It sounded like a good idea to us

The Delta Stewardship Council couldn’t wait to get started on the part of the Interim Plan that involves “review and approval of Proposition 1E expenditures for selected projects.”

When voters approved 1E in 2006, that approval included $35 million “to reinforce those sections of the levees that have the highest potential to suffer breaches or failure and cause harm to municipal and industrial water supply aqueducts that cross the Delta and which are vulnerable to flood damage.”

EBMUD partnered with Delta reclamation districts to propose a Delta Levees Special Flood Control Project that would protect the District’s Mokelumne Aqueducts, Kinder Morgan petroleum pipeline, Burlington Northern Santa Fe raid line, and other Delta infrastructure, including State Highway 4.

The FloodSAFE Environmental Stewardship and Statewide Resources Office (FESSRO), Delta Levees Special Projects Branch, recommended moving ahead with the project.

FESSRO noted that if the DSC didn’t approve the project, the legislative mandate would not be met; the funds (which had to be reserved by June 30) would revert; the opportunity to provide jobs in an economically depressed region would be lost; and water supply and reliability for the East Bay would remain at its current level of risk.

There were so many good reasons to move ahead with this, including the fact that “Recent court decisions have made it clear that the state and other public entities may be held liable for the consequences of failing to maintain a flood management system or for failing to mitigate a known danger.”

But DSC staff told the Council that indemnifications for the project weren’t adequate and that more CEQA work was needed. And Patrick Johnston wondered why EDMUD and the counties weren’t paying for this themselves.

Well, you see, there was this legislation. . . . . But never mind that. The DSC apparently has other plans for this money.

Correction: DSC Director Joe Grindstaff did NOT say the BDCP had “gone rogue,” as Restore the Delta reported last month. He did say that some believed they had “gone rogue,” but he said that he thought that was wrong and explained why.

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