[mobile site, backup mobile]
[SoapBlox Help]
Menu & About Calitics

Make a New Account

Username:

Password:



Forget your username or password?

- About Calitics
- The Rules (Legal Stuff)
- Event Calendar
- Calitics' ActBlue Page
- Calitics RSS Feed
- Additional Advertisers


View All Calitics Tags Or Search with Google:
 
Web Calitics

Governor Jerry Brown

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."

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Brown reappoints former Resources Legacy head to Delta Conservancy

by: Dan Bacher

Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 23:23:06 PM PDT

Jerry Brown, one of the worst Governors for fish, wildlife and the environment in California history, on March 28 appointed Michael Eaton, 62, of Galt,  to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy, where he has served since 2010.

Eaton has been owner of Kingbird Farms since 2010, according to the announcement from the Governor's Office. He was executive director at the Resources Legacy Fund and Resources Legacy Fund Foundation from 2007 to 2010 and project director at the Nature Conversancy from 1995 to 2007.

Eaton headed the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, known for its support of corporate greenwashing campaigns in California, as it was funding the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called "marine protected areas" that don't protect the ocean.

The MLPA Initiative was characterized by numerous conflicts of interests, terminally flawed science and the overt violation of the Yurok and other Tribes' traditional fishing and gathering rights. The process that Eaton's group funded created questionable "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, corporate aquaculture, wind and wave energy projects and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.

In a huge conflict of interest, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California from 2009 to 2011. (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mpa/brtf_bios_sc.asp)

During the period from 2004 to 2012, she also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. Under her leadership, she and other corporate interests made sure that oil industry operations, including fracking operations in Southern California waters, weren't impacted at all by the creation of "marine protected areas."  

More recently, the corruption of the individuals overseeing the process was evidenced by the guilty plea by Ron LeValley, Co-Chair of the MLPA Initiative Science Advisory Team for the North Coast, on federal embezzlement charges. LeValley is scheduled for sentencing in May for his role in a conspiracy to embezzle nearly $1 million from the Yurok Tribe, the same Tribe whose scientists he inexplicably refused to allow present scientific studies that contested the junk science the process was based upon.

The Resources Legacy Fund Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation that funds it are also known for dumping millions into corporate environmental NGOs that support a peripheral canal or tunnel, as well as funding the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) reports advocating the construction of a peripheral canal or tunnel.

Besides serving as Executive Director of the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund and Resources Legacy Foundation, Eaton was an independent environmental policy consultant from 1983 to 1995 and assistant secretary for resources policy at the California Resources Agency from 1981 to 1983.

This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Eaton is a Democrat.

Michael Eaton's reappointment by Brown is a classic example of the revolving door between foundations, corporate "environmental" NGOs, corporations and government that characterizes environmental committees and processes in California.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Environmental Water Caucus Unveils Real-Time Drought Response

by: Dan Bacher

Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 18:21:00 PM PDT

As the drought continues, Governor Jerry Brown and other politicians continue to promote the Bay Day Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels as the "solution" to California's water problems.

Others in Congress, such as Representative Devin Nunes and Senator Majority Leader John Boehner, are using the drought as an opportunity to promote legislation that will eviscerate protections for Central Valley salmon, in order to ship Delta water to corporate agribusiness interests and oil companies, and to build more dams throughout the state.

On the other hand, the Environmental Water Caucus, a broad coalition of fishing groups, Indian Tribes, conservation groups and environmental justice organizations, has released a response to the drought pointing to ways that permanently use less water and better manage the hundreds of existing dams and reservoirs that already exist.

"With a history of recurring drought in California- 40% of recent years have been drought level years California ought to be well prepared for these conditions. Instead we have another of the usual 'emergency drought proclamations' from the Governor," said Nick Di Croce, CoFacilitator of the Environmental Water Caucus.

Di Croce cited the kinds of actions that are "really needed to get us out of this recurring cycle," as recommended by the member organizations of the Environmental Water Caucus. These include:

• Provide funding of mandatory programs for urban and agricultural efficiencies and conservation. This would include measures such as incentives to purchase high efficiency toilets, clothes washers and dishwashers, storm water capture, urban landscape replacement, groundwater cleanup, waste water treatment and recycling, green water infrastructure, and higher technology farm irrigation practices and equipment. All of these actions have proven successful in the recent past, especially compared to the costs of water from new dams.

• Develop water pricing guidelines to incentivize reduced use of urban and agricultural water with local baselines and steep upward price escalation for usage above the baselines.

• Develop enforceable regional per capita water usage targets based on the efficiency and conservation measures adopted.

• Report and monitor groundwater usage in order to minimize groundwater overdraft. California is the only major state that does not monitor or control its groundwater.

• Retire impaired farmlands in the San Joaquin Valley which now pollute our groundwater and rivers and use excessive amounts of irrigation water; these lands could be repurposed as solar farms.

• Develop water pricing incentives for planting crops which directly contribute to the nation's food supply. As we reach the limits of our water supply, we need to question the use of that valuable resource in order to ensure the best use of our water.

• Reduce exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta to a sustainable level aimed at protecting our water supplies as well as fish and habitat.

• Operate major dams with a larger reserve held back for the 40% of low water years that can be anticipated. The major orientation of dam operations should be to protect water quality, drinking water, fisheries, and habitats.

• Reduce water district contract amounts to a more reasonable level in keeping with future reduced water supplies and to eliminate the current "paper water. "The state has promised 5-1/2 times more water rights than the water that actually exists," said Carolee Krieger, Executive Director of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), a member organization of the Environmental Water Caucus.

• Restrict the use of water for fracking oil and natural gas. The limitations of our water supply require that we not use that resource for a completely new water polluting industry.

• Assure that adequate water supplies are provided to disadvantaged communities and that the water quality for poorer communities meets healthy standards.

"These are the kinds of actions that will be a real and permanent drought response," emphasized Di Croce.

I agree. There is no need to build the twin tunnels or new dams when all of these much better options for restoring the Bay Delta Estuary, California rivers and coastal waters while providing water for the needs of Californians are available.

Likewise, we must ban the environmentally destructive practice of hydraulic fracturing that uses precious water needed for drinking water supplies, family farmers and fish at at a time when California reels from the impacts of a record drought. We cannot allow one single drop of water to be used to expand fracking in California.

The member organizations of the Environmental Water Caucus include the AquAlliance, Butte Environmental Council, California Coastkeeper Alliance, California Save Our Streams Council, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Striped Bass Association, California Water Impact Network, Clean Water Action, Citizens Water Watch, Desal Response Group, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Environmental Protection Information Center, Earth Law Center, Fish Sniffer Magazine, Foothill Conservancy, Friends of the River, Food & Water Watch, Granite Bay Flycasters, Institute for Fisheries Resources, The Karuk Tribe, North Coast Environmental Center, Northern California Council, Federation of Fly Fishers, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, Planning & Conservation League, Restore the Delta, Sacramento River Preservation Trust, Sierra Club California, Sierra Nevada Alliance, Southern California Watershed Alliance and Winnemem Wintu Tribe.

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

Contacts:
Nick Di Croce, Co-Facilitator, Environmental Water Caucus
troutnk [at] aol.com, 805-688-7813
Conner Everts, Southern California Watershed Alliance
connere [at] west.net, (310) 804-6615
Eric Wesselman, Executive Director, Friends of the River
eric [at] friendsoftheriver.org, (510) 775-3797

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Governor Tunnel Dream announces run for fourth term

by: Dan Bacher

Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 16:19:27 PM PST

When a photo of Governor Jerry Brown signing a document appeared on his facebook page on February 27, anti-fracking activists were hoping he was signing an executive order to ban the environmentally destructive, water-intensive oil extraction practice known as hydraulic fracturing in California.

Delta advocates were hoping he was signing an executive order to abolish the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and to adopt instead the Environmental Water Caucus Responsible Exports Plan.

And environmental justice and ocean protection advocates were hoping Brown was signing an executive order calling for a strict ban on oil drilling, fracking, pollution, corporate aquaculture, wind and wave energy projects and other human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering in the so-called "marine protected areas" created under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.

Unfortunately, Governor Brown was instead taking out the papers to run for an unprecedented fourth term.

In his official announcement kicking off his reelection campaign, Brown brought up the drought and climate change. He said we "live in unprecedented times" and that the current drought is a "portent of times to come." (Does he know something that we don't know?)

"We live in unprecedented times," said Brown. "The tasks ahead are not simple or mundane. The climate itself is changing, threatening catastrophic and irreversible damage to the oceans and natural systems on which human beings and other forms of life depend. In many respects, California is leading the way and we will continue to do so by encouraging many kinds of innovation and by joining with other states and nations. But this is a global problem and only by acting both locally and globally do we have any chance of reducing the unrelenting increase of heat-trapping gasses."

He continued, "The current drought is a portent of weather to come. It should awaken us to the actions we need to take this year and in the years to follow. Water is more than a resource. It is a vital and fundamental element of our wellbeing. In the next few years, we need to make solid progress in managing our water both above and below the ground."

However, he avoided discussing the highly unpopular Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the twin tunnels, saying only, "I pledge my full commitment to bringing all the disparate parties together and working to achieve sensible, scientific and sustainable water policies."

If Brown really wants to "bring the disparate parties" together, he should actually talk and meet with the people he has excluded from the state's environmental processes and water policy discussions - Indian Tribes, recreational and commercial fishermen, grassroots environmentalists, Delta residents and family farmers.

And he should completely abandon the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, a $67 billion boondoggle that will only enrich corporate agribusiness interests, oil companies and Southern California water agencies at the expense of family farmers, salmon and the vast majority of Californians. Why is he pursuing an enormously expensive and environmentally destructive plan that won't create one drop of new water.

And how can he keep promoting the expansion of water intensive fracking in California during a drought? We can't spare one single drop of water on fracking when family farmers, cities and fish don't have enough water for their needs.

As Brown promotes fracking, Restore the Delta (RTD) and Food and Water Watch, opponents of Governor Brown's Bay Delta Conservation to build the peripheral tunnels, will hold a teleconference on Tuesday, March 4, at 2 pm to release a new map depicting the overlap between the largest agricultural users of Bay-Delta water exports, land impaired by selenium concentrations that make farming unsustainable, and oil and gas basins that could be fracked.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, and Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director of Food & Water Watch, will be the featured speakers.

"This map will show 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," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. "Unsustainable farming has damaged these lands. And the taxpayers have been subsidizing it. Fracking is another water intensive industry in the San Joaquin Valley that will further contaminate groundwater supplies."

"The governor's plan describes water for fracking via the proposed peripheral tunnels as a beneficial use. 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," concluded Barrigan-Parrilla.

Governor Jerry Brown is fast-tracking the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the build the peripheral tunnels in order to export Delta water to corporate agribusiness interests, oil companies and Southern California water agencies. The construction of the tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperiling salmon and steelhead populations on the Klamath and Trinity rivers.

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

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

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Delta advocates, Winnemem Tribe call on Obama to not support tunnels

by: Dan Bacher

Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 17:50:32 PM PST

Advocates for the restoration of Central Valley salmon and the Delta rallied with colorful signs and banners at an intersection surrounded by fields on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley 12 miles west of the town of Firebaugh on Friday, February 14, urging President Obama to not support Governor Jerry Brown's peripheral tunnel plan.

The diverse group of over 60 people, including fishermen, Delta farmers, environmentalists and a Winnemem Wintu Tribe leader, also called on Obama to let federal science officials to their jobs regarding the protection of salmon and Delta fish populations without interference - and to support sustainable water policies that balance the needs of fish, wildlife and people. Many of the group traveled from Stockton via a chartered bus and car pools that morning that ended up at the intersection Althea and Oxford roads.

The signs included slogans such as "Fish Need Flows," "Something Is Fishy About BDCP," "Thank You For Not Supporting HR 3924," "Save the Delta, Stop the Tunnels," "Don't Let BDCP Muck Up the Delta," "Dear Obama, Please No Tunnels - Yours Truly the Delta," and "Unsustainable Mega Growers Want California Water." Photos of the event are available at: http://www.indybay.org/newsite...

The Delta advocates, organized by Restore the Delta, and a dozen press vans were waiting for the presidential motorcade to go by to send their message to Obama, but the President instead decided to fly by helicopter to a closed door meeting with a select group of corporate agribusiness interests, state and government officials and local leaders.

Obama, accompanied by Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Jim Costa, met with Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Birmingham, General Manager of the Westlands Water District, Jose and Maria Del Bosque, west side agribusiness owners, Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farmworkers Union, and other officials to discuss drought relief.

Obama unveiled a $183 million drought aid package, including $100 million in livestock disaster assistance for California producers; $15 million in targeted conservation assistance for the most extreme and exceptional drought areas; and $5 million in targeted Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program assistance to the most drought impacted areas of California to protect vulnerable soils. The package also contains $60 million for food banks to help families that may be economically impacted by the drought and $3 million in Emergency Water Assistance Grants for rural communities experiencing water shortages.

The President didn't invite any Delta residents, leaders of California Indian Tribes, Sacramento Valley or Delta farmers, commercial fishermen and recreational anglers, who have been also dramatically impacted by California's unprecedented drought, to the meeting. However, Restore the Delta and local activists did their best to get their message out to the national, regional and local media gathered there - and were very successful conveying their message to a variety outlets, ranging from NBC News, to the Washington Post, to Pacifica News.

"It's extremely significant that President Obama is willing to meet with the people down here on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, but not with people on the Delta," said Javier Padilla, the Latino outreach director of Restore the Delta. "I believe that he came here because there are a lot of big money interests here and John Boehner, the House Majority Leader came down to the west side recently."

Michael Tuiimyali, Winnemem Wintu Member and a recent U.C. Berkeley graduate, noted that members of his Tribe and other California Indian Tribes weren't invited to Obama's meeting and tour. He emphasized the importance of salmon and the Delta to the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, a strong opponent of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels.

"The collapse of salmon and the Delta is a threat to our cultural survival," he said. "Our prophecies say that if the salmon go extinct, so will the Winnemem Wintu people. We don't take this prophecy too lightly."

He said the raising of Shasta Dam, a federal plan designed to provide more water to agribusiness interests in conjunction with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, would "flood our our culture." The widely opposed plan would inundate many of the remaining sites on the McCloud River that weren't flooded when Shasta Dam was completed in the 1940s.

"The dam raise would flood over 30 of our most important sites, including Puberty Rock, the Dance Grounds, Sucker Pool, Childrens' Rock and Wishing Rock," he said. "The dam raise would flooded the old campground where we do our ceremony that is located on the site of an old Winnemem village. There are still lots of artifacts in this area."

He added that the winter-run Chinook salmon native to the McCloud River is an indicator of the entire Delta ecosystem - and without the restoration of the salmon, the whole ecosystem will collapse.

In the morning, Restore the Delta (RTD) held a press conference at the Holiday Inn in Fresno. Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD Executive Director, said that President Obama "should not be misled" that the peripheral tunnels are of any value in meeting California's water challenges highlighted by the record drought conditions.

"We implore him not to support this boondoggle that mainly benefits a handful of mega-growers," she said. "The President needs to know where our water is going in order to decide whether to spend billions to continue feeding water buffaloes, or to change direction. Westlands Water District uses the current water scarcity to push the Peripheral Tunnels, but that is the wrong answer. We ask the president to meet with Delta farmers and community leaders as well."

