they figure out how to make the Monterey Shale economically viable, the water usage will ramp up significantly.

Here is a partial transcript of Lauren Sommer's interview with Hull, courtesy of the Stop Fracking California State facebook page:

TUPPER HULL: In California today, hydraulic fracturing uses very small amounts of water.

SOMMER: Tupper Hull is with the Western States Petroleum Association, an oil industry group. He points out, all together, fracking operations in California currently use the same amount of water each year as 650 homes do.

HULL: It is not a lot of water in the big picture. Companies are looking very diligently at ways to reduce that number.

SOMMER: But a drilling boom in the Monterey Shale could change that. Fracking there uses more water than anywhere else in the state, up to a million gallons per well.

HULL: I think it's fair to say that if this technology that has proved so successful in other parts of the country can be as successful here, that we will see water consumption for hydraulic fracturing going up.

Listen Here: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/28/...

Yes, there is no doubt that "we will see water consumption for hydraulic fracturing going up" as the oil industry expands its fracking operations through the state's land and coastal waters.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the controversial process of injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals underground at high pressure in order to release and extract oil or gas. In California, the main target of fracking is the oil found in the Monterey Shale Formation.

Nobody really knows how much water is used for fracking in California. Although corporate agribusiness remains the biggest user of state and federal water project water exported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the oil industry uses significant quantities of water that will only increase with the expansion of fracking.

The oil industry's allies in state government, like the industry representatives themselves, try to minimize the amount of water that is used for hydraulic fracturing operations.

In a post on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) website on March 20, 2013, Richard Stapler, Deputy Secretary for Communications of the California Natural Resources Agency, claimed that only 8 acre feet of water is used every year for hydraulic fracturing in California. (http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/blog/blog/13-03-20/Oil_Water.aspx_)

In a recent blog piece on the WSPA website entitled, "Oil Production and the Drought: We Get It," Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create "marine protected areas" in Southern California, actually used a higher figure - "less than 300 acre feet of water" - for the amount of water used for fracking than Stapler did.

"Hydraulic fracturing does not use large volumes of water, at least not in California," Reheis-Boyd said. "All of the hydraulic fracturing that occurred last year used less than 300 acre feet of water, according to the California Department of Conservation. That's about the same amount of water needed to keep two West Coast golf courses green." (http://www.wspa.org/blog/post/oil-production-and-drought-we-get-it)

On the other hand, Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director for Food & Water Watch, revealed that the oil industry in Kern County, where 70 percent of California's oil reserves are located, used 150,000 acre feet of water in 2008 alone. This water was used for both steam injection and fracking operations.
(http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/04/1282205/-Groups-release-new-map-revealing-drainage-impaired-land-and-oil-basins.)  

"When you consider that 8 barrels of water are used for every barrel of oil extracted, you could be getting into millions of acre feet used for fracking oil wells," he noted.

If 30,000 potential fracking sites were utilized, that could result in the consumption of an additional 450,000 acre feet of water, considering that each fracking operation uses 15 acre feet of water, said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.

She also noted that the industry has used four times the amount of water that it has claimed in Colorado and other states where fracking has been used to extract oil and natural gas.

Although the amount specifically used in fracking operations is hard to pinpoint, one thing is for certain - oil companies use big quantities of water in their current oil drilling operations in Kern County. Much of this water comes through the State Water Project's California Aqueduct and the Central Valley Water Project's Delta-Mendota Canal, spurring increasing conflicts between local farmers and oil companies over available water when Californians continue to suffer from a historic drought

"What's resoundingly clear, however, is that it takes more water than ever just to sustain Kern County's ebbing oil production," according to Jeremy Miller's 2011 investigative piece, "The Colonization of Kern County," in Orion Magazine (http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6047/)

"At the height of California oil production in 1985, oil companies in Kern County pumped 1.1 billion barrels of water underground to extract 256 million barrels of oil-a ratio of roughly four and a half barrels of water for every barrel of oil," according to Miller. "In 2008, Kern producers injected nearly 1.3 billion barrels of water to extract 162 million barrels of oil-a ratio of nearly eight barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced."

