For Every Water Plan There's...
Will the tunnels ever be built? Maybe, but not until every conceivable legal challenge and lawsuit has been filed and taken to court.
Oct 07, 2013
For every water expansion plan there's an equal and opposite environmental group trying to stop it. If you want to pump water out of the Delta the enviros say you can't because it harms the Delta Smelt. So, you try to build a tunnel as a way to avoid the smelt, but enviros are there again with a reason to stop the project. You want to build a dam and there will guaranteed be a bug or snail or fish that needs to be protected. We all know the drill.
Westside farmers have been working for years on the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that proposes the twin tunnels under the Delta to avoid the smelt problem. So, guess what? Here comes 'Friends of the River' to say the tunnels "would not insure their survival let alone insure their recovery and delisting" (from the Endangered Species List). And right behind 'Friends of the River' is the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) saying it would result in the 'flooding of fish habitat', wild and scenic river status, etc. We have a feeling, based on way too many past experiences, that this is only the beginning
Will the tunnels ever be built? Maybe, but not until every conceivable legal challenge and lawsuit has been filed and taken to court. Will a dam ever be built? Maybe, but the California legislature isn't putting any dams into the next water bond being debated in Sacramento right now. They used to at least pretend. Now they don't even think about trying to fool us any longer. They just ignore the facts and keep kicking the can down the road.
BDCP plan illegal, says environmental group
• Violates Endangered Species Act
• “Taking the water … away from the endangered and threatened fish species would not insure their survival”
The controversial Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which in part is supposed to save endangered fish from extinction, is not a permissible project under the Endangered Species Act because it would adversely modify critical habitat for five endangered and threatened fish species, says the environmental group Friends of the River.
The plan, touted heavily by Gov. Jerry Brown, calls for part of the Sacramento River to be diverted and shipped through two massive tunnels roughly 35 miles south to the Central Valley Project and State Water Project.
“As a result of this massive diversion, countless acre feet of water which would normally flow to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will now never reach the Delta,” says Friends of the River, never reaching the designated critical habitat for five endangered and threatened fish species: the Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, the Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, the Central Valley steelhead, the southern distinct population segment of the North American green sturgeon, and the Delta smelt.
“Taking the water and flows away from the endangered and threatened fish species would not insure their survival let alone insure their recovery and delisting,” the letter says. “On-the-ground habitat restoration is not a lawful substitute under the ESA [Endangered Species Act] for maintaining the critical habitat of and in the waters of the Sacramento River, sloughs, and Delta.”
Freshwater ecosystems are the most endangered ecosystem type on the planet, and a growing body of science has determined that dams are one of the largest threats to these ecosystems, and the human communities that depend on them. The proposal to enlarge the Shasta dam goes against the best available science relating to conservation of the freshwater river ecosystems the proposed project would affect.
Expanding the Shasta Dam would result in flooding fish habitat in several rivers including the McCloud, Sacramento and Pit Rivers. The McCloud would loose its eligibility to be listed as a Federal Wild and Scenic River if the project goes forward. Additionally, most of the remaining sacred native American sites on the McCloud River belonging to the Winnemem Wintu tribe would be destroyed. These sites are of significant cultural value to the already displaced tribe, which has already lost 90 percent of their lands when the Shasta Dam was initially constructed.
The Bureau of Reclamation is not providing the public with information that describes how the Shasta Dam raising project is related to other statewide water infrastructure projects that are connected with the intention of sending water from Northern California to Southern California. Of particular concern is the proposal by California Governor Jerry Brown and the State of California, along with the Bureau of Reclamation, to build the Twin Tunnels Project that would construct two large tunnels in order to divert large amounts of water to supply corporate agricultural farms and fracking operations in the Southern region of the state, at the expense of California taxpayers. The National Environmental Policy Act requires that cumulative impacts from the related projects should be evaluated, considered and disclosed to the general public. The current Draft Environmental Impact Statement does not reflect this mandatory process and is therefore inadequate.
This costly, unnecessary development would cause more environmental, cultural and economic problems than it would solve, benefiting a few farmers and power companies at the cost of California taxpayers, Northern California residents, indigenous communities and the environment on which they depend. EPIC is committed to upholding environmental standards and will continue to publicly support community based efforts stop the ill-conceived Shasta Dam expansion.
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