She also said California needs alternatives to the current, failed water policies, which" treat water as though it were a limitless resource."

"California needs to reduce the demand for water, and reduce reliance on the Delta," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "The combination of these demand reduction actions, plus reinforcement of Delta levees, improvement of south Delta fish screens and salvage operations, elimination of harmful water transfers through the Delta, and numerous fish protections, preclude the need for the BDCP twin tunnels."

Jerry Cadagan, Tuolumne County sustainable water policy advocate, told the press conference that west side San Joaquin Valley agribusiness is not the only industry impacted by the drought - that all Californians, including the recreational and fishing industry that depends on healthy Central Valley salmon and Delta fish populations, are suffering from record lack of precipitation.

"As the President focuses on the problems of the agricultural industry, we must remember that almost all Californians are in a world of hurt due to the drought," he said. "My county of Tuolumne will run out of water by July for essentials like drinking water if we don't get some relief. Just as the farmers in the Valley provide us with food, so do the fishermen on the coast."

Cadagan stated, "The fishing industry has the same employment and economic problems as the growers of fruits and nuts. There needs to be a better balance in how we allocate our water and relief dollars."

The Delta farm industry contributes $5.2 billion per year to California's economy, while the salmon, crab and other fishing operations that depend upon the health of the Delta contributed another $1.5 billion per year, according to Barrigan-Parrilla. The Delta recreation industry, led by recreational fishing and boating, also provides $750,000 per year to the economy.

Corporate agribusiness on the Valley's west side only contributes less than 3/10 of 1 percent to the state's economy, said Barrigan-Parrilla.

Jay Hubbel, an organizer of Fresnans Against Fracking, highlighted the institutional poverty that corporate agribusiness has perpetuated on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, an area where unemployment averages around 20 percent even in wet years.

"If big agribusiness could bring jobs and prosperity to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, they would have done so already," said Hubble. "My family has been in Fresno since 1959 and the west side has always been synonymous with poverty."

The west side is no doubt a region characterized by institutional poverty. Debra Lopez of Dos Palos, who runs the clothing project for the local Methodist Church, came to the rally to talk to Delta advocates and the media about what the drought will mean to local farmworker families, many of who expect to be unemployed this year if the drought persists.

"Our food bank that gives out food to local families can barely handle the people that it helps now," she pointed out.

Delta resident Rogene Reynolds, the descendent of pioneer Delta farming families, summed up that the construction of tunnels of the tunnels under the BDCP will amount to a "massive transfer of wealth" from the public to corporate interests."

"As we know, in California water is wealth," she said. "The peripheral tunnels are a massive transfer of that wealth from all of the rest of us to Westlands and Kern billionaires who are growing permanent crops for export."

"The excuse of revitalizing the Delta (under the BDCP) is just political cover for that transfer. The losers in this process will be the California taxpayers, who will fund a massive project to satisfy the greed of a few," Reynolds concluded.

Restore the Delta's solutions to California's water needs:

At the press conference, Restore the Delta urged the governor to adopt these sustainable water policies:

1. Expand and fund statewide water efficiency, recycling, storm water reuse, and demand reduction programs beyond the scale of the current 20/20 program. Make the program mandatory for urban and agricultural users.

2. Retire agricultural land in the San Joaquin Valley that is drainage impaired. These lands are mostly in the Westlands Water District.

3. Reduce exports from the Delta during dry and critically dry water years to the level that will support public health and safety. In normal and above normal water years, limit exports from the Delta to 3 million acre-feet; which provide adequate outflows - in accordance with SWRCB guidelines - and help restore Delta habitat and fisheries.

4. Maintain water quality standards in the estuary and in impaired rivers.

5. Monitor and report statewide groundwater usage.

6. Return the Kern Water Bank to state control, restore the Article 18 urban preference, and restore the original intent of Article 21 surplus water in SWP contracts.

7. Preserve the provisions of state and federal Endangered Species Act, Wild and Scenic River protections, San Joaquin River Settlement, and the Central Valley Project Improvement Act.

8. Revise water rights and contract levels to align with water that is actually available. The State has granted five times the amount of water that is available in a typical year. Rein in "paper water" that now exists.

http://www.restorethedelta.org.  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Where Did All The Water Go?

by: Dan Bacher

Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 13:49:29 PM PST

Water Buffaloes, Egregious Mismanagement and Better Water Policies

Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, will hold a teleconference on Monday, Feb. 10 at 10 am to answer the question of "Where Did All the Water Go?"

Experts will release new information and charts showing where California's water went, how the State of California contributed to the current water scarcity through "egregious mismanagement," and offer better policies for a sustainable water future.  

"Who took all the water over the past decade, and for what?" asked Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. "Californians need to know where our water is going in order to decide whether to continue feeding water buffaloes or to change direction. Some use the current water scarcity to push the Peripheral Tunnels, but that is the wrong answer."

The featured speakers are Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta; Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director, Food & Water Watch; Bill Jennings, Executive Director, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance; and Lloyd Carter, investigative reporter, expert on Westlands Water District

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

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

Last summer, high water releases down the Sacramento, Feather and American rivers left Shasta, Oroville and Folsom reservoirs at dangerously low levels. Shasta is at 36 percent of capacity and 53 percent of average; Oroville, 36 percent of capacity and 54 percent of average; and Folsom, 17 percent of capacity and 32 percent of average.

Yet Pyramid Lake in Southern California is at 96 percent of capacity and 101 percent of average, while Castaic Reservoir is 86 percent of capacity and 102 percent of average.

The state and federal governments shipped massive quantities of water to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, the Kern Water Bank, oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County and Southern California water agencies. The massive diversions of water during a drought are now imperiling northern California water supplies and struggling Central Valley salmon and Delta fish populations.

For more information, go to: http://www.fishsniffer.com/blo...

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Restore the Delta slams Brown for singing from 'Mega-Growers Hymnal'

by: Dan Bacher

Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 05:10:25 AM PST

Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, today blasted Governor Jerry Brown for urging President Obama to pressure federal scientists to suspend their expert judgment and approve his tunnels.

In a short clip from Sacto TV KCRA Channel 3 on January 30, Jerry Brown described his conversation with Obama talking about the "Delta project" and says (starting at about 18 seconds) "lower level [Federal] officials aren't being helpful .... in fact quite the opposite."

"It is outrageous that Governor Brown is using the drought to push the president to override federal biologists who think the water tunnels are too risky," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. "The federal scientists are the only ones willing to stand up to special interests that want to violate the Public Trust, and transfer wealth from this region to mega irrigators with toxic soils on the west side that are last in the water bucket line."

"The governor has bullied the state scientists into going along with him, but he has not yet cowed the federal experts into disregarding their conclusions and agreeing that Gov. Brown's tunnels are a solution to our water challenges," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "What's remarkable is that Gov. Brown is using nearly the exact same language as the Westlands Water District. Clearly, he is carrying their water at the expense of the rest of us."

Barrigan-Parrilla cited language used by the Governor as "right from the Westlands Water District script." The excerpts below are from Westlands General Manager Tom Birmingham at a Westlands Water District Board Meeting on January 15, 2004:

@ 43:03 Transcript Pg 4: Tom Birmingham "They [the state] say this is going to work just fine. And yet, you've got biologists in the federal agencies-not people in political positions or even management positions-we've got biologists who are saying 'we still don't know if this is going to work. There's too much risk associated with it'."
[44:25]

"So it's very exasperating. But again, if these issues are not resolved, we're done. That message is being sent very clearly to the federal agencies."  

....The basic problem is that every time you complete a stage, the federal agencies-the biologists in those federal agencies-say, 'We need more analysis. We need more analysis.' They don't want an agency decision."  

Barrigan-Parrilla said that instead of operating in a manner that plans for regular droughts, the State Water Project depletes storage under the theory that they should 'take it while it's there,' and they thereby make the dry year shortages even worse.

"This past year the State pumped over 800 thousand acre-feet (TAF) more than it had promised, making the water shortage worse, and compliance with water quality and fishery standards impossible," she explained.

Restore the Delta issued the statement on the same day that the Department of Water Resources (DWR) said State Water Project customers would get zero water deliveries this year if the drought conditions continue.

"Except for a small amount of carryover water from 2013, customers of the State Water Project (SWP) will get no deliveries in 2014 if current dry conditions persist and deliveries to agricultural districts with long-standing water rights in the Sacramento Valley may be cut 50 percent - the maximum permitted by contract - depending upon future snow survey results," according to DWR. "It is important to note that almost all areas served by the SWP have other sources of water, such as groundwater, local reservoirs, and other supplies."

Barrigan-Parrilla urged the state and water agencies to invest in projects that yield new water and jobs, rather than spending billions on the fish-killing twin tunnels.

"We have had three dry years in a row and the governor admits the tunnels won't add one drop of water to our drought-plagued state," she stated. "We need solutions more appropriate to our future water challenges, not this $60 billion mega-project that would misspend the billions needed for sustainable water solutions."

"The better approach would be to invest wisely in projects that actually produce new water and local jobs. California needs more water recycling projects, such as Orange County's that is producing enough water for 600,000 residents each year. By cleaning up groundwater, we will create another new supply and room to store water when it is truly available," concluded Barrigan-Parrilla.

State and feds drained northern California reservoirs

The Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Water Resources systematically drained northern California reservoirs last summer, resulting in low flows and endangering salmon and steelhead in the Sacramento, Feather and American rivers, while filling Southern California water banks and reservoirs.

Last summer, high water releases down the Sacramento, Feather and American rivers left Shasta, Oroville and Folsom reservoirs at dangerously low levels. Shasta is at 36 percent of capacity and 54 percent of average; Oroville, 36 percent of capacity and 54 percent of average; and Folsom, 17 percent of capacity and 34 percent of average.

Yet Pyramid Lake in Southern California is at 98 percent of capacity and 105 percent of average, while Castaic Reservoir is 86 percent of capacity and 105 percent of average.

The state and federal water agencies exported massive quantities of water to agribusiness interests and Southern California water agencies, endangering local water supplies and fish populations as the ecosystem continues to collapse. (http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/22/6090426/northern-california-reservoirs.html)

Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, explained how the water was mismanaged.

"We entered 2013 with Shasta, Oroville and Folsom reservoirs at 115 percent, 113 percent, and 121 percent of historical average storage. In April, they were still at 101 percent, 108 percent and 96 percent of average," said Jennings.

"With no rainfall and little snowpack, the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau (of Reclamation) notified their contractors that water deliveries would be reduced. But they didn't reduce deliveries. Instead, they actually exported 835,000 acre-feet more water than they said they would be able to deliver," said Jennings. (http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/26/6097073/viewpoints-better-solutions-for.html)

Ironically, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will have enough water in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to supply its users while Sacramento, Folsom and other cities have been forced to cut water use by 20 percent.

"We'll have plenty of water in 2015," Jeffrey Kightlinger, Metropolitan's general manager, told the Sacramento Bee. "And even if it's still a drought, we'll still have enough water in 2016." (http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/12/6063205/california-drought-will-test-jerry.html#storylink=cpy)

Jennings said the present crisis could have been avoided, and is a "direct result of egregious mismanagement of the state's water supply system by the state and federal water projects."

"Excessive water exports and the failure to prepare for inevitable drought have created a decades-long disaster for fisheries, and placed the people and economic prosperity of northern California at grave risk. The State's obsession with tunneling under the Delta does nothing to address drought, or put us on a path to correct the misuse of limited water supplies," he added.

The proposed peripheral tunnels will undoubtedly kill the sensitive Delta, a delicate mix of salt and freshwater, that is vital to the life cycle of Central Valley Chinook salmon, as well as thousands of other fish and species, according to the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.

"There is no precedent for the killing of an estuary of this size, so how could any study be trusted to protect the Delta for salmon and other fish? How can they even know what the effects will be?" said Winnemem Wintu Chief and Spiritual Leader Caleen Sisk. "The end of salmon would also mean the end of Winnemem, so the BDCP is a threat to our very existence as indigenous people."

Sisk emphasized, "When you were not looking, they stole the water for Southern California, Westlands Water District, Stewart Resnick and Paramount Farms and the Kern Water Bank while leaving Northern California reservoirs dry. They call it a drought, but the drought has been happening for the last 5 years or more."

"These dams are supposed to be efficient in times like these, but they will never work when water mongers are in charge," said Sisk. "They want the dumbed down public to believe now that building the twin tunnels and raising Shasta Dam are what MUST BE DONE...to keep golf courses green, and fallow farms wet with drinking water! Why don't they use their 'reclaimed water' project there like they did on the San Francisco Peaks!"

Failure to plan ahead contributed to water shortage  

John Herrick, Restore the Delta board member and Counsel and Manager of the South Delta Water Agency, said the failure of the state and federal water projects to plan ahead contributed to the current water shortage.

"Last winter and spring the projects were concerned about not having enough water to meet fishery or agricultural standards, and so sought changes in their permits to allow for the relaxation of those standards," he said.

"At the same time, they projected the amount of water available for export. As soon as the projections were released, they began to pump MORE water than they projected; thus taking the water needed for fish and endangering future allocations for all purposes. If this had not been allowed, the reservoirs would have 800+ TAF more storage in them than they currently do," he noted.

"The Urgency Petition process is for actual, unforeseeable emergencies," said Herrick. "The State has known since at least September that we might be facing a horrible water supply year due to the lack of precipitation during the first 9 months of 2013. Knowing that reservoir levels were getting very low, and that the prior year had insufficient water for fish and water quality standards, the projects simply waited to see what would happen. Not until the very last minute did they file their Urgency Petition," he explained.

"Urgency Petitions require no public notice or input, but must be based on a finding that the petitioner exercised due diligence in getting the permit change under the normal petition process if possible. Since the projects have known for months that this scenario was facing them, they should have made their petition months ago. But that would have resulted in public notice, public hearing and input by the interests who depend on the current standards being met.

It appears that, as in the past, the projects manipulated the process to make sure there was no official opposition to their requests to violate the water quality standards. Worse, it appears the regulators (SWRCB staff) were working with the regulated projects outside of the public purview to make sure the petition remained unknown. Therefore, there was no contrary data submitted to contradict the pre-agreed to order granting the petition. What would have been the findings of the SWRCB Board if the information of the projects taking too much water last season were in the record?"

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

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Governor Jerry Brown Captures 2013 Cold, Dead Fish Award

by: Dan Bacher

Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 08:42:39 AM PST

While Brown easily cinched the "coveted" Cold, Dead Fish" award for 2013, he already faces stiff competition for the 2014 awards from Congressmen Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, and David Valadao.

The year 2013 was the driest year on record in California, with rivers such as the Capital City's American reduced to the lowest flows in decades.

Besides drought, the year was overshadowed by the amping up of Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels to export water to corporate agribusiness and Southern California water agencies. The over 40,000 pages of the plan and environmental documents were released on December 13.

Meanwhile, the forces against the tunnels continue to build momentum, with a number of rallies and protests held against the plan during the year, culminating with a big protest of over 400 people at the State Capitol on December 13.

Other environmental crimes of note include the Westlands Water District's unsuccessful litigation attempting to block the release of Trinity River water down the Klamath to avert a possible fish kill, the passage of Senate Bill 4 to greenlight fracking in California and the release of the fall midwater trawl survey documenting record low numbers of Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other species.