Miller's investigation yielded some alarming data on how much water has been used by the oil industry in Kern County and statewide since the 1960s.

"In the time since steamflooding was pioneered here in the fields of Kern County in the 1960s, oil companies statewide have pumped roughly 2.8 trillion gallons of fresh water-or, in the parlance of agriculture, nearly 9 million acre-feet-underground in pursuit of the region's tarry oil," said Miller. "Essentially, enough water has been injected into the oil fields here over the last forty years to create a lake one foot deep covering more than thirteen thousand square miles-nearly twice the surface area of Lake Ontario."

Another thing that is very clear is that the expansion of fracking will cause massive contamination of groundwater and surface supplies in California. According to David Braun of Californians Against Fracking, the industry's own data indicated that 5 to 6% of the casings for fracked wells fail in the first year of operation - and 50 percent fail over a 30-year period.

Fracking operations use numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol, benzene, naphthalene and trimethylbenzene, that imperil groundwater supplies, rivers and lakes. Increased water contamination resulting from fracking operations in the Central Valley is the last thing that collapsing populations of Central Valley salmon and steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish populations need.

There is also no doubt that Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels would supply the water used to expand fracking in Kern County, as well as provide subsidized water to corporate agribusiness interests farming toxic, drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

On March 4, Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch released a new map that shows that the 35-mile long twin tunnels would mainly supply water to the largest agribusiness users of Delta water exports, land impaired by toxic selenium concentrations that make farming unsustainable, and the oil and gas basins where the energy industry could expand fracking.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla noted that fracking is another "water intensive industry" in the San Joaquin Valley that will further contaminate groundwater supplies already impaired by selenium, nitrates, pesticides and other pollutants.

"The governor's plan describes water for fracking via the proposed peripheral tunnels as a beneficial use," she stated, referring to the BDCP website. "Beneficial for whom? The peripheral tunnels would benefit unsustainable corporate agribusiness in one region and potentially the energy industry - at the expense of everyday Californians."

"This map shows a remarkable overlay of where our water is going, how the public subsidizes unsustainable crops on drainage-impaired lands, selenium concentrations that pose a threat to the public, and underlying oil deposits that could be fracked with water from the governor's tunnels," she said. "Unsustainable farming has damaged these lands. And the taxpayers have been subsidizing it."

Chook Chook Hillman, a member of the Karuk Tribe and the Klamath Justice Coalition, summed up the threat that fracking, massive water exports and the peripheral tunnels pose to salmon, other fish and people at a big rally against fracking attended by 4,000 people on March 14 at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

"Brown is setting aside all the environmental rules in order to ship water south," said Hillman. "Fracking will take good water, put chemicals in it and then it will come out toxic forever. Fracking will affect all us - fracking is a terrible use of water, water that could be used for people and fish." (http://intercontinentalcry.org/hundreds-tribal-representatives-join-huge-rally-oppose-fracking-22513/)

Background: How Fracking Contaminates Our Water and Air

Fracking routinely employs numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol, benzene, naphthalene and trimethylbenzene, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. About 25 percent of fracking chemicals could cause cancer, according to scientists with the Endocrine Disruption Exchange. Evidence is mounting throughout the country that these chemicals are making their way into aquifers and drinking water.

Water quality can also be threatened by methane contamination tied to drilling and the fracturing of rock formations. This problem has been highlighted by footage of people in fracked areas setting fire to methane-laced water from kitchen faucets.

Fracking can also expose people to harm from lead, arsenic and radioactivity that are brought back to the surface with fracking flowback fluid. Fracking requires an enormous amount of water, and because fracking waste water contains dangerous toxins it generally cannot be cleaned and reused for other purposes. Especially during a historic drought, we cannot afford to permanently remove massive quantities of this precious resource from our state's water supply.

