CALIFORNIA REPRESENTATIVES CONDEMN THE BAY DELTA CONSERVATION PLAN
Cite lack of scientific support, devastating consequences for northern California
Today, several U.S. Representatives from northern California responded to the unveiling of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The representatives have been vocal in their opposition to any BDCP agreement that is not based on sound science and will likely cause economic and environmental harm to the Bay-Delta and northern California.
The coalition of representatives have repeatedly called on the U.S. Department of the Interior to include the input of the Bay-Delta communities, demanding a seat at the table as the BDCP has moved forward. Today, Governor Jerry Brown and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that they intend to move forward with construction of a massive tunnel system underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, ultimately shipping water south and economically and environmentally devastating the region. The members of Congress rejected the proposal by criticizing the void of scientific support as well as the utter lack of regard for current and future water rights for northern California.
“Today’s proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan missed a golden opportunity to develop sound water policy, instead choosing politics over science. It will cost jobs, harm our environment and is a bad deal for Northern California,” said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena). “All that we’ve insisted on is that any BDCP be based on sound science. Given the announced preferred alternative, this was apparently too much to ask. Before making irreversible decisions, we need a transparent, comprehensive and impartial discussion, with all stakeholders at the table, on how this would impact the farmers, fishers and businesses that depend on the Delta for their livelihoods. Today’s announcement ignores the needs of Northern California and will devastate our economy.”
“For years, I have been fighting against water exportation that would hurt our community. This BDCP plan is a travesty for northern California and will decimate our region, costing millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. This development is a huge breach of the public trust. Governor Brown and Secretary Salazar have shown today that they have little regard for the people of San Joaquin County. The families, farmers, and small business owners in northern California stand to have their livelihoods destroyed. This will have ruinous consequences for our local economy at a time when we already struggle with record unemployment,” said Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton).
“I am troubled by the tone of today’s announcement,” said Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez). “If ‘getting it done’ means cutting corners, leaving out details, and getting ahead of the science, we’re not actually getting anything done – we’re just getting into a trap. There are parts of this proposal that are encouraging and are a step forward from previous efforts, but even after this morning’s announcement there’s a lot of work left to be done before any final decisions can be made. This process has to engage in the hard work of science – not just leap ahead before we know the impacts of this plan on the health and economy of the Bay-Delta and the communities that depend on it. Keep in mind what is at stake here – a badly designed plan can harm drinking water supplies, further endanger California’s salmon runs, and ruin the economic livelihood of tens of thousands in the fishing and related industries up and down our coast.”
“To solve California’s water issues, northern California must be part of the decision making process. Unfortunately we were not. Imagine if San Francisco decided to build the Golden Gate Bridge without consulting Marin County? The 9,000 cfs facility being proposed is simply not acceptable. It will cause massive impacts in the Sacramento area and suck our river dry. There are still a lot of unaddressed issues, and it is my sincere hope they will be addressed before any BDCP moves forward,” said Rep. Doris O. Matsui (D-Sacramento). “This proposal will also put at risk Senior Water rights that Sacramento County and the Delta region hold. As the member of Congress that represents the Sacramento region, ‘home’ of the project’s massive infrastructure, I can tell you there are no benefits to Sacramento, only negative impacts.”
“If the State rushes to build a 9,000 cfs water project without doing the science on how it would divert the river, then the Delta will suffer, and farming and fishing jobs that depend on it will be lost. California fishermen and fisherwomen are just recovering from three years of disaster, and now a 50-year permit is being rushed for water contractors for a project that would sell Northern California communities down the river. A plan this reckless will not succeed,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo).
“Today I flew back to California to make it clear to state and federal lawmakers where I stand: the 9,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) conveyance facility being proposed could wreak havoc on the Delta and the jobs it sustains and put existing water rights in the Delta and Northern California at risk,” said Rep. John Garamendi (D-Fairfield). “It is possible for California to solve its water problems, but the Delta and Northern California counties must be at the table, and it will take a comprehensive, multifaceted approach, not just a piece of plumbing in the Delta. We must address the needs of all Californians by prioritizing storage, conservation, recycling, levee improvements, and habitat restoration. A BDCP without these elements is incomplete at best.”
Link to video footage of today’s press conference: http://youtu.be/01AwRfzEajo.