In addition, the export of massive quantities of water from Shasta, Oroville and Folsom reservoirs all summer resulted in extremely low lake levels, the violation of water standards protecting spawning winter run salmon on the Sacramento and the relaxing of Delta water standards.

To honor those who did the best to exterminate fish populations, violate the public trust and crush fishing rights in 2013, we are proudly giving out the "Cold, Dead Fish" awards for deserving individuals, elected officials, organizations and agencies.

We'll start off with the "Foot in the Mouth" prize that goes to former Deputy Resources Secretary Jerry Meral, who 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, as first revealed in Restore the Delta's "Delta Flows" newsletter.

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. Meral rejected those initial calls for his resignation, but did resign from his position on December 31 to go work for the Natural Heritage Institute, a corporate "environmental" NGO, to promote the tunnels.

The Westlands Water District and San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority filed a lawsuit in federal court in Fresno on August 7 in an attempt to stop increased flows on the Trinity River set to begin on August 13, a move that threatened to cause another fish kill on the river like that of September 2012.

The Hoopa Valley Tribe, Yurok Tribe and Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA) responded by intervening in the lawsuit in support of increased releases down the Trinity. Fortunately, Fresno Federal Judge Lawrence O'Neill Thursday on August 22 lifted a temporary restraining order blocking releases of cold water from Trinity River reservoirs intended to help migrating salmon avoid an Ich parasite infestation similar to one on the Klamath River in 2002 that killed over 34,000 adult salmon.

For their underhanded attack on salmon and other fish, the district and authority win the coveted "Unsuccessful Salmon Exterminator" award.

In yet one more example of the revolving door between government and huge corporations that defines politics in California now, State Senator Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield) on February 22 suddenly announced his resignation from office in order to take a "government affairs" position at Chevron.

Rubio, who was leading the charge to weaken the landmark California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and make it friendlier to corporations, said he resigned in order to spend more time with his family.

Then on September 18, 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 has been 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.

For their outstanding efforts to serve corporate interests at the expense of fish, rivers the oceans and the people of California, Rubio and King Moon are proudly bestowed the "Revolving Door of Corruption" award.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, receives the "Toxic Avenger/Petro Princess" award for overseeing the removal of fishermen and tribal gatherers from vast tracks of California ocean waters as the Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast while lobbying for the expansion of offshore oil drilling, fracking and the construction of the Keystone Pipeline.

Not only did these alleged "marine protected areas" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering, but it was revealed by Freedom of Information Act documents in the summer of 2013 that the massive fracking of Southern California waters was taking place during the 8 years that Reheis-Boyd was serving on the task forces for the South Coast, Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Central Coast.

In 2013, the Obama administration continued and expanded the Bush administration war on salmon and other fish, as evidenced by the Bureau of Reclamation's sharp cut in reservoir releases that left the eggs of recently spawned fall-run Chinook salmon high and dry in the upper section of the Sacramento River from Redding to Chico.

Reclamation reduced water releases into the upper Sacramento River from 6000 cubic feet per second (CFS) on November 1 to 3750 CFS on November 25. Many fall run salmon built redds, in October and early November in the shallows during higher water conditions.

This carnage took place after a spring when nearly half of the winter-run chinook salmon perished in canals and drainage ditches in the Sacramento Valley and after a summer when the Department of Water Resources and Reclamation released massive quantities of water down Central Valley rivers to export to corporate agribusiness. For their efforts to destroy salmon and other fish populations, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation receives the "Rotting Winter Run Chinook" award.

The recent killing of salmon eggs takes place as the Obama administration continues and expands some of the worst environmental policies of the Bush administration, just as Governor Jerry Brown continues and expands some of the worst environmental policies of the Schwarzenegger administration.

The Obama administration's horrible environmental policies include backing the construction of two massive fish-killing tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, promoting the privatization of fisheries through the "catch shares" program, and fast-tracking the approval of genetically engineered salmon for human consumption.

For his outstanding efforts to exterminate fisheries, President Barrack Obama is proudly bestowed the "Dead Fish President" plaque.

Many fish populations have collapsed to record low levels in the past few years, due to massive export of Delta water to corporate agribusiness, developers and oil companies under the Obama and Brown administrations.

The most recent salmon egg and fish carnage occurs as part of a larger ecosystem collapse, the result of a long history of water exports and poor water management by the state and federal water agencies. Since the State Water Project began exporting water in 1967, water exports have increased by more than 60% while outflow to the Bay has declined by more than 40%.

Since 1967, populations of Delta smelt are down 98.9%, striped bass 99.6%, longfin smelt 99.7%, American shad 89.1%, threadfin shad 98.1% and splittail down 99.4%, according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA.) Steelhead and winter-run salmon are down 91.7% and 95.5%, respectively.

This ecosystem collapse couldn't have taken place without the active cooperation and collaboration of the California Natural Resources Agency, the Department of Water Resources and Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). For their role in continuing this ecosystem collapse, Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin, Natural Resources Secretary John Laird and CDFW Director Chuck Bonham win the "Extinct Delta Smelt" award.

Senator Fran Pavley gets the "Fracking Champion" prize for sponsoring the only fracking bill to emerge from the Legislature, an already weak bill that was further gutted by the oil industry at the last minute.

Senate Bill 4, the green light for fracking bill, will result in the expansion of the heavily polluting oil extraction process in California's ocean waters and land where Monterey Shale is located. The toxic discharges resulting from fracking will pollute groundwater and streams and threaten already struggling anadromous and ocean fish populations.

On September 20, Governor Jerry Brown signed Pavley's "greenlight to fracking" bill with poison pill amendments that make CEQA review of fracking permits optional and prevent imposing a moratorium on fracking for 15 months. He signed the oil industry-friendly bill after receiving at least $2.49 million over several years from oil and natural gas interests.

Besides the expansion of fracking, Brown's horrible environmental policies include:

• Fast-tracking the $54.1 billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan to divert massive quantities of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to corporate agribusiness, developers and oil companies.

• Pursuing water policies that resulted in the second lowest population levels of Delta smelt and American shad on record in the DFW's fall midwater trawl survey, as well as the third lowest striped bass, the eighth lowest longfin smelt, and the fifth lowest threadfin shad indices.

* Trying to weaken or even eliminate CEQA, one of California's greatest environmental laws, to fast-track big developments for giant corporations.  

• Continuing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, a privately funded process characterized by its numerous conflicts of interests, terminally flawed science, violation of the Yurok Tribe's traditional fishing and gathering rights, and failure to actually protect the ocean.

For his many crimes against fish and the environment, Governor Jerry Brown receives the "Cold, Dead Fish" award for the second year in a row. Congratulations, Governor Brown, for going out of your way to pollute and destroy California's river, lake and ocean waters!

Nunes, McCarthy And Valadao are in the running for 2014 Cold, Dead Fish award!

While Brown easily cinched the "coveted" Cold, Dead Fish" award for 2013, he already faces stiff competition for the 2014 awards from Congressmen Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, and David Valadao.

On January 24, the three Central Valley Republicans, with the support of House Speaker John Boehner, convened in Bakersfield to announce the introduction of legislation to suspend the Endangered Species Act, allow the fish-killing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pumps to operate "as long as water is available" and to halt the San Joaquin River restoration plan.

"This is nothing more than a blatant, short-sighted water grab, fueled by years of political contributions from huge growers in the Westlands Water District and the Kern County Water Agency to these Central Valley Congressional Representatives," summed up Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.

Then on January 27, the House Republican Leadership tried to insert a provision into the Farm Bill to divert Northern California water toward San Joaquin Valley farms.

Congressman John Garamendi (Fairfield, CA), a Member of the Agriculture Committee, said, "After two years of negotiations over a Farm Bill, trying to sneak a water grab into the bill at the last minute was grossly irresponsible. It could have scuttled the legislation."

"Specifically, the proposal would have turned on Delta pumps this year and next year, setting the stage to suck the Delta dry. This provision arrived at the 11th hour of negotiations over the Farm Bill, which is expected for a vote this week. Luckily for Northern California farmers, fishers, and small businesses, this last minute attempt was unsuccessfull," according to Garamendi's office.  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Environmental Water Caucus slams suspension of CEQA in drought declaration

by: Dan Bacher

Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 15:10:12 PM PST

The California Environmental Water Caucus on January 19 issued a press release commending the "emphasis on conservation" in Governor Brown's 20 point drought declaration, but criticizing five of the points as "wolves in sheep's clothing," particularly Directive 4 that directs state agencies to expedite the processing of water transfers and Directive 9 that effectively suspends the California Environmental Water Quality Act.

"This overreaching and throwing out the baby with the bath water in Directives 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10 is unnecessary when the real emphasis should be on permanent conservation at all levels - households, industry and agriculture" said Nick Di Croce, Facilitator of the Environmental Water Caucus. "The need for more conservation and greater efficiencies in water management should not result in abrogation of equally needed environmental safeguards benefitting both humans and other species, including fish."

Environmental groups, fishing organizations and consumer groups have also blasted the Governor for fast tracking his Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and promoting the expansion of water-polluting fracking when we are in an unprecedented drought.

"Governor Brown can't make it rain, but he can put a moratorium on fracking and he can stop his tunnels project," summed up Adam Scow, California Campaign Director of Food and Water Watch. "The Governor's current water and energy policies will only worsen our current climate and water crisis."

NOAA satellite photo of the snowpack in California and Nevada on January 13, 2013 compared to January 13, 2014.

800_noaa.jpg

Below is the January 19 news release from the California Environmental Water Caucus:

THE GOVERNOR'S DROUGHT DECLARATION

"We live in an overreacting world"

"For every action, there is an unequal and opposite overreaction"

While the Environmental Water Caucus applauds the emphasis on conservation found in Governor Brown's 20-point drought proclamation, we fear that the time worn clichés quoted above have relevance here. Buried in those 20 points are a few proverbial "wolves in sheep's clothing".

Directive 4 orders State agencies to "expedite" processing of water transfers. The danger in hurried water transfers is the risk of serious environmental damage on the seller's end, such as replacing the transferred surface water with groundwater from an already badly stressed aquifer. Only careful advance environmental review can prevent that type of unintended consequence.

Directive 5 sounds innocent enough in ordering the State Board to allow consolidation of the places of use of waters of the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project.

SWP is supposed to serve urban Southern California and parts of Kern County. CVP is supposed to serve specified areas, mostly agriculture, in the San Joaquin Valley. In fact, Directive 5 would allow unimagined unintended consequences like allowing CVP water to be sent to Orange County to float the boats in Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Directive 8 could broadly expand the State Board's ability to modify reservoir releases and water diversion limitations, supposedly to enable water to be conserved for later use. But the loose language would also allow modifications for earlier releases and diversions, which typically are sought by politically powerful economic interests such as the Westlands Water District.

Directive 9 is by far the most egregious example of overreaction, and this time with an intended consequence --- broad suspension of one of Governor Brown's favorite whipping boys, the California Environmental Quality Act. It also suspends Water Code Section 13247, which requires all state entities to comply with water quality plans of the State Board.

Directive 10 should say that safe and adequate drinking water be made available for disadvantaged San Joaquin Valley and other agricultural communities.

"This overreaching and throwing out the baby with the bath water in Directives 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10 is unnecessary when the real emphasis should be on permanent conservation at all levels - households, industry and agriculture" said Nick Di Croce, Facilitator of the Environmental Water Caucus. "The need for more conservation and greater efficiencies in water management should not result in abrogation of equally needed environmental safeguards benefitting both humans and other species, including fish."

CONTACTS:
Nick Di Croce, Co-Facilitator, Environmental Water Caucus
troutnk [at] aol.com, 805-688-7813
Conner Everts, Southern California Watershed Alliance
connere [at] west.net, (310) 804-6615
Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
deltakeep [at] me.com, 209-464-5067

The full text of the emergency proclamation is below:

A PROCLAMATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY

WHEREAS the State of California is experiencing record dry conditions, with 2014 projected to become the driest year on record; and

WHEREAS the state's water supplies have dipped to alarming levels, indicated by: snowpack in California's mountains is approximately 20 percent of the normal average for this date; California's largest water reservoirs have very low water levels for this time of year; California's major river systems, including the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, have significantly reduced surface water flows; and groundwater levels throughout the state have dropped significantly; and

WHEREAS dry conditions and lack of precipitation present urgent problems: drinking water supplies are at risk in many California communities; fewer crops can be cultivated and farmers' long-term investments are put at risk; low-income communities heavily dependent on agricultural employment will suffer heightened unemployment and economic hardship; animals and plants that rely on California's rivers, including many species in danger of extinction, will be threatened; and the risk of wildfires across the state is greatly increased; and

WHEREAS extremely dry conditions have persisted since 2012 and may continue beyond this year and more regularly into the future, based on scientific projections regarding the impact of climate change on California's snowpack; and

WHEREAS the magnitude of the severe drought conditions presents threats beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single local government and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the California Government Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist in California due to water shortage and drought conditions with which local authority is unable to cope.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the state Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section 8625 of the California Government Code HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist in the State of California due to current drought conditions.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

1.State agencies, led by the Department of Water Resources, will execute a statewide water conservation campaign to make all Californians aware of the drought and encourage personal actions to reduce water usage. This campaign will be built on the existing Save Our Water campaign (http://www.saveourh20.org) and will coordinate with local water agencies. This campaign will call on Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent.

2.Local urban water suppliers and municipalities are called upon to implement their local water shortage contingency plans immediately in order to avoid or forestall outright restrictions that could become necessary later in the drought season. Local water agencies should also update their legally required urban and agricultural water management plans, which help plan for extended drought conditions. The Department of Water Resources will make the status of these updates publicly available.

3.State agencies, led by the Department of General Services, will immediately implement water use reduction plans for all state facilities. These plans will include immediate water conservation actions, and a moratorium will be placed on new, non-essential landscaping projects at state facilities and on state highways and roads.

4.The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) will expedite the processing of water transfers, as called for in Executive Order B-21-13. Voluntary water transfers from one water right holder to another enables water to flow where it is needed most.

5.The Water Board will immediately consider petitions requesting consolidation of the places of use of the State Water Project and Federal Central Valley Project, which would streamline water transfers and exchanges between water users within the areas of these two major water projects.

6.The Department of Water Resources and the Water Board will accelerate funding for water supply enhancement projects that can break ground this year and will explore if any existing unspent funds can be repurposed to enable near-term water conservation projects.

7.The Water Board will put water right holders throughout the state on notice that they may be directed to cease or reduce water diversions based on water shortages.

8.The Water Board will consider modifying requirements for reservoir releases or diversion limitations, where existing requirements were established to implement a water quality control plan. These changes would enable water to be conserved upstream later in the year to protect cold water pools for salmon and steelhead, maintain water supply, and improve water quality.

9.The Department of Water Resources and the Water Board will take actions necessary to make water immediately available, and, for purposes of carrying out directives 5 and 8, Water Code section 13247 and Division 13 (commencing with section 21000) of the Public Resources Code and regulations adopted pursuant to that Division are suspended on the basis that strict compliance with them will prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency. Department of Water Resources and the Water Board shall maintain on their websites a list of the activities or approvals for which these provisions are suspended.

10. The state's Drinking Water Program will work with local agencies to identify communities that may run out of drinking water, and will provide technical and financial assistance to help these communities address drinking water shortages. It will also identify emergency interconnections that exist among the state's public water systems that can help these threatened communities.