Fracking also pollutes the air by releasing dangerous petroleum hydrocarbons, including benzene, toluene and xylene. It can also increase levels of ground-level ozone, a key risk factor for asthma and other respiratory illness. 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)

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

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Attend anti-tunnels comment party on May 13

by: Dan Bacher

Mon May 05, 2014 at 14:43:48 PM PDT

Restore the Delta (RTD) will host a party for a great cause on Tuesday, May 13 - a "Public Comment Party" to complete more than one hundred citizens comments against the environmentally destructive peripheral tunnels.

The event will run from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Reserve at Spanos Park, Mt. Diablo Room 6301 W. Eight Mile Rd. in Stockton.

RTD, opponents of Gov. Brown's plan to build Peripheral Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom Central Valley Chinook salmon and other Pacific fisheries, noted that people have just a few weeks left to respond to the Brown Administration's 40,000 page proposed BDCP Plan.

"It's nearly impossible for a concerned citizen to review and digest this avalanche of information, and misinformation, alone," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. "We call all concerned citizens to write comment letters, and be counted. RTD will provide examples and instructions on how to identify impacts on your property, business and communities. Walk out with your comment letter!"

She said RTD will provide a list of areas of concern affecting all area residents, and will have experts in attendance to explain potential negative impacts. Here is a sample BDCP response letter that residents can personalize and submit: http://yx17.us/p/?_1723-4/1SIC...  

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

This event is NOT open to state or federal officials and land management organizations, water agency representatives from outside the Delta, or participants in the BDCP.

The tunnels would divert Sacramento River water for use by corporate agribusiness interests, oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County, and Southern California water agencies. The implementation of the tunnels plan 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 river.

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.

Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve@hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft; @MrSandHillCrane; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 barbara@restorethedelta.org; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta  

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Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan Lacks Answers

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 09:32:26 AM PDT

As many taxpayers were scurrying to send in their state and federal taxes on April 15, three environmental groups asked the big, unanswered question looming over the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the twin tunnels: who will pay?

"With just 60 days remaining for public examination and comment, the parties involved in the creation, planning and implementation of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) have failed to reveal a binding Implementation Agreement (IA) showing how the Delta tunnels project will be financed, built or operated," according to a news release from Restore the Delta, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and the Environmental Water Caucus.

The groups said the "continuing failure" to file the agreement without specificity and detail highlights the unwillingness of water exporters to document a commitment to funding construction and mitigation costs for the proposed Delta tunnels project. Specific financing information for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan has not been included in the 40,000 page BDPC Plan and corresponding EIR.

Bill Jennings, executive director, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), said, "If they cannot explain in the implementation agreement how the 40,000 pages of fantasy in the BDCP and the EIR are going to be implemented or financed, then how can the public be expected to comment effectively by June 13, 2014, or any date for that matter?"

"State and Federal Water Contractors have refused to make binding commitments to ensure species recovery nor have they agreed on how to finance or operate the tunnels project that has only been 10% designed," said Restore the Delta (RTD) Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. "The cost of this project has ballooned so high that many of the water exporters are already backing away from paying their share of costs. We hope that when the governor and water exporters finally see the real BDCP cost numbers, they will join us in advocating for more reasonable alternatives."  

"What the current drought crisis shows us is that all rules and laws protecting the Delta, which had been created to deal with standards for dry conditions, are subject to rollback, even when the cause behind the crisis is mismanagement," said Nick di Croce of the Environmental Water Caucus (EWC). "The lateness and lack of specificity in the Implementation Agreement demonstrates that the BDCP would never be managed or governed for the health of the estuary. It would be operated to drain every last drop out of the system to send to Westlands and the Kern County Water Agency."

For more information, contact:
Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve [at] hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft; @MrSandHillCrane
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 barbara [at] restorethedelta.org; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta
Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance - deltakeep [at] me.com; 209/938-9053
Nick di Croce, Environmental Water Caucus - 805-688-7813; troutnk [at] aol.com

Friends of the River, in response to the refusal by Bay Delta Conservation Plan officials to post public comments, on April 10 announced that it is posting all comments made on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Water Tunnels project on its website, http://www.friendsoftheriver.org, under the heading Bay Delta Conservation Plan Public Comment Library.

According to the announcement from Friends of the River, "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."

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