DELTA TUNNELS: Plan B Presented by Public Policy Institute of California

For Immediate Release: 12/2/16
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, (209) 479-2053,

Plan B Presented by Public Policy Institute of California

Stockton – This week a coalition of conservation and public interest organizations sent a letter to Obama administration officials calling for the termination of the proposed Delta Tunnels.
As environmental and financial obstacles mount for Governor Brown’s full-scale Delta Tunnels (CA WaterFix), backers of the project are now scrambling for a viable Plan B.
Today, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released their proposal in the Sacramento Bee: A Grand Compromise for the Delta. Their proposal calls for a single tunnel project, improved water quality protections for Delta communities, water flows for ecosystem health, and a Delta smelt hatchery.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta said in response to the proposal:
“We are encouraged the Public Policy Institute of California is backing down from support for the highly destructive Twin Delta Tunnels proposal. But the project PPIC is describing today is a different and new project. Before it can be analyzed, we still need to figure out how much water the Delta needs. The flow hearings for the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers must be completed before a project can be analyzed. We learned this week from independent fishery experts that the San Joaquin River needs at least 50 percent unimpaired flows to stop extinction and achieve legally required doubling goals for salmon.
“We are pleased the Water Quality Plan Update for the Delta is moving forward and we are grateful to the State Water Resources Control Board and the Brown Administration that this process is unfolding. We remain concerned that any side settlements for the sale of water from and within the San Joaquin River watershed, which Governor Brown has been promoting, will interfere with improved flows to meet public trust values. In addition, any new tunnel proposal would, we hope, include a more comprehensive public scoping process so as to include Delta environmental justice communities. We would also hope for a more transparent environmental and economic review process with better science and better public debate than what was put forth for the current Delta Tunnels proposal.”

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