11.The Department of Water Resources will evaluate changing groundwater levels, land subsidence, and agricultural land fallowing as the drought persists and will provide a public update by April 30 that identifies groundwater basins with water shortages and details gaps in groundwater monitoring.

12.The Department of Water Resources will work with counties to help ensure that well drillers submit required groundwater well logs for newly constructed and deepened wells in a timely manner and the Office of Emergency Services will work with local authorities to enable early notice of areas experiencing problems with residential groundwater sources.

13.The California Department of Food and Agriculture will launch a one-stop website (http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/drought) that provides timely updates on the drought and connects farmers to state and federal programs that they can access during the drought.

14.The Department of Fish and Wildlife will evaluate and manage the changing impacts of drought on threatened and endangered species and species of special concern, and develop contingency plans for state Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves to manage reduced water resources in the public interest.

15. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will work with the Fish and Game Commission, using the best available science, to determine whether restricting fishing in certain areas will become necessary and prudent as drought conditions persist.

16.The Department of Water Resources will take necessary actions to protect water quality and water supply in the Delta, including installation of temporary barriers or temporary water supply connections as needed, and will coordinate with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to minimize impacts to affected aquatic species.

17.The Department of Water Resources will refine its seasonal climate forecasting and drought prediction by advancing new methodologies piloted in 2013.

18.The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will hire additional seasonal firefighters to suppress wildfires and take other needed actions to protect public safety during this time of elevated fire risk.

19.The state's Drought Task Force will immediately develop a plan that can be executed as needed to provide emergency food supplies, financial assistance, and unemployment services in communities that suffer high levels of unemployment from the drought.

20.The Drought Task Force will monitor drought impacts on a daily basis and will advise me of subsequent actions that should be taken if drought conditions worsen.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this Proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this Proclamation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 17th day of January, 2014.

____________________________
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.,
Governor of California

ATTEST:

____________________________
DEBRA BOWEN,
Secretary of State

###
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Members of the Environmental Water Caucus:
AquAlliance
Butte Environmental Council
California Coastkeeper Alliance
California Save Our Streams Council
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
California Striped Bass Association
California Water Impact Network
Clean Water Action
Citizens Water Watch
Desal Response Group
Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
Earth Law Center
Fish Sniffer Magazine
Foothill Conservancy
Friends of the River
Food & Water Watch
Granite Bay Flycasters
Institute for Fisheries Resources
The Karuk Tribe
North Coast Environmental Center
Northern California Council, Federation of Fly Fishers
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations
Planning & Conservation League
Restore the Delta
Sacramento River Preservation Trust
Save the Bay Association
Sierra Club California
Sierra Nevada Alliance
Southern California Watershed Alliance
Winnemem Wintu Tribe  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Environmental Water Caucus slams suspension of CEQA in drought declaration

by: Dan Bacher

Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 15:10:01 PM PST

The California Environmental Water Caucus on January 19 issued a press release commending the "emphasis on conservation" in Governor Brown's 20 point drought declaration, but criticizing five of the points as "wolves in sheep's clothing," particularly Directive 4 that directs state agencies to expedite the processing of water transfers and Directive 9 that effectively suspends the California Environmental Water Quality Act.

"This overreaching and throwing out the baby with the bath water in Directives 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10 is unnecessary when the real emphasis should be on permanent conservation at all levels - households, industry and agriculture" said Nick Di Croce, Facilitator of the Environmental Water Caucus. "The need for more conservation and greater efficiencies in water management should not result in abrogation of equally needed environmental safeguards benefitting both humans and other species, including fish."

Environmental groups, fishing organizations and consumer groups have also blasted the Governor for fast tracking his Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and promoting the expansion of water-polluting fracking when we are in an unprecedented drought.

"Governor Brown can't make it rain, but he can put a moratorium on fracking and he can stop his tunnels project," summed up Adam Scow, California Campaign Director of Food and Water Watch. "The Governor's current water and energy policies will only worsen our current climate and water crisis."

NOAA satellite photo of the snowpack in California and Nevada on January 13, 2013 compared to January 13, 2014.

800_noaa.jpg

Below is the January 19 news release from the California Environmental Water Caucus:

THE GOVERNOR'S DROUGHT DECLARATION

"We live in an overreacting world"

"For every action, there is an unequal and opposite overreaction"

While the Environmental Water Caucus applauds the emphasis on conservation found in Governor Brown's 20-point drought proclamation, we fear that the time worn clichés quoted above have relevance here. Buried in those 20 points are a few proverbial "wolves in sheep's clothing".

Directive 4 orders State agencies to "expedite" processing of water transfers. The danger in hurried water transfers is the risk of serious environmental damage on the seller's end, such as replacing the transferred surface water with groundwater from an already badly stressed aquifer. Only careful advance environmental review can prevent that type of unintended consequence.

Directive 5 sounds innocent enough in ordering the State Board to allow consolidation of the places of use of waters of the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project.

SWP is supposed to serve urban Southern California and parts of Kern County. CVP is supposed to serve specified areas, mostly agriculture, in the San Joaquin Valley. In fact, Directive 5 would allow unimagined unintended consequences like allowing CVP water to be sent to Orange County to float the boats in Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Directive 8 could broadly expand the State Board's ability to modify reservoir releases and water diversion limitations, supposedly to enable water to be conserved for later use. But the loose language would also allow modifications for earlier releases and diversions, which typically are sought by politically powerful economic interests such as the Westlands Water District.

Directive 9 is by far the most egregious example of overreaction, and this time with an intended consequence --- broad suspension of one of Governor Brown's favorite whipping boys, the California Environmental Quality Act. It also suspends Water Code Section 13247, which requires all state entities to comply with water quality plans of the State Board.

Directive 10 should say that safe and adequate drinking water be made available for disadvantaged San Joaquin Valley and other agricultural communities.

"This overreaching and throwing out the baby with the bath water in Directives 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10 is unnecessary when the real emphasis should be on permanent conservation at all levels - households, industry and agriculture" said Nick Di Croce, Facilitator of the Environmental Water Caucus. "The need for more conservation and greater efficiencies in water management should not result in abrogation of equally needed environmental safeguards benefitting both humans and other species, including fish."

CONTACTS:
Nick Di Croce, Co-Facilitator, Environmental Water Caucus
troutnk [at] aol.com, 805-688-7813
Conner Everts, Southern California Watershed Alliance
connere [at] west.net, (310) 804-6615
Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
deltakeep [at] me.com, 209-464-5067

The full text of the emergency proclamation is below:

A PROCLAMATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY

WHEREAS the State of California is experiencing record dry conditions, with 2014 projected to become the driest year on record; and

WHEREAS the state's water supplies have dipped to alarming levels, indicated by: snowpack in California's mountains is approximately 20 percent of the normal average for this date; California's largest water reservoirs have very low water levels for this time of year; California's major river systems, including the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, have significantly reduced surface water flows; and groundwater levels throughout the state have dropped significantly; and

WHEREAS dry conditions and lack of precipitation present urgent problems: drinking water supplies are at risk in many California communities; fewer crops can be cultivated and farmers' long-term investments are put at risk; low-income communities heavily dependent on agricultural employment will suffer heightened unemployment and economic hardship; animals and plants that rely on California's rivers, including many species in danger of extinction, will be threatened; and the risk of wildfires across the state is greatly increased; and

WHEREAS extremely dry conditions have persisted since 2012 and may continue beyond this year and more regularly into the future, based on scientific projections regarding the impact of climate change on California's snowpack; and

WHEREAS the magnitude of the severe drought conditions presents threats beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single local government and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the California Government Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist in California due to water shortage and drought conditions with which local authority is unable to cope.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the state Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section 8625 of the California Government Code HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist in the State of California due to current drought conditions.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

1.State agencies, led by the Department of Water Resources, will execute a statewide water conservation campaign to make all Californians aware of the drought and encourage personal actions to reduce water usage. This campaign will be built on the existing Save Our Water campaign (http://www.saveourh20.org) and will coordinate with local water agencies. This campaign will call on Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent.

2.Local urban water suppliers and municipalities are called upon to implement their local water shortage contingency plans immediately in order to avoid or forestall outright restrictions that could become necessary later in the drought season. Local water agencies should also update their legally required urban and agricultural water management plans, which help plan for extended drought conditions. The Department of Water Resources will make the status of these updates publicly available.

3.State agencies, led by the Department of General Services, will immediately implement water use reduction plans for all state facilities. These plans will include immediate water conservation actions, and a moratorium will be placed on new, non-essential landscaping projects at state facilities and on state highways and roads.

4.The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) will expedite the processing of water transfers, as called for in Executive Order B-21-13. Voluntary water transfers from one water right holder to another enables water to flow where it is needed most.

5.The Water Board will immediately consider petitions requesting consolidation of the places of use of the State Water Project and Federal Central Valley Project, which would streamline water transfers and exchanges between water users within the areas of these two major water projects.

6.The Department of Water Resources and the Water Board will accelerate funding for water supply enhancement projects that can break ground this year and will explore if any existing unspent funds can be repurposed to enable near-term water conservation projects.

7.The Water Board will put water right holders throughout the state on notice that they may be directed to cease or reduce water diversions based on water shortages.

8.The Water Board will consider modifying requirements for reservoir releases or diversion limitations, where existing requirements were established to implement a water quality control plan. These changes would enable water to be conserved upstream later in the year to protect cold water pools for salmon and steelhead, maintain water supply, and improve water quality.

9.The Department of Water Resources and the Water Board will take actions necessary to make water immediately available, and, for purposes of carrying out directives 5 and 8, Water Code section 13247 and Division 13 (commencing with section 21000) of the Public Resources Code and regulations adopted pursuant to that Division are suspended on the basis that strict compliance with them will prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency. Department of Water Resources and the Water Board shall maintain on their websites a list of the activities or approvals for which these provisions are suspended.

10. The state's Drinking Water Program will work with local agencies to identify communities that may run out of drinking water, and will provide technical and financial assistance to help these communities address drinking water shortages. It will also identify emergency interconnections that exist among the state's public water systems that can help these threatened communities.

11.The Department of Water Resources will evaluate changing groundwater levels, land subsidence, and agricultural land fallowing as the drought persists and will provide a public update by April 30 that identifies groundwater basins with water shortages and details gaps in groundwater monitoring.

12.The Department of Water Resources will work with counties to help ensure that well drillers submit required groundwater well logs for newly constructed and deepened wells in a timely manner and the Office of Emergency Services will work with local authorities to enable early notice of areas experiencing problems with residential groundwater sources.

13.The California Department of Food and Agriculture will launch a one-stop website (http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/drought) that provides timely updates on the drought and connects farmers to state and federal programs that they can access during the drought.

14.The Department of Fish and Wildlife will evaluate and manage the changing impacts of drought on threatened and endangered species and species of special concern, and develop contingency plans for state Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves to manage reduced water resources in the public interest.

15. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will work with the Fish and Game Commission, using the best available science, to determine whether restricting fishing in certain areas will become necessary and prudent as drought conditions persist.

16.The Department of Water Resources will take necessary actions to protect water quality and water supply in the Delta, including installation of temporary barriers or temporary water supply connections as needed, and will coordinate with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to minimize impacts to affected aquatic species.

17.The Department of Water Resources will refine its seasonal climate forecasting and drought prediction by advancing new methodologies piloted in 2013.

18.The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will hire additional seasonal firefighters to suppress wildfires and take other needed actions to protect public safety during this time of elevated fire risk.

19.The state's Drought Task Force will immediately develop a plan that can be executed as needed to provide emergency food supplies, financial assistance, and unemployment services in communities that suffer high levels of unemployment from the drought.

20.The Drought Task Force will monitor drought impacts on a daily basis and will advise me of subsequent actions that should be taken if drought conditions worsen.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this Proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this Proclamation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 17th day of January, 2014.

____________________________
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.,
Governor of California

ATTEST:

____________________________
DEBRA BOWEN,
Secretary of State

###
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Members of the Environmental Water Caucus:
AquAlliance
Butte Environmental Council
California Coastkeeper Alliance
California Save Our Streams Council
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
California Striped Bass Association
California Water Impact Network
Clean Water Action
Citizens Water Watch
Desal Response Group
Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
Earth Law Center
Fish Sniffer Magazine
Foothill Conservancy
Friends of the River
Food & Water Watch
Granite Bay Flycasters
Institute for Fisheries Resources
The Karuk Tribe
North Coast Environmental Center
Northern California Council, Federation of Fly Fishers
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations
Planning & Conservation League
Restore the Delta
Sacramento River Preservation Trust
Save the Bay Association
Sierra Club California
Sierra Nevada Alliance
Southern California Watershed Alliance
Winnemem Wintu Tribe  

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Brown declares drought state of emergency as protesters urge halt to fracking

by: Dan Bacher

Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 17:31:50 PM PST

As a crowd of anti-fracking protesters gathered in front of Governor Jerry Brown's San Francisco office this morning to call for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in California, Brown proclaimed a drought State of Emergency and directed state officials to take "all necessary actions" to prepare for the record drought conditions.

"We can't make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California's drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas," said Governor Brown. "I've declared this emergency and I'm calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible."

In the State of Emergency declaration spurred by the record drought, Brown directed state officials to assist farmers and communities that are economically impacted by dry conditions and to ensure the state can respond if Californians face drinking water shortages.

Brown also directed state agencies to use less water and hire more firefighters and initiated an expanded water conservation public awareness campaign.

Adam Scow, California Campaign Director of Food and Water Watch, responded to the Governor's drought declaration as he rallied with 75 protesters in front of the Governor's Office, noting that Brown can't make it rain, but he can put a moratorium on fracking and he can stop his peripheral tunnels project.    

"While Governor Brown cannot make it rain, he can prevent wasteful and harmful use of our water by placing an immediate moratorium on fracking and other extreme methods of oil and gas extraction that pollute our precious water resources with toxic chemicals," said Scow. "Moreover, fracking pollutes our air with methane and carbon dioxide that will worsen our climate crisis and could promote more droughts in the future."

"The drought underscores the need for reducing and maintaining responsible levels of water exports from the San Francisco Bay Delta," stated Scow. "This can be achieved if the Governor drops his plan to build massive twin tunnels to divert the Sacramento River in order to sustain excessively high water exports from the Delta. This plan, estimated to cost as much as $67 billion, would largely benefit corporate agribusinesses and oil interests in the southwest corner of the San Joaquin Valley at the expense of California taxpayers and households in the southern California and the Santa Clara Valley."

Scow said polls show Californians favor a moratorium on fracking and oppose the BDCP twin-tunnels scheme when told the facts about these destructive projects.

"We need Governor Brown to do more than make declarations," said Scow. "We need Governor Brown to take bold action to protect California's water now and for future generations. Working to ban fracking and dropping the twin-tunnels would be a good start."

Activists from the Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, CREDO, Oil Change International, Move On and other members of the statewide Californians Against Fracking coalition at the protest urged Brown to protect the state's water supply by halting fracking.

Protesters from the coalition have dogged the Governor at his press conferences and other appearances throughout the state in recent months for refusing to halt the oil industry's use of the highly polluting technique. Fracking involves blasting huge volumes of water mixed with toxic chemicals into the ground to break up rock formations and release oil and gas.

