For immediate release:
May 17, 2018
Congressman Calvert Attempts to Chip Away at Delta Environmental Protections for “Fish-Friendly” CA WaterFix; Gov. Brown’s Silence on Efforts is Deafening
This week, Congressman Ken Calvert (R-Corona) has received criticism for slipping a rider into the Interior spending bill for fiscal year 2019 that would exempt CA WaterFix from any judicial review, but his efforts to undo environmental protections in the Delta are not far off from his political track record.
Last fall, Congressman Calvert introduced H.R. 3916, known as the FISH Act, which would gut endangered fish protections in the Delta that curtail excess pumping during dryer, low-flow months. Today, the bill gotsupport from Central Valley Congressman Jim Costa.
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) General Manager Jeff Kightlinger thanked Congressman Calvert for his legislative effort on H.R. 3916 in a letter last fall. In fact, MWD and Calvert have a history of working to support one another’s efforts to build the tunnels. In 2016, Calvert was spotted at a MWD community briefing on the Delta Tunnels, and was quoted in California Water News Daily touting the “beneficiaries pay” model that was disproved last year when a federal audit discovered taxpayer dollars were improperly used to cover CA WaterFix planning costs.
Calvert’s ethical-political constraints are not limited to ineffective water policy that only benefits the one percent. The Huffington Post reported on Calvert’s shameful history of corruption ranging from “shady real estate deals” related to taxpayer-funded transportation projects to an “international espionage and bribery caper in Saudi Arabia,” and a prostitution scandal.
In the 48 hours since news broke that Calvert authored the Delta Tunnels litigation ban rider, Governor Brown has remained silent.
Jeff Kightlinger posted a statement on twitter yesterday, claiming that MWD had nothing to do with Calvert’s controversial rider, but he “understand[s] Congress frustration.
Executive Director of Restore the Delta, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla commented,
“MWD doing business with someone like Congressman Calvert does not bode well for CA WaterFix’s public perception. Relying on a congressional representative who has a long history of corruption and scandal does not inspire the public to trust this project or the elected officials responsible for its design, construction, and operations.
“The public’s suspicions are warranted as project proponents continue to claim that the twin tunnels will benefit fish while congressional allies from Southern California and the Central Valley are working behind the scenes to undo fishery protections in the Delta and eliminate the legal hurdles preventing the tunnels from becoming a reality.
“And what do we have from Governor Brown 48 hours into this story? Crickets. Brown’s silence is deafening. He functions as the Governor for water districts that support the tunnels, but not for the people of the San Francisco Bay-Delta or the environment. Lauding the state of California as a progressive environmental leader is almost laughable now that our own congressmen are sponsoring bills to undo various environmental protections and eliminate due process.”
Finally, there is one more crucial link between congressional representatives and water districts making moves behind the scenes to build the tunnels: The Parsons Group.
Restore the Delta will explain further Monday.