EPA Rejects Flawed Project No Financing Plan, No Water, Won’t Restore Delta Tens of Thousands Comment “No Tunnels”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, August 28, 2014
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve@hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft; @MrSandHillCrane; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 barbara@restorethedelta.org; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

Tunnels Opponents: EPA Rejects Flawed Project
No Financing Plan, No Water, Won’t Restore Delta
Tens of Thousands Comment “No Tunnels”

Sacramento, CA- Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build Peripheral Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, and salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) critical review of the Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS). The opponents said the Brown Administration’s delay and redrafting of the governor’s water tunnels plan is a response to the EPA’s criticism of its fatal flaws, does not meet federal standards, and lacks a financing plan.

“The EPA’s criticism of the BDCP shows that it is fatally flawed,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. “The letter by the EPA to National Marine Fisheries Service confirms our findings that the BDCP is a disaster for Delta water quality, communities and fisheries. If the BDCP simply does a rewrite, these issues will not disappear. Rearranging the chairs on the Titanic did not keep it from sinking. A rewrite will not fix the BDCP.”

Delaying the BDCP will not change the fundamental flaws underlying it: it doesn’t pencil out, there is no surplus water for export, and you can’t restore the San Francisco-San Joaquin Delta estuary by draining water from it. The delay shows the power of public engagement. Thousands of pages of comments were turned in, everything from simple statements from citizens to complex analyses by experts.”

“EPA’s objections to the use of the purpose and needs statement for the project (full contract amounts) to limit the range of alternatives may be the most important issue (cover letter, page 2 under Alternatives). EPA’s concerns about impacts to water supply and quality in the Delta are important criticisms.

EPA’s comments are likely the primary reason for the Administration’s decision yesterday to prepare a Supplemental EIR/EIS.

Since the federal lead agencies agreed to prepare a supplemental EIS to address the flaws EPA found, the rating will not be issued. The rating was going to be EU3, meaning environmentally unsatisfactory and seriously lacking in information to address environmental impacts (see p. 3 of linked document above).

The EIR/EIS is fatally flawed due to its failure to include a viable funding plan, exclusion of any true no-tunnels alternatives, failure to comply with the Endangered Species Act as evidenced by numerous scientists’ red flags, misrepresenting taking water to be a “conservation” plan, secret BDCP planning with the exporters and their consultants, and lack of public outreach to non-English speakers.

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