"Fracking uses enormous quantities of water, and oil companies are gearing up for a massive expansion of fracking even as California's water resources are stretched to the breaking point," according to the Center for Biological Diversity. "Fracking also releases vast amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and loads the dice for more frequent and severe droughts."

The Center said fracking pollution has also been tied to water contamination in Wyoming, Texas and other states. In California,  the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board on November 15 ordered a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Company, Vintage Production California LLC, to pay a $60,000 penalty for discharging fracking fluid into an unlined sump in violation of the California Water Code.

Brown directs state officials to "assist farmers and communities"  

The proclamation outlined 20 points, including the initiation of a statewide conservation program, the implementation of water use reduction plans for all state facilities, the expediting of the processing of water transfers, and the consideration of modifying requirements for reservoir releases or diversion limitations.

Of note to anglers throughout the state, Action #15 states, "The Department of Fish and Wildlife will work with the Fish and Game Commission, using the best available science, to determine whether restricting fishing in certain areas will become necessary and prudent as drought conditions persist."

The proclamation didn't mention the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels nor anything about "improved conveyance."

Jerry Cadagan, water activist, noted, "There are a lot of potential issues in the 20 point proclamation, not the least of which is paragraph 5 which arguably would grease the skids for the Tunnels without CEQA review of the change of point of diversion."

Point 5 states, "The Water Board will immediately consider petitions requesting consolidation of the places of use of the State Water Project and Federal Central Valley Project, which would streamline water transfers and exchanges between water users within the areas of these two major water projects."

The Governor's Office also noted that "the proclamation gives state water officials more flexibility to manage supply throughout California under drought conditions."

California's river and reservoirs are below their record lows, according to state water officials. Manual and electronic readings record the snowpack's statewide water content at about 20 percent of normal average for this time of year.

The Governor's Office claimed that the declaration "follows a series of actions the administration has taken to ensure that California is prepared for record dry conditions."

In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights.

"In December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations, California's preparedness for water scarcity and whether conditions merit a drought declaration," according to the Governor's Office. "Earlier this week, Brown toured the Central Valley and spoke with growers and others impacted by California's record dry conditions."

It is worth noting that Brown didn't talk to anybody from the farming and recreational industries on the Delta - nor anybody from the recreational and commercial fishing industries throughout California and California Indian Tribes who are being impacted greatly by the drought.

Tunnels are a flawed "solution" for a drought-plagued state

Anticipating the drought declaration by Brown, Restore the Delta and other opponents of Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels on Monday held a tele-conference calling the tunnels a "flawed solution for a drought-plagued state."

Six experts criticized the tunnels as an "outdated, inappropriate solution to California's water challenges, one that would create no new water, be of no use in dry years, and drain $70 billion that could otherwise be spent on projects that create new water and increase regional water independence."

Barbara Barrigan Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, pointed out the disparity between record low levels in northern California reservoirs, including Folsom, Oroville, Shasta and Trinity, and Southern California reservoirs that are now 93 percent of capacity.

"It is worth noting that presently, reservoirs in Southern California are filled to 93% capacity," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "Yet, water levels are at record lows in the north part of the state, and corporate agribusiness growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley are continuing the push for water deliveries, even though the water system is depleted."

The tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species, as well as imperil steelhead and salmon populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

To listen to the tele-news conference featuring Jonas Minton, Tom Stokely, John Herrick, Dr. Jeff Michael, Bill Jennings, and Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, go to: http://www.restorethedelta.org...  

Then on Thursday at 10 am on the North Steps of the State Capitol, young and diverse community leaders and job developers called upon Governor Jerry Brown to abandon the peripheral tunnels proposed under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).

They asked him to invest instead in "clean water supplies for all California communities" and to develop sustainable jobs in alternative water solutions.

"We call upon Gov. Brown to abandon the fatally flawed $70 billion tunnels," said Javier Padilla Reyes, Latino Outreach Director of Restore the Delta. i"Our communities need clean water supplies, not export tunnels for unsustainable cotton and almond mega-growers. The tunnels are a giveaway to a few billionaire absentee farmers, and won't provide sustainable jobs. Our future is at stake, and we need solutions more appropriate to our future water challenges."

He emphasized, "Many farm communities in the San Joaquin Valley do not have access to clean drinking water. Some of these water sources have been polluted by these same growers, who now want us to suspend environmental regulations. Let's clean up water supplies for families, not ship more water so huge growers can profit from our loss."

"There is a better solution for California that will protect the Delta and enhance our overall economic opportunities," stated Esperanza Vielma, a job developer with Café, Inc., in Stockton.  "Local water projects will actually make more jobs than a large-scale water project like the peripheral tunnels, according to the Southern California Business Roundtable. These jobs pay good wages and would provide new work opportunities for the unemployed throughout California."

Other speakers at the event included Stockton City Councilmember Moses Zapien (Stockton); Stina Va of Restore the Delta; and Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla.

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

The full text of the emergency proclamation is below:

A PROCLAMATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY

WHEREAS the State of California is experiencing record dry conditions, with 2014 projected to become the driest year on record; and

WHEREAS the state's water supplies have dipped to alarming levels, indicated by: snowpack in California's mountains is approximately 20 percent of the normal average for this date; California's largest water reservoirs have very low water levels for this time of year; California's major river systems, including the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, have significantly reduced surface water flows; and groundwater levels throughout the state have dropped significantly; and

WHEREAS dry conditions and lack of precipitation present urgent problems: drinking water supplies are at risk in many California communities; fewer crops can be cultivated and farmers' long-term investments are put at risk; low-income communities heavily dependent on agricultural employment will suffer heightened unemployment and economic hardship; animals and plants that rely on California's rivers, including many species in danger of extinction, will be threatened; and the risk of wildfires across the state is greatly increased; and

WHEREAS extremely dry conditions have persisted since 2012 and may continue beyond this year and more regularly into the future, based on scientific projections regarding the impact of climate change on California's snowpack; and

WHEREAS the magnitude of the severe drought conditions presents threats beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single local government and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the California Government Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist in California due to water shortage and drought conditions with which local authority is unable to cope.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the state Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section 8625 of the California Government Code HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist in the State of California due to current drought conditions.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

1.State agencies, led by the Department of Water Resources, will execute a statewide water conservation campaign to make all Californians aware of the drought and encourage personal actions to reduce water usage. This campaign will be built on the existing Save Our Water campaign (www.saveourh20.org) and will coordinate with local water agencies. This campaign will call on Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent.

2.Local urban water suppliers and municipalities are called upon to implement their local water shortage contingency plans immediately in order to avoid or forestall outright restrictions that could become necessary later in the drought season. Local water agencies should also update their legally required urban and agricultural water management plans, which help plan for extended drought conditions. The Department of Water Resources will make the status of these updates publicly available.

3.State agencies, led by the Department of General Services, will immediately implement water use reduction plans for all state facilities. These plans will include immediate water conservation actions, and a moratorium will be placed on new, non-essential landscaping projects at state facilities and on state highways and roads.

4.The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) will expedite the processing of water transfers, as called for in Executive Order B-21-13. Voluntary water transfers from one water right holder to another enables water to flow where it is needed most.

5.The Water Board will immediately consider petitions requesting consolidation of the places of use of the State Water Project and Federal Central Valley Project, which would streamline water transfers and exchanges between water users within the areas of these two major water projects.

6.The Department of Water Resources and the Water Board will accelerate funding for water supply enhancement projects that can break ground this year and will explore if any existing unspent funds can be repurposed to enable near-term water conservation projects.

7.The Water Board will put water right holders throughout the state on notice that they may be directed to cease or reduce water diversions based on water shortages.

8.The Water Board will consider modifying requirements for reservoir releases or diversion limitations, where existing requirements were established to implement a water quality control plan. These changes would enable water to be conserved upstream later in the year to protect cold water pools for salmon and steelhead, maintain water supply, and improve water quality.

9.The Department of Water Resources and the Water Board will take actions necessary to make water immediately available, and, for purposes of carrying out directives 5 and 8, Water Code section 13247 and Division 13 (commencing with section 21000) of the Public Resources Code and regulations adopted pursuant to that Division are suspended on the basis that strict compliance with them will prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency. Department of Water Resources and the Water Board shall maintain on their websites a list of the activities or approvals for which these provisions are suspended.

10. The state's Drinking Water Program will work with local agencies to identify communities that may run out of drinking water, and will provide technical and financial assistance to help these communities address drinking water shortages. It will also identify emergency interconnections that exist among the state's public water systems that can help these threatened communities.

11.The Department of Water Resources will evaluate changing groundwater levels, land subsidence, and agricultural land fallowing as the drought persists and will provide a public update by April 30 that identifies groundwater basins with water shortages and details gaps in groundwater monitoring.

12.The Department of Water Resources will work with counties to help ensure that well drillers submit required groundwater well logs for newly constructed and deepened wells in a timely manner and the Office of Emergency Services will work with local authorities to enable early notice of areas experiencing problems with residential groundwater sources.

13.The California Department of Food and Agriculture will launch a one-stop website (www.cdfa.ca.gov/drought) that provides timely updates on the drought and connects farmers to state and federal programs that they can access during the drought.  

14.The Department of Fish and Wildlife will evaluate and manage the changing impacts of drought on threatened and endangered species and species of special concern, and develop contingency plans for state Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves to manage reduced water resources in the public interest.

15. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will work with the Fish and Game Commission, using the best available science, to determine whether restricting fishing in certain areas will become necessary and prudent as drought conditions persist.

16.The Department of Water Resources will take necessary actions to protect water quality and water supply in the Delta, including installation of temporary barriers or temporary water supply connections as needed, and will coordinate with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to minimize impacts to affected aquatic species.

17.The Department of Water Resources will refine its seasonal climate forecasting and drought prediction by advancing new methodologies piloted in 2013.

18.The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will hire additional seasonal firefighters to suppress wildfires and take other needed actions to protect public safety during this time of elevated fire risk.

19.The state's Drought Task Force will immediately develop a plan that can be executed as needed to provide emergency food supplies, financial assistance, and unemployment services in communities that suffer high levels of unemployment from the drought.

20.The Drought Task Force will monitor drought impacts on a daily basis and will advise me of subsequent actions that should be taken if drought conditions worsen.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this Proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this Proclamation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 17th day of January, 2014.

____________________________
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.,
Governor of California

ATTEST:

____________________________
DEBRA BOWEN,
Secretary of State

###
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Bay Delta Conservation Plan total cost could be as high as $67 billion

by: Dan Bacher

Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:54:07 AM PST

The total cost of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels could be as high as $67 billion, according to new figures revealed at a Westlands Water District board meeting last month by a Westlands staff member and a Citigroup bond consultant.

This new figure, with construction bond costs included in the total, counters the claims by Brown administration officials over the past two years that the plan would cost $24.5 billion during its 50-year implementation period.

In Paul Rogers' article in the San Jose Mercury News on December 27, Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources, confirmed the estimates are accurate (http://www.mercurynews.com/politics-government/ci_24795356/delta-tunnels-plans-true-price-tag-much-67)

"The assumptions they've made are reasonable," he told the paper. "But financing is confusing. There isn't any doubt about it. It's hard to relay information that the public understands. We need to be clear that if you add up the total debt service, that's a different type of calculation than the capital cost estimate. I would hope those two types of estimates aren't confused."

The Westlands presentation looked at three scenarios, with each considering bonds issued for 30 years at 5 percent interest.

"They pegged the cost to build the tunnels at $18 billion, and overall cost with financing at $42 billion to $58 billion," said Rogers.

"When the $9 billion more in wetlands restoration, monitoring and other costs are included, the grand total is $51 billion to $67 billion," the article stated.

Governor Jerry Brown is currently fast-tracking the construction of two 35 miles long tunnels, each 40 feet in diameter, under the Delta. A 120-day public review and comment period for over 40,000 pages of documents in the plan and EIS/EIR began on December 13.

The latest estimate provided to Westlands is the highest to date. A previous estimate, compiled by Restore the Delta from the figures provided by the Bay Delta Conservation documents, revealed the total cost would be $54.1 billion.

That figure included $14.5 billion for construction, $1.5 billion for O&M (operation and maintenance), $26.3 billion for Interest on tunnel revenue bonds, $7 billion for habitat and conservation, $3.2 billion interest on general obligation bonds, and $1.6 billion for administration and research. (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/06/06/18738055.php)

RTD's economic analysis came up with an amount similar to the estimate of $53.8 billion made by economist Steven Kasower of the Strategic Economic Applications Company in August 2009. Kasower's draft economic report was released to California Legislature prior to passage of the water policy/water bond legislation that cleared the path for the construction of a peripheral canal or tunnels.

His $53.8 billion estimate was based on a combination of $33 billion for a conveyance tunnel and $9.8 billion for through Delta conveyance, in addition to $2 billion for mitigation, $4 billion for restoration, and $5 billion for off-stream storage.

"This latest estimate of the BDCP's total costs makes it clear the project is a financial loser even when you use the administration's own flawed benefit-cost analysis," said Tom Stokely, Water Policy Analyst for the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN).

The latest estimate of $67 billion only underscores the absurdity of the Governor pursuing the twin tunnels as a monument to his "legacy." The plan is absurd for a number of reasons besides the enormous cost of the project:

• The tunnels don't provide any new water - but will only end up diverting water from senior water rights holders to junior water contractors.

• The project will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River winter run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon, sandhill cranes other species, as well as imperiling the salmon and steelhead and salmon populations of Trinity River.

• The plan will take massive acres of fertile Delta farmland, among the most fertile on the planet, out of production in order to continue to irrigate drainage-impaired land irrigated by corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

• Finally, the project will increase water bills and property taxes for Los Angeles residents from $2,000-$4,500 per household. This "twin-tunnel tax" would not bring any new water to Los Angeles.

An independent cost-estimate of the tunnels done by ECONorthwest for Food and Water Watch and the California Water Impact Network shows that LADWP would need to increase water bills from $7-15 per month for over 40 years or $2000-$4,500 per household to fund its cost share of the tunnels, according to Adam Scow, California Campaign Director of Food and Water Watch.

Fishermen, environmentalists, Tribal leaders, family farmers, Delta residents, Southern California water ratepayers and elected officials from across the political spectrum have united to stop Jerry Brown's peripheral tunnels, as evidenced by a large protest at the State Capitol on December 13 that drew over 400 people.

As Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, said in his speech:

"We will not allow our fisheries, farms, communities and future prosperity to be sacrificed to enrich a south valley industrial agriculture, that comprises 3 tenths of 1% of our state economy, and is predicated upon embezzled water, massive public subsidizes, unrestricted pollution and subsistence wages.

We'll fight this abominable scheme through the administrative halls, the courtrooms and the ballot box.

If necessary, we'll fight on the channels and sloughs and on the levees and through the fields - to the very gates of hell.

We shall never surrender our Delta."

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Tell Governor Brown No to the Tunnels

by: Dan Bacher

Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 18:37:58 PM PST

$240 million wasted is already too much  

If you want to stop Governor Jerry Brown's plan to build two giant water export tunnels, this coming week is the time to take action.

The public review copies of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its companion Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be available on-line Monday, December 9, 2013. The Federal Government will begin the public comment period on Friday, December 13, 2013.

The Brown Administration already released the BDCP documents to participating agencies on December 6.

The release of the documents takes place at a time when the enormous cost of the BDCP is coming under increasing scrutiny by water agencies, water ratepayers and the taxpayers who will pay for the tunnels.

