ICYMI: Recent News About the Delta Tunnels and California Water

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, barbara@restorethedelta.org

THE DELTA: Tunnels fight changes venue
Lengthy hearings in 2016; opponents slam process
The Stockton Record 1/3/2016
Ten years after the first seeds were planted for the proposed twin tunnels, the battle shifts to a new arena in 2016 — a critical year for the controversial project.
A small state agency will soon begin the daunting process of deciding whether to change the water rights for the state and federal water projects, allowing them to divert some of their water from the Sacramento River and bypass the Delta for the first time.
Farmers Try Political Force to Twist Open California’s Taps
Few in agriculture have shaped the debate over water more than the
several hundred owners of an arid finger of farmland west of Fresno.

New York Times 12/30/2015
A water utility on paper, Westlands in practice is a formidable political force, a $100 million-a-year agency with five lobbying firms under contract in Washington and Sacramento, a staff peppered with former federal and congressional powers, a separate political action committee representing farmers and a government-and-public-relations budget that topped $950,000 last year. It is a financier and leading force for a band of 29 water districtsthat spent at least another $270,000 on lobbying last year. Its nine directors and their relatives gave at least $430,000 to federal candidates and the Republican Party in the last two election cycles, and the farmers’ political action committee gave more than $315,000 more.
California Faces Lost Decades in Solving Drought
As the state grapples with drought it confronts the decades of inaction by state and federal officials in expanding its water system
Wall Street Journal 12/24/2015
Opponents say rerouting fresh water would allow seawater to infiltrate the delta and destroy fisheries, farms and communities.
“The tunnels are an immediate death to the delta,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, a coalition of 30,000 farmers, fishermen and other opponents.
America’s Nuttiest Billionaire Couple
Amid Drought, Stewart And Lynda Resnick Are Richer Than Ever
Forbes 11/23/2015
The Resnicks are already looking to secure additional water sources. The couple could score big if a $15 billion water project championed by Governor Jerry Brown is officially approved in the next few years. At least two Wonderful farming executives are involved in a grassroots push for the project, now called California WaterFix, which would carry water from the Sacramento River Delta through two 30-mile-long tunnels to San Joaquin Valley farms. It’s a long-term bet but one that is very controversial right now.

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