BUILD IT, THEN SEE IF IT WORKS – HUH? Gov. Brown Plans to Ram Peripheral Canal through

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 24, 2012 
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve@hopcraft.comTwitter: @shopcraft
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053; @RestoretheDelta


Gov. Brown Plans to Ram Peripheral Canal through,

Ignore Science in Most Expensive Public Works Project

Would be Salmon Death Knell,

Cost Consumers Billions in Water Rate Hikes

SACRAMENTO – Restore the Delta and an array of consumer and environmental leaders today protested the announcement by the Brown Administration that it plans to ignore massive negative impacts and go ahead and build a Peripheral Canal or Tunnel and figure out the damage afterward. In a series of phones with Delta local county representatives and environmental groups, the Resources Agency is announcing a framework based on “decision trees” that will determine how much flow and habitat is needed in the Delta over a fifteen year evaluation period after the project is under construction.

“The water contractors associated with BDCP have spent a quarter of a billion dollars of California water rate payers’ money to create a project that was supposed to restore the Delta.” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta.  “They failed to produce such a project.  So instead, the State is preparing to announce a project that has the potential to divert the majority of Sacramento River water without first ensuring protections for the Delta.”

“Resources Secretary Laird has the audacity to say that the canal will be built first, and they will figure out the good science after it’s built.  The administration is selling this new BDCP Plus Plan as an improvement because BDCP partners are willing to wait to see what ‘new’ science will decide regarding project operations. But what is clear that the biological science does not support the project, so they are hoping that political science will solve the problem.  All in all, they are simply going to throw more money after bad money,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “Gov. Brown proposes to continue the draining of the Delta, imperiling the Delta environment and communities, and would take prime Delta farmland to make up for habitat lost by serving unsustainable huge corporate agribusinesses on the west side of the valley.”

“This is the exact opposite of good public policy or protecting water consumers’ pocketbooks, which requires that you study the costs, the benefits and the potential harm BEFORE building a massive public works project, not afterwards,” said Kristin Lynch, Pacific Region Director of Food and Water Watch.

“The proposed project, which some estimate will cost upwards of $50 billion, is not necessary and would result in massive ratepayer hikes and put our state even further into debt.   Further, the major proponents of this infrastructure are corporate agriculture and others with financial interest in obtaining more of our state’s water, giving them additional powers to control our most valuable resource.”

“It’s outrageous to go ahead and try to build a Peripheral Canal and say you will decide how to operate it and address the problems it causes afterwards,” said Bill Jennings, Executive Director of California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. “A Peripheral canal or tunnel will kill striped bass, salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish. The striped bass, like salmon and Delta smelt, will be sacrificed on the altar of massive and unwise water exports. The administration’s actions would result in declining water quality and would be colossal mismanagement by the state and federal government.”

“After you spend many billions of dollars to build the canal or tunnel, there will be enormous pressure on the agencies to operate it to the maximum capacity. The blatant refusal by the state to conduct the fundamental critical analyses crucial to informed decision making that would protect the Delta and equitably and economically allocate limited water resources is a travesty,” said Jennings. “The absence of these analyses sabotages the entire planning process and the administration is now ignoring science to serve huge corporate agriculture and other water takers.”

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