A total of $240 million has already been spent on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels - and it will take another $1.2 billion to complete the planning for the government boondoggle.

"The giant Delta water-diversion tunnels proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown need $1.2 billion more spent on planning and design before construction starts or is even assured," according to a report by Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee on December 7. (http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/07/5978184/delta-water-tunnel-project-needs.html#storylink=cpy)

"The additional planning costs, which come on top of $240 million already spent, first came to light at a board meeting of the Westlands Water District late last month. The Sacramento Bee confirmed this additional planning cost in recent interviews with the California Department of Water Resources, which is leading the project, and several of the water agencies that are responsible for the bills," said Weiser.

On Friday, Restore the Delta (RTD) released water export tracking tables showing that urban users get just 31% of the water, while huge corporate agribusiness interests in the Westlands, Kern and other districts get 35% of water exports.

The tables show a ten-year-average of the amount of water exported from the Delta to water agencies south of the Delta pumps.

"Urban water rate payers in the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Metropolitan Water District are being asked to pay for a significant portion of the proposed peripheral tunnels, as part of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, without receiving any additional water," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. "Yet, these two urban agencies receive a smaller percentage of Delta exports (30.8%) than the big agribusiness growers found in the Westland Water District and the Kern County Water Agency (34.5%). It's time to stop forcing the rest of us to subsidize unsustainable agriculture."

"Billionaire Beverly Hills farmer Stewart Resnick has made enormous profits exporting around the world pistachios grown with this exported water, subsidized by California rate payers, and reselling subsidized water for new development. Westlands Water District growers, whose Bureau of Reclamation contract places them last in line to receive exported Delta water, continue planting permanent crops that cannot be sustained on drainage impaired lands," she stated.

It is no surprise why Brown is fast-tracking the twin tunnels plan. Resnick, the owner of Paramount Farms, and his wife Lynda, who will benefit greatly from the tunnels, are among the biggest contributors to Governor Jerry Brown, having contributed $99,000 to his 2010 campaign. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/09/1185886/--Governor-Brown-met-privately-with-Beverly-Hills-Ag-Queen-Junk-Bond-King)

Dr. Jerry Meral, the Administration's lead on the BDCP who earlier this year claimed that "the Delta cannot be saved," has stated that the tunnels will cost households as much as a cell phone bill.

"He and the water agency leaders pushing this boondoggle project ignore that many families in urban communities can't afford a second monthly cell phone bill - while receiving no additional benefit," concluded Barrigan-Parrilla.

The charts reveal that the total combined South-of-Delta water deliveries from the state and federal water projects averaged 5,178,023 acre feet of water from 2000 to 2009. An average of 3,111,208 acre feet of water, 60 percent, went to agriculture, while 2,065,820 acre feet of water, 39.9 percent, went to urban users.

The tables can be viewed at http://www.restorethedelta.org.

Rally/Press Conference Schedule:

Restore the Delta will be sponsoring the following rallies with dozens of other community, environmental, government, and water agencies this coming week. The group is urging its supporters to come out in "greater numbers than ever before."

The events are scheduled as follows:

Monday, December 9, 2013
-Rally at the Santa Clara Valley Water District
-Location: 5700 Almaden Expressway, San Jose, CA 95118
-Starting Time: 9 a.m. (there was a time change)
-Press Conference: After Secretary Laird finishes his talk

This Rally and Press Conference is sponsored by Restore the Delta, Food and Water Watch, Californians For A Fair Water Policy, 350 Silicon Valley, the Dean Democratic Club of Silicon Valley, the Environmental Water Caucus, and First Generation Farmers.

Monday, December 9, 2013
-Press Conference and Rally at the Capitol
-Location: Starting in Room 112, moving to West Steps if needed
Starting Time: Noon with 12:30 p.m. press conference arrive as early as 10:30 for possible walk to California Resources Agency

This rally is sponsored by Californians for A Fair Water Policy and dozens of other environmental, fishing, farming, government, and water agencies.

Friday, December 13, 2013
-Friday the 13th Rally to begin the 120 Day BDCP Response Countdown
-Location: West Steps of the Capitol
-Starting Time: 11:30 a.m.

This rally is sponsored by Californians for A Fair Water Policy and dozens of other environmental, fishing, farming, government, and water agencies.

Also, don't forget to write your letters to Governor Brown expressing your opposition to the peripheral tunnels plan! Letters should be addressed to:

Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

The salutation should read: The Honorable Edmund G. Brown

Bay Delta Conservation Plan Background

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the tunnels will likely hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as threaten the steelhead and salmon populations of the Trinity and Klamath rivers, according to agency and independent scientists. The plan proposes taking vast tracts of Delta farmland, among the most fertile in the country, out of agricultural production in order to irrigate toxic, drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The tunnel plan is based on the false premise that you can restore a river system by stealing more water from it. The purpose of the $54.1 billion plan, masquerading under the "coequal goals" of water supply reliability and ecosystem restoration, is to facilitate the export of more water to corporate agribusiness, developers and oil companies. The BDCP is opposed by a growing coalition of Delta residents, family farmers, Indian Tribes, water districts, Southern California water ratepayers, local governments, elected officials, recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, conservation organizations, environmental justice advocates and consumer groups.

The media advisory for Monday's event is below:

Media Advisory for Monday, December 9, 2013
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve [at] hopcraft.com Twitter: @shopcraft

Farmers, Fishermen, Taxpayers, Environmentalists & Consumer
Advocates to Oppose Governor's Water Export Tunnels:
Too Costly, Creates No New Water, Better Solutions Available
$50 billion Boondoggle - Urban Families & Businesses Pay for West
Side San Joaquin Valley Mega-Growers' Water

Californians for a Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition opposing Gov. Brown's water export tunnels, announced today that their members (Restore the Delta, Food & Water Watch, Environmental Water Caucus, Friends of the River, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Southern California Watershed Alliance, and Endangered Species Coalition) will join with elected leaders, the Sierra Club, the Planning and Conservation League, Earth Law Center, the Butte Environmental Council, C-WIN and a dozen other groups in a rally at the State Capitol on Monday, December 9.

As the Brown Administration and federal officials release their proposal, opponents will point out expected damage to water, the environment, fish, farming and water ratepayers.

What: Opponents Rally Against the BDCP Tunnels

When: Monday, December 9, 2013 -
10:30 am - Experts and spokesperson available to media, Room 112, State
Capitol, Sacramento
12:30 pm News conference and campaign Kickoff - State Capitol, West Steps,
Sacramento, CA
3:00 pm News teleconference - experts provide detailed response

Who: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta; Assembly member Jim Frazier; Jonas Minton, Planning and Conservation League; Zeke Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations; Bob Wright, Friends of the River; Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance; Nick di Croce, Environmental Water Caucus; Jim Cox, California Striped Bass Association, Osha Meserve, Stone Lakes Wildlife Refuge; Council Member Cathy Miller, City of Stockton; Mike Jackson, C-WIN; John Herrick, South Delta Water Agency; Tom Zuckerman, Central Delta Water Agencies.

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

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Big oil lobbyist/marine guardian praises draft fracking regulations

by: Dan Bacher

Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 17:36:54 PM PST

A powerful oil industry lobbyist praised draft fracking regulations released by the Brown administration on November 15 for creating an "environmental platform" for the expansion of hydraulic fracking operations in California, while environmentalists condemned the regulations for falling short of protecting California lands and waters from fracking.

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 alleged "marine protected areas" in Southern California, said she was pleased that the Department of Conservation and the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources have been able to "promptly release" draft hydraulic fracturing regulations.

"Governor Brown signed SB 4 less than two months ago, and the state has worked expeditiously to implement this new comprehensive law," said Reheis-Boyd. "These regulations are extensive but strike the right balance that will result in an environmental platform which will ensure that the potential energy resources contained in the Monterey Shale formation can be responsibly developed."

Reheis-Boyd claimed that the state only produces 38% of the crude oil it needs to refine into transportation fuels that keep the state moving.

"There are no pipelines that bring crude oil to California - we either produce it here and provide jobs, improve the economy and become more energy secure or it comes by tanker from foreign sources. SB 4 provides for responsible development of a much needed resource for California," she stated.

"The Western States Petroleum Association and our members look forward to engaging with the state and other stakeholders on how best to implement these new requirements in the coming months and years," Reheis-Boyd concluded.

The "marine protected areas" in Southern California created under Reheis-Boyd's "leadership" went into effect on January 1, 2012. These "marine protected areas" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, wind and wave energy projects, military testing and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering - thereby clearing the way for expanded fracking and offshore oil drilling.

Just 1-1/2 years after these "no fishing" zones were implemented, it was revealed by Freedom of Information documents, truthout.org and the Associated Press that Southern California marine waters, including the same waters that were supposedly "protected" by the privately-funded MLPA Initiative, have been "fracked" at least 203 times in the past two decades. (http://www.scpr.org/news/2013/10/19/39912/more-offshore-fracking-found-off-southern-californ/)

In contrast with Reheis-Boyd's praise of the draft regulations, environmental groups said Governor Brown's fracking regulations fail to protect California's air and water, falling even short of Senate Bill 4 minimal requirements.

In a statement, the Center for Biological Diversity said the regulations fall "far short of protecting California's air, water, communities and climate from fracking, a dangerously polluting practice that involves blasting chemical-laden water into the earth to fracture rock formations."

"Gov. Brown's fracking regulations would leave California's environment and public health horribly exposed to fracking pollution," said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. "These rules mostly take the narrowest, most oil industry-friendly approach to fracking that's possible under state law. They will permit fracking to spread across the state, endangering our air, water, communities and climate. The only safe way forward for California is a halt to this inherently dangerous process."

She said the draft regulations "go no further to protect Californians than the bare minimum requirements in S.B. 4" - and in some instances fall short even of those minimal mandates.

For example, Senate Bill 4 requires notice of fracking to all tenants living within a 1,500-foot radius of the wellhead of any fracked well, or within 500 feet of the horizontal projection of the subsurface portion of the well bore.

Siegel pointed out that draft regulations attempt to restrict notification to people with a written lease by defining "tenant" as "a person or entity possessing the right to occupy a legally recognized parcel, or portion thereof, by way of a valid written agreement." (See 1783.2(b).)

"Under California law, you don't need a written agreement to receive legal protections as a tenant," Siegel said. "It's outrageous for the governor's oil and gas officials to attempt to restrict the right to be warned that fracking may endanger your drinking water to people with a written lease."

"Among other failings, today's regulations do not address the large increase in deadly air pollutants like particulate matter, ozone and air toxics that will accompany a fracking boom. The Central Valley and the Los Angeles Basin, where industry is poised for a massive expansion of drilling, already suffer from the worst air quality in the nation," she said.

According to a recent Center report, oil companies engaged in fracking and other "extreme oil production methods" used 12 dangerous "air toxic" chemicals more than 300 times in the Los Angeles Basin over the summer, The regulations will do nothing to reduce such air toxics.

In a letter sent on November 13, twenty of the country's leading climate scientists called on Governor Jerry Brown to impose a moratorium on fracking in California. They said fracking and other extreme oil and gas extraction techniques disrupt the climate and harm California's efforts to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (http://www.mercurynews.com/science-environment/ci_24509392/top-climate-scientists-call-fracking-ban-letter-gov)

"Shale gas and tight oil development is likely to worsen climate disruption, which would harm California's efforts to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions," the letter stated.

Siegel concluded, "Gov. Brown knows that in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to leave a substantial portion of the world's fossil fuel reserves in the ground. The only sufficient regulation would be a prohibition on fracking and other extreme fossil-fuel extraction techniques."

Governor Brown signed Senator Fran Pavley's Senate Bill 4, dubbed the "green light to fracking" bill by conservation, consumer and environmental groups, on September 20. Over 100 organizations, including the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), Food and Water Watch, CREDO Action and the Center for Biological Diversity, opposed the legislation. The already weak legislation was eviscerated at the last minute with oil industry-friendly amendments under pressure by the Western States Petroleum Association and oil companies.

Brown's signing of the bill occurs as the Governor continues and expands the worst environmental policies of the Schwarzenegger administration. Brown is rushing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan BDCP to build the peripheral tunnels, has presided over record fish kills and water exports at the Delta pumps and completed the creation of a statewide network of so-called "marine protected areas" under Schwarzenegger's widely-contested Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative in December 2012.

Brown is also a big supporter of REDD+ carbon trading credits. At a protest in San Francisco on October 17, Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, urged Brown to reject REDD+ carbon trading credits that allow corporations to grab huge swaths of land in developing countries in order to keep polluting at home, endangering indigenous communities and the environment across the globe.

"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," said Goldtooth. (http://www.ienearth.org/press-statement-tom-goldtooth-behind-the-backs-of-the-people-of-california/)  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

The Greenwashing of Governor Jerry Brown

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Nov 13, 2013 at 21:38:46 PM PST

'Right Stuff' award in 2013 preceded by 'Ocean Champion' award in 2012

The Blue Green Alliance on October 17, 2013 greenwashed Governor Jerry Brown's terrible environmental record by giving Brown the "Right Stuff" award for his alleged "environmental leadership" just a month after he signed Senate Bill 4, Senator Fran Pavley's green light for fracking bill.

Faced with a protest of over 60 indigenous leaders, environmental advocates and labor activists, Brown decided to not show at the gala dinner at Le Parc Hotel in San Francisco that evening. (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/10/18/18745051.php)

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, urged Brown to reject REDD+ carbon trading credits, which allow corporations to grab huge swaths of land in developing countries in order to keep polluting at home, endangering indigenous communities and the environment across the globe.

"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," said Goldtooth. "The policy privatizes the air we breath. Commodifies the clouds. Buys and sells the atmosphere. Corrupts the sacred." (http://www.ienearth.org/press-statement-tom-goldtooth-behind-the-backs-of-the-people-of-california/)

Michael Preston, from the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, spoke out against the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels and Shasta dam raise that will cause the extinction of Sacramento River winter-run chinook salmon and other fish species and destroy the Delta in order to divert water to corporate agribusiness, developers and oil companies.

However, this is not the first time that NGOs have greenwashed Brown's toxic environmental legacy. In a previous award ceremony for Brown in Sacramento hosted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in March 2012, there were no protesters gathered to greet Brown - and the press was barred from the event. And you can expect to see more greenwashing of Brown's war on salmon, the Delta, the ocean and the people of California by NGOs and other politicians.  

No press allowed

On March 26, 2012, I received a media advisory from the Governor's office stating that "Governor Edmund G. Brown will attend a reception commemorating Ocean Day this evening sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium where he will receive the 2012 Ocean Champion Award." The event was held that evening at 6 p.m. at the Sutter Club in Sacramento.

However, the release noted, "This event is closed to the press."

The media advisory listed a representative of Environment California as the contact for more information about the Ocean Day that the reception was part of.

I found it interesting that the press was barred from this event. Could this because the media might ask some embarrassing questions about why Governor Jerry Brown was receiving the 2012 'Ocean Champion' award when he has committed himself to continuing many of the abysmal environmental polices of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger?

