Media Release: Senator Feinstein, U.S. Reps. Thrust Political Pressure into Drought Response

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, March 28, 2014
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546;; Twitter: @shopcraft; @MrSandHillCrane; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

Delta Tunnel Opponents: Senator Feinstein,
U.S. Reps. Thrust Political Pressure into Drought Response
Stop Political Interference with Federal Scientists,
Offer Better Solutions to Water Challenge

Stockton, CA- Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build Peripheral Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today responded to Senator Feinstein and U.S. House Representatives’ letter seeking more water for Westlands’ and Kern Water Districts’ mega-growers in the midst of a severe drought. “It is disappointing that Senator Feinstein has chosen to thrust political pressure into a severe drought situation that has, and will continue to have, enormous impacts on salmon and other fisheries, including endangered salmon runs spawning and trying to migrate downstream. It is astounding that these politicians would contend that “there is clearly no imminent threat to any of the key protected fish species that is attributable to water pumping operations.”

It is well-known that the increased water diversions, especially in March, is particularly devastating to salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, smelt and other fish, many of which have become endangered as a result of the pumping,” said RTD Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. “Most of the water from these storms is being stored in empty reservoirs. What extra water is flowing into the Delta from side creeks and streams needs to remain not only for water quality but to assist this ecosystem being devastated by the drought a chance to survive.”

“The impacts of the drought will be felt on our native species for many years to come. We can get by without almonds for a couple of years. It is disappointing that Senator Feinstein is not standing up for the economic engine of the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary, its water quality and native species that serve not only California’s economic engine but Oregon and Washington as well,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “Instead of calling for every available bucket of water to be shipped immediately to unsustainable industrial agriculture, these politicians should instead be pursuing water 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.”

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