David Gurney, independent journalist and Co-Chair of the Ocean Protection Coalition, noted that the Governor and the sponsors of the event employed the first and perhaps easiest way to "manage the news" - simply to deny reporters access to information or an event. (http://noyonews.net/?p=5525)

"Members of the press were left to wonder why reporting was barred from an event which logically, the Governor would want proudly publicized. Since the free press was barred, one can only wonder if Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, and chair of the MLPA Initiative for the South Coast, was on hand at the 'Ocean Champion' awards banquet ?" said Gurney.

Gurney said the sponsors of the event, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Julie Packard of the Packard Foundation, and other Resources Legacy Fund Foundation billionaires who funded the "Initiative," were no doubt on hand in full force. "They did not want their quality time with the Governor impinged upon by the prying eyes of the press," he noted.

"Our impoverished Governor, Jerry Brown, no doubt welcomed both the free seafood dinner, and the private funding of tens of millions of dollars that financed the outlaw public process, that claims to 'save the ocean,'" Gurney quipped.

"The financiers of the Marine Life Protection Act 'Initiative' were celebrating the success of their experimental plan to both illegally privatize a governmental process, and appropriate about 14% of California's offshore resources," Gurney continued.

"It seems the main thing 'protected' by this corrupt version of 'the Act,' were the special interests who financed it. As such, the MLPA 'Initiative' should in reality be called: the marine life protection racket. Apparently, the bitter hypocrisy of super-rich 'ocean guardians' - eating a haute monde 'sustainable seafood' dinner in secrecy, to celebrate the faux conquistador of sustainable fishing communities - was totally lost on these corporate plutocrats," Gurney concluded.

I agreed with Gurney about his criticism of the effort by the Governor's office and event sponsors to exclude the press from this event. This would have been a great chance for reporters to ask Brown about his policies on the oceans, Delta and other environmental issues.

Brown's policies threaten salmon, rivers and oceans

In addition, I found it puzzling that Brown was bestowed the "Ocean Champion" award by NGOs when his administration has continued Schwarzenegger administration policies that threaten ocean, Delta and Central Valley fisheries.

Brown signed a couple of good bills for ocean fisheries, including a bill limiting the number of crab pots used by commercial fishermen and legislation banning the sale of shark fins in California. However, on the biggest and most controversial issues regarding our oceans, estuaries and freshwater resources, Brown has been firmly on the side of corporate interests that seek to privatize and exploit public trust resources.

First, the Governor presided over record water exports out of the Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, and a record fish kill at the state and federal pumps in 2011. A record number of 8,989,639 native Sacramento splittail were "salvaged" in the Delta pumps in order to ship record amounts of water to southern California and corporate agribusiness. The annual splittail "salvage" number is 1,201,585 fish, according to the Bay Institute's report, Collateral Damage,http://bay.org/publications/collateral-damage

The report emphasized that "Salvage numbers drastically underestimate the actual impact. Although the exact numbers are uncertain, it is clear that tens of millions of fish are killed each year, and only a small fraction of this is reflected in the salvage numbers that are reported." One study of "pre-screen loss" estimated that as many as 19 of every 20 fish perished before being counted (Castillo, 2010).

The annual export total was 6,678,000 acre-feet of water in 2011, 208,000 acre-feet more than the previous record of 6,470,000 acre-feet set in 2005. The total includes 4.003 million acre-feet through the Banks Pumping Plant of the State Water Project (SWP), 2.570 million acre-feet through the Jones Pumping Plant of the Central Valley Project (CVP), 69 thousand acre-feet through the Contra Costa Canal (CVP) and 37 thousand acre-feet through the North Bay Aqueduct (SWP).

Second, the Governor has fast-tracked the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels to export more water to corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. If built, this canal will likely result in the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other imperiled fish species.

Third, Brown has forged ahead with the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act Initiative to create so-called "marine protected areas" in California. These "marine protected areas" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling and spills, military testing, pollution, corporate aquaculture, wind and wave energy projects and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

The alleged "marine protected areas" that went into effect on the Southern California coast on January 1, 2012 were created under the helm of a big oil lobbyist. Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association and a relentless advocate for new offshore drilling, the Keystone XL Pipeline and the weakening of California's environmental laws, served as the Chair of the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast that oversaw the implementation of these glorious "Yosemites of the Sea."

For more information about Governor Brown's abysmal environmental legacy, go to: http://www.dailykos.com/story/...  

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Folsom Lake and American River threatened by twin tunnels plan

by: Dan Bacher

Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 10:02:59 AM PST

Monday, November 4 was a big day for opponents of Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels.

Placer County officials held a press conference on the bed of Folsom Lake criticizing the unpopular plan at the same time that nine elected leaders, a top economist, and water experts told "The Real Delta Story" at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, addressing the impacts of the proposed water export tunnels on the region.

Also on the same day, Nimbus Fish Hatchery officials opened the fish ladder so the first batch of fall run Chinook salmon on the American River could enter the facility to be spawned.

The Placer County leaders criticized the current BDCP and urged state leaders to modify it so it "doesn't just benefit one part of the state," according to Placer County on-line. (http://placercountyonline.com/2013/placer-leaders-highlight-dangers-bay-delta-conservation-plan-sacramento-region/)

Officials fear the plan will result in the export of more Folsom Lake water to corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, leaving the Sacramento area with a virtually empty Folsom Lake.

"We need a strategy for the entire state, a plan that benefits everyone so that all Californians can prosper," said Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin at the press conference.

"Unfortunately the reliable water supplies our region has come to know are in jeopardy," noted Gaines. "In its current form, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan shows no plan to address how the state will prevent Folsom Lake from reaching extreme low levels."

Roseville Mayor Susan Rohan, Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler, Roseville Vice Mayor Carol Garcia, Placer County Water Agency Directors Gray Allen and Robert Dugan and officials from the San Juan Water District joined Gaines in criticizing the tunnel plan.

For the "Sake of the Lake" is a regional effort co‐founded by the City of Roseville and San Juan Water District, organized through the partnership dubbed "Protect Our Folsom Water," to "bring to light the importance of Folsom Lake to the region."

The news conference kicked off a week of outreach efforts by the group including: partnerships with local school districts, educational programs and afterschool centers to educate children about the importance of the lake; electronic and social media outreach to target regional water users, and; support from business owners who rely on water supplies for the success of their businesses.

The state's most recent draft of the BDCP shows the lake will drop to "dead pool, a virtual dry lake to water providers and at least once every ten years due to climate change," the group said.

A depleted Folsom Lake will also threaten American River king salmon and steelhead populations that need abundant, cold water from Folsom Lake to survive.

"What the BDCP doesn't show, however, is how the state will work to prevent this from happening - something they say they'll address," according to the group.

"We need state leaders to address this issue with a sound operational plan that provides water supply reliability for the entire state," noted Roseville Mayor Susan Rohan. "We cannot stay silent on this issue until we have solid assurances that our region's water supply will not be compromised. We are eager to work with the Governor and state officials to develop solutions to these complex water challenges and provide certainty that the water supply needs of all Californians will be met."

"Folsom Lake directly supplies water to over half‐a‐million people and serves another half‐million people as its water supplies travel down the American River," according to ProtectOurFolsomWater.com. "It's a recreational beacon to the region and the second most visited park in the state parks system. The lake is also a driver of the Sacramento economy. Without its reliable water supplies development, existing industries and businesses will be crippled."

Folsom Lake hosts a naturally spawning king salmon fishery, as well as abundant populations of spotted, largemouth and smallmouth bass, rainbow trout and channel catfish. The American River below the dam hosts a unique urban fishery for king salmon, steelhead, striped bass, American shad and other species that would be devastated if the peripheral tunnels are built.

Organizations signing letters or resolutions of support for the effort to prevent more Folsom Lake water from being exported south include the County of Sacramento, Sacramento Suburban Water District, Sacramento Metro Chamber, Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Regional Water Authority.

"This isn't just about the BDCP," added Gaines. "This is about a smart solution to a problem that is all too familiar to our state: getting water to those who need it without hurting those who have it. All of California deserves reliable access to water supplies. But the state has to develop a plan to make sure one region won't suffer to benefit another."

The State Water Contractors disagreed with Gaines and other officials that the BDCP will deplete Folsom Lake's water level.

"The results show that BDCP actions do NOT have any material effect on future upstream reservoir levels," the association claimed. "However, the analysis does show that potential changes in climate would have an effect on upstream reservoir levels. That is a concern for us all, but to suggest that BDCP is putting Folsom Lake in jeopardy is simply not true." (http://www.swc.org/in-the-news/delta-doozy)

Yet the association and other BDCP advocates have failed to point out one single example, in U.S. or world, history of where the construction of a major diversion tunnel or canal hasn't resulted in diverting more water out of an ecosystem and the destruction of that ecosystem.

To learn more, visit ProtectOurFolsomWater.com and sign up to take the pledge to protect Folsom Lake and American River water supplies from the construction of the twin tunnels.

Coalition Members Tell The 'Real Delta Story'

On the same day, nine elected leaders, a top economist, and water experts told "The Real Delta Story" at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, addressing the impacts of the proposed water export tunnels on the region.

A little more than a month before the Brown Administration releases its water export plan, the experts addressed its impacts on water quality, agriculture, fisheries, farming and the ecosystem of the Delta.

Speakers included John Herrick, attorney and water expert; Dr. Jeff Michael, University of the Pacific Economist; Barbara Barrigan-Parilla, Restore the Delta Executive Director; Larry Ruhstaller, San Joaquin County Supervisor (District 2) and Chair of the Delta Protection Commission; Ken Vogel, San Joaquin County Supervisor (District 4) and Chair of the Delta Conservancy; Rogene Reynolds, Farmer in the South Delta.

Stockton City Councilmember Kathy Miller (District 2) moderated a panel of legislators who represent the heart of the Delta including: State Senator Lois Wolk (District 3); Senator Cathleen Galgiani (District 5); Assembly Member Susan Eggman (District 13); Assembly Member Jim L. Frazier, Jr. (District 11); Assembly Member Kristin M. Olsen (District 12); Assembly Member Mariko Yamada (District 4).

"We certainly have the science and the facts on our side," said state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, one of the state Legislature's most outspoken Delta defenders, according to the Stockton Record. "We have the cost and financing and economics on our side. What we're really going to need to do is form alliances and reach out and persuade others. Our success will be dependent on that." (http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131105/A_NEWS/311050320)

The Brown administration continues to push the $54.1 billion peripheral tunnel boondoggle even when all of the science indicates that the construction of the tunnels would hasten the extinction of the Central Valley Chinook salmon, steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other species while imperiling salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. The tunnel will deliver massive quantities of water to corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage-impaired, selenium-laced land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

For more information and action alerts, go to http://www.restorethedelta.com

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Water export tunnels threaten survival of sandhill cranes

by: Dan Bacher

Mon Nov 04, 2013 at 12:41:10 PM PST

Central Valley chinook salmon and steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish populations are the not only species imperiled by Governor Jerry Brown's peripheral tunnel plan.

While one of the alleged co-equal goals of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the twin tunnels is "ecosystem" restoration, Sandhill Crane experts on Friday, November 1 revealed that the wildly unpopular plan actually threatens the survival of these beautiful birds.

As thousands of birders convened for the annual Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival, Sandhill Crane advocates held a news conference to warn that harmful impacts from the Brown Administration's proposed water export tunnels "gamble with the threatened birds' survival."

According to a joint news release from the three groups, the Brown administration has rerouted the tunnels project directly under the Staten Island Sandhill Cranes' refuge, lands purchased with public money for the conservation of Sandhill Crane habitat,

"The Sandhill Cranes are already threatened; that's why Staten Island was preserved with public funds ten years ago," said Sally Shanks, who once worked the land on Staten Island that was later sold to the State so that crane habitat would be preserved in perpetuity. "The proposed tunnels gamble with their survival."

The Save Our Sandhill Cranes Association (S.O.S.), Lodi Sandhill Cranes Association, and Restore the Delta listed negative impacts they've identified from the massive, decade-long construction project, and its aftermath.

The Cranes experts said the massive industrial construction project would have negative impacts on the threatened birds not only on Staten Island, but also across their entire Delta habitat area, harming important roosting and foraging area.

Ironically, the Phil and Marilyn Isenberg Crane Reserve, named for the former chair of the Delta Stewardship Council who oversaw the release of a Delta Plan that would result in the destruction of the Bay-Delta Estuary, would be negatively impacted. Phil Isenberg also served as the Chair of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force that recommended the construction of a peripheral canal or tunnel. In addition, he also served as the Chair of the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create alleged "marine protected areas" on the Central Coast.

Osha Meserve, an attorney for Local Agencies of the North Delta and the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Association, stated, "The risks to this majestic species from the BDCP go well beyond Staten Island, as there is crane roosting and foraging habitat throughout the BDCP intakes, forebay and tunnel construction area that will be negatively impacted throughout the 9-year construction period and beyond."

"The BDCP's currently unfunded plan to eventually create thousands of acres of habitat to benefit imperiled fish will destroy thousands of acres of current crane habitat, which may never be replaced, or may be replaced too late to provide the habitat the cranes need each winter," she added.

Negative BDCP impacts from the tunnel construction include:

• Intense construction activities with ground shaking, noise, night-time lighting, dewatering, and truck trips in areas that are now largely quiet and undisturbed.

• Fifteen miles of new permanent transmission lines right through the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge could lead to hundreds of bird "strike" deaths each year.

• The BDCP will only further imperil the Sandhill and there is a better solution for Sandhill cranes, as well as for other birds, fish, wildlife, farming, fishing and the communities of the Delta.

• The Lodi Sandhill Crane Association's board voted to declare their opposition to development that would compromise historic crane roosting and foraging habitat. The Association said the latest water project relocation through Staten Island is of particular concern.

"Staten Island was established to be the Cranes' last sanctuary, and the BDCP Tunnels threaten that refuge," said Shanks. "Staten Island is literally the heart of the ecosystem that allows the cranes to exist in this area. It's not credible that this project won't have negative impacts on the cranes' habitat. It is essential that the project do no damage to Staten Island. It is not acceptable to do damage and then mitigate that damage, because it will be too late for the Cranes."

The BDCP Tunnels project, designed to export massive quantities of Sacramento River water to corporate agribusiness, oil companies and Southern California water agencies, also threatens the annual festival, which boosts the local economy by drawing thousands of visitors from the Bay Area and elsewhere.

The revenue from our festival provides funds for buses and tour leaders to take local school children out to learn about the cranes. If the project drives the Cranes away with its noise, power line bird strikes, ground shaking and constant construction, there will be no festival.

"Thousands of people come from out of our area to view the cranes, and bring economic benefit to the area. Are we supposed to shut down the festival for 10 years during this project?" asked Shanks.

Mike Savino, president of Save our Sandhill Cranes, said, "California officials are contemplating running two water tunnels through Staten Island, one of the most important wintering sites for California's Sandhill cranes. This could be an unmitigatable disaster for our cranes."

"The State cannot do 'adaptive management' on Staten Island, because one error and the Cranes will be gone," said Savino.

"The people of California made a $35 million investment in the Staten Island Cranes' Refuge, and the tunnels threaten that public investment," said Shanks. The State is promising that their mitigation will work, but there is no way to tell. There is no literature that assures us that the mitigation measures would work. There needs to be no impact, not impacts that are mitigated.

Sean Wirth, Conservation Chair for the area's Sierra Club Chapter, said, "We are presently at a critical juncture in the Central Valley when it comes to Sandhill Crane preservation. Decades of rampant sprawl development have permanently removed huge swaths of historic habitat, and increasingly large-scale conversion of agriculture to incompatible crop types has temporarily removed even more habitat."

"At this point, there are so many pressures on the remaining habitat that what might, in an unconstrained landscape, appear to be a good idea, will be an additional burden on a species that is already increasingly shoehorned into ever smaller remnants of its historic range," she explained. "Taking thousands of acres of good foraging habitat for Sandhill Cranes and turning them into what amounts to experimental re-creations of tidal freshwater marsh can only be seen as problematic at best. The construction-related impacts, direct and indirect, permanent and temporary, of the twin tunnels are even more problematic still."

"The BDCP Tunnels project is unnecessary, unwise, unaffordable and two-thirds of the water exports go to a small number of corporate mega-growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. "There is a better solution. Don't build the tunnels. Reduce the amount of water exported, as the current volume is destroying the Delta and Pacific fisheries.

"Fatten the levees, continue to send the Sacramento River's fresh water through the Delta to nourish farms that currently provide important foraging habitat to the Sandhill cranes and is needed by the imperiled fish BDCP says it is trying to protect . And use the billions planned for tunnels construction to develop regional water solutions for California," Barrigan-Parrilla advised.

For more information, contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve [at] hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft, @MrSandhillCrane, or go to http://www.restorethedelta.org
Add Your Comments

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Governor Jerry Brown's 10 Worst Environmental Policies

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 12:38:55 PM PDT

On October 17, Governor Brown failed to show up to receive a "Right Stuff" environmental award from the Blue Green Alliance at a gala dinner at Le Parc Hotel in San Francisco as over 60 people protested outside.

Every year, the Apollo Alliance Project of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation recognizes business, community, environmental and labor leaders for their "outstanding work in advocating for family-sustaining jobs, clean energy, stronger infrastructure, and a better future for all of us." This year, they selected Governor Jerry Brown as a winner in the government category. (http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/the-right-stuff-awards-honor-governor-brown-and-labor-environmental-and-industry-leaders-for-accelerating-clean-energy-growth-creating-family-sustaining-jobs)

Outraged over the selection of Brown for the award after he has advanced so many bad environmental policies such as promoting fracking, a coalition of environmentalists, indigenous leaders and labor activists organized the protest to expose the real, abysmal environmental record of Governor Brown. (http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2013/10/21/brown-takes-heat-fracking, http://www.indybay.org/newsite...

At the protest, Michael Preston from the Winnemem Wintu Tribe blasted Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and the federal Shasta Dam raise plan that will cause massive fish extinction and destroy the Delta.

"I am here as a Winnemem Wintu Tribe warrior to speak for the salmon and for our cultural beliefs and sacred sites," said Preston. "We have to speak out against the peripheral tunnels and Shasta dam raises because they could make the fish extinct and destroy the whole Bay Delta Estuary. These plans will affect all of life more than we know."

Brown's ten worst environmental policies were outlined in an alternative program that protesters handed out to attendees of the dinner. These policies include the following:

• Twin Tunnel Plan: Brown is fast-tracking the $54.1 billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that would divert massive quantities of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to corporate agribusiness, developers and oil companies. The construction of the peripheral tunnels will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and green sturgeon, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

• Senate Bill 4: Not only did Brown sign SB4- Senator Fran Pavley's "greenlight to fracking" bill-he gutted it at the 11th hour, adding poison pill amendments, which make CEQA review of fracking permits optional, and prevent imposing a moratorium on fracking for 15 months. He signed the bill after receiving at least $2.49 million over several years from oil and natural gas interests. Mark Nechodom, head of the state Conservation Department, recently said definitively, "Gov. Brown supports hydraulic fracturing."

• REDD: The REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation+) 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).

• Record Water Exports: The Brown administration 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 went to corporate agribusiness, including mega-farmers irrigating unsustainable, selenium-laced land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

• Record Delta Fish Kills: The Brown administration "salvaged" a record 9 million Sacramento splittail and 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.

• Central Valley Project Improvement Act: The act mandated the doubling of Central Valley anadromous fish populations, including Chinook salmon, steelhead, green sturgeon, white sturgeon, striped bass, and American shad, by 2002. Under Brown in recent years, rather than doubling, these fish populations have continued to decline. The Chinook salmon runs on the Sacramento River last year were only 20% of the level mandated by federal law and the endangered Sacramento River winter run Chinook population is threatened with extinction, due to massive water exports out of the Delta.

• 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.

• Department of Conservation Appointments: After Brown fired Acting Director Chernow and Oil and Gas Supervisor Miller and appointed oil industry-friendly Mark Nechodom, risky injection oil drilling permits increased by 18 percent.

• 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 letting the Annenberg Foundation bulldoze a section of the Ballona Wetlands to build an interpretive center and help with the "restoration" of the land around the center.

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

Of course, any discussion of Brown's worst environmental policies must include his implementation of the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative started by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2004.

The conflicts of interest, failure to comprehensively protect the ocean, shadowy private funding, incomplete and terminally flawed science and violation of the Yurok Tribe's traditional harvesting rights have made the MLPA Initiative to create so-called "marine protected areas into one of the worst examples of corporate greenwashing in California history. These so-called "Yosemites of the Sea" fail to protect the ocean from oil spills and drilling, fracking, pollution, wind and wave energy projects, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

In an egregious environmental conflict of interest, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force to create "marine protected areas" in Southern California. Reheis-Boyd, who lobbies relentlessly to expand fracking, build the Keystone Pipeline and eviscerate environmental laws, also served on the task forces for the Central, North Central and North Coast.

For more information about the MLPA Initiative, go to:
http://intercontinentalcry.org...  

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Brown fails to show for environmental award under pressure from protest

by: Dan Bacher

Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 15:01:38 PM PDT

Over 60 people, including indigenous leaders, environmentalists and labor activists, gathered at the Le Parc Hotel in San Francisco on Thursday, October 17 from 5:30 to 7 pm to protest the Blue Green Alliance's honoring of Governor Jerry Brown with its "Right Stuff" Award.

Faced with the protest condemning his anti-environmental policies, Brown apparently decided to back out from receiving the award. In particular, the protest focused on Brown's support for fracking, a massive twin tunnels project and his emissions trading scheme.

A video of the protest is available at: http://www.facebook.com/damien...

The protest was organized by a group of individuals unaffiliated with national environmental organizations who were galvanized by Brown's most recent assault on the environment: the green lighting of fracking in California.

"Jerry Brown ignored the majority of Californians and the rank and file of the Democratic Party who support a moratorium on fracking," said organizer Damien Luzzo. "He signaled that he would not sign any of the moratorium bills and only signed the already weak SB4, after he gutted it at the 11th hour at the behest of Big Oil."

According to organizer Lauren Steiner, "When I worked on Jerry Brown's presidential campaign in 1992, he was an uncompromised environmentalist. Now he will support any industry, including polluting ones, if he thinks it can bring jobs and tax revenues. In 1992, the old Jerry Brown limited his campaign contributions to under $100, so he wouldn't be beholden to special interests. The new Jerry Brown has accepted $2.5 million over the past few years from the oil and gas industry."

At the rally, Steve Ongerth, one of the three co-founders of the IWW Environmental Caucus, talked about how some Earth First!ers founded what became the BGA in 1998 and how far the group has strayed from its original goals. His article is available at: http://www.counterpunch.org/20...

"The Blue Green Alliance, while well meaning, has made far too many compromises to corporations," said Ongerth in CounterPunch. "I support renewable energy, but it must be produced sustainably and deployed in harmony with the environment. Workers who manufacture, install and maintain the equipment must work under good and safe working conditions. Giving Jerry Brown an award is proof the Blue Green Alliance has lost its way."  

"It is ludicrous for Blue Green Alliance to give the Governor an award. Attacks on the environment or workers will not save our planet," said Ongerth.  

Michael Preston, from the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, spoke out against the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and Shasta dam raise that will cause massive fish extinction and destroy the Delta in order to divert water to corporate agribusiness, oil companies and Southern California water agencies.

"I am here as a Winnemem Wintu Tribe warrior to speak for the salmon and for our cultural beliefs and sacred sites," said Preston. "We have to speak out against the peripheral tunnel and Shasta dam raises because they could make the fish extinct and destroy the whole Bay Delta Estuary. These plans will affect all of life more than we know."

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, urged Brown to reject REDD+ carbon trading credits, which allow corporations to grab huge swaths of land in developing countries in order to keep polluting at home, usually in low income neighborhoods populated by people of color.

"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," said Goldtooth. "The policy privatizes the air we breath. Commodifies the clouds. Buys and sells the atmosphere. Corrupts the sacred."

Pamela Zuppo, from the San Francisco chapter of 350.org, spoke on Brown's support of fracking, including his signing of Senate Bill 4, the green light to fracking bill.

At the end of the program, Penny Opal Plant of Gathering Tribes read a list of groups and individuals who should have received an environmental award this year instead of Jerry Brown.

These include:
• Holly Mitchell, who introduced a strong fracking moratorium bill in the state legislature and LA City Council members Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin, who recently introduced a fracking moratorium motion in Los Angeles;
• Mark Jacobson, from Stanford University, who has developed a plan to power California with 100% renewables by 2030;
• The Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice, whose lawsuit halted fracking in public lands in California;
• Truthout, the on-line publication whose investigative reporting uncovered fracking off the California coast;
• The Coalition to Decommission San Onofre, whose tireless work led to the shutdown of this dangerous nuclear power plant;
• State Senator Lois Wolk, a tireless opponent of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, whose recently signed bill SB43 allows customers to get more than 20% of their power from renewables;
• The Klamath Justice Coalition, a coalition of members of Indian Tribes and activists who have helped stop fish kills and fought for dam removal on the Klamath River;
• The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, which has filed hundreds of successful lawsuits and complaints compelling industry, agribusiness, cities, counties and water boards to comply with the Clean Water Act; and
• Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who has waived residential solar permit fees, initiated a solar thermal rebate policy and a green jobs training program, sponsored Green Building and Compostable Food Ware ordinances and helped negotiate a $114 million settlement with Chevron.

One highlight of the protest was a group of flash-mobbers who sang and danced to Toxic. Anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan, who is running for Governor on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, also showed up at the protest with a group of her supporters.

As attendees of the dinner were arriving, protesters also handed out an alternative program for the event featuring the 10 worst environmental policies of Governor Brown. These include: the twin tunnel plan; plans to weaken the California Environmental Water Quality Act (CEQA); record water exports out of the Delta; record Delta fish kills; the signing of Senate Bill 4; clear cutting in the Sierra Nevada; pro-oil industry appointments to the Department of Conservation; the support of "theme park" wetlands; the failure to abide by the fish doubling provisions of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) and support of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).  

The program also included the list of groups and individuals who should have received an environmental award this year instead of Jerry Brown.

For more information about Jerry Brown's abysmal environmental record, go to: http://www.counterpunch.org/20...
 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Californians to Protest Gov. Brown's Environmental Award in S.F., Thursday, October 17

by: Dan Bacher

Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 17:07:01 PM PDT

Immediate Release:
October 15, 2013
Contact: Donald Goldmacher: Donald.goldmacher@gmail.com 510-527-1761  

WHAT: Protest of Jerry Brown receiving environmental award

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 17, 5:30-7 - Speeches/Press Conference at 6

WHERE: Le Parc Hotel, 55 Cyril Magnin St. San Francisco

CALIFORNIANS TO PROTEST GOV. BROWN'S ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD

On Thursday, October 17, approximately 200 California residents will be outside Le Parc Hotel at 55 Cyril Magnin Street in San Francisco from 5:30 to 7 pm protesting the Blue Green Alliance's honoring of Governor Jerry Brown with its Right Stuff Award. In particular, the protest will focus on Brown's support for fracking, a massive twin tunnels project and his emissions trading scheme.

The protest was organized by a group of individuals unaffiliated with national environmental organizations who were galvanized by Brown's most recent assault on the environment: the green lighting of fracking in California.

"Jerry Brown ignored the majority of Californians and the rank and file of the Democratic Party who support a moratorium on fracking," said organizer Damien Luzzo. "He signaled that he would not sign any of the moratorium bills and only signed the already weak SB4, after he gutted it at the 11th hour at the behest of Big Oil."

According to organizer Lauren Steiner, "When I worked on Jerry Brown's presidential campaign in 1992, he was an uncompromised environmentalist. Now he will support any industry, including polluting ones, if he thinks it can bring jobs and tax revenues. In 1992, the old Jerry Brown limited his campaign contributions to under $100, so he wouldn't be beholden to special interests. The new Jerry Brown has accepted $2.5 million over the past few years from the oil and gas industry."

At the rally, Steve Ongerth, founder of the IWW Environmental Caucus, will talk about how he and some Earth First!ers founded what became the BGA in 1998 and how far the group has strayed from its original purpose.

Pamela Zuppo, from the San Francisco chapter of 350.org, will speak on Brown's support of fracking.

Michael Preston, from the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, will speak out against the peripheral tunnels and Shasta dam raise that will cause massive fish extinction and destroy the whole Bay Delta Estuary to divert water to  to corporate agribusiness interests, oil companies and Southern California water agencies.

Tom Goldtooth, from the Indigenous Environmental Network, will urge Brown to reject REDD+ carbon trading credits, which allow corporations to grab huge swaths of land in developing countries in order to keep polluting at home, usually in low income neighborhoods populated by people of color.

Hezekiah Allen, former Executive Director of the Mattole Restoration Council, an organization committed to community-based watershed protection and restoration, forest protection, and water conservation, will talk about how progress in renewable energy can get us off fossil fuels today, if only political leaders like Jerry Brown had the will to do so.

The final portion of the program will be the reading of a list of groups and individuals who should have received an environmental award this year instead of Jerry Brown. These include:

• Holly Mitchell, who introduced a strong fracking moratorium bill in the state legislature and LA City Council members Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin, who recently introduced a fracking moratorium motion in Los Angeles;

• Mark Jacobson, from Stanford University, who has developed a plan to power California with 100% renewables by 2030;

• The Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice, whose lawsuit halted fracking in public lands in California;

• Truthout, the on-line publication whose investigative reporting uncovered fracking off the California coast;

• The Coalition to Decommission San Onofre, whose tireless work led to the shutdown of this dangerous nuclear power plant;

• State Senator Lois Wolk, a tireless opponent of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, whose recently signed bill SB43 allows customers to get more than 20% of their power from renewables;

• The Klamath Justice Coalition, a coalition of members of Indian Tribes and activists who have helped stop fish kills and fought for dam removal on the Klamath River;

• The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, which has filed hundreds of successful lawsuits and complaints compelling industry, agribusiness, cities, counties and  water boards  to comply with the Clean Water Act; and

• Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who has waived residential solar permit fees, initiated a solar thermal rebate policy and a green jobs training program, sponsored  Green Building and Compostable Food Ware ordinances and helped negotiate a $114 million settlement with Chevron.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)
Next >>
Calitics in the Media
Archives & Bookings
The Calitics Radio Show
Calitics Premium Ads


Support Calitics:

Get discounted bestsellers at Barnes & Noble.com!

Advertisers


-->
California Friends
Shared Communities
Resources
California News
Progressive Organizations
The Big BlogRoll

Referrals
Technorati
Google Blogsearch

Daily Email Summary


Powered by: SoapBlox