Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, on May 29 reported on the "latest shenanigans" in Governor Jerry Brown's campaign to build the peripheral canal or tunnel to export more Delta water to corporate agribusiness and Southern California - and to drain the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.
"By now, we all know that Governor Brown will soon announce a plan to build a tunnel under the Delta and worry about habitat later," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), on which $250 million has already been spent, is trailing along behind, with the document itself and an environmental impact report to be published in September."
She said the Metropolitan Water District staff told the MWD board that choice of whether to build a canal, and how big, was going to have to be a policy decision made by Brown, Resources Secretary John Laird, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
"They said the science was just too uncertain: How can we know what the environment will look like in 12 years?" noted Barrigan Parrilla.
She countered that we actually do have a "pretty good" idea of how much water the Delta will need.
"Almost 2 years ago, in July 2010, the Water Board published flow criteria for healthy habitat for fish. Exporters just don't like what the Water Board recommended," she quipped.
Commission supports Brown propose to make DSC a state agency
In more bad news for the Delta, the Little Hoover Commission recommended that the Legislature approve Governor Brown's proposal to move the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) under the umbrella of the Natural Resources Agency. "They call for preserving the independence and credibility of the DSC, but the change will make it just another state agency," said Barrigan-Parrilla.
Then on May 25, Assembly member Bill Berryhill's bill sensibly calling for an independent cost-benefit analysis of the tunnel project failed to clear the Assembly Appropriations Committee, under pressure by corporate agribusiness and Southern California water agencies.
"That's probably because the chair of the Appropriations Committee is Southern California Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes," she said. "Nothing gets out of Appropriations if the Chair doesn't put it forward."
No Surprise: The final draft of the Delta Plan is missing language requested by in-Delta interests that would allow Delta reclamation districts to continue maintaining Delta levees without being subject to "covered actions" requirements.
"When this omission was called to their attention, staff agreed to put the language in, but only for levee maintenance at the most basic level. No real improvements are allowed," said Barrigan-Parrilla.
Finally, at a Delta Science Program Brown Bag lunch meeting last week, Dr. Adrian Vogl of the Natural Capital Project at The Nature Conservancy, a corporate "environmental" NGO that steadfastly backs the canal and other adventures in greenwashing, made a presentation on prioritizing conservation and assessing trade-offs in ecosystem services across landscapes.
"This is done with modeling, and it could be used against farming and for fallowing or habitat. So we'll need to keep an eye on that," said Barrigan-Parrilla.
Bechtel Foundation funds yet another PPIC water event
Barrigan-Parrilla also reported on two upcoming events regarding the Delta and California water.
On June 5, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) will hold one of its periodic "Ask-the-Folks-Who'll-Give-You-the-Answers-You-Want" events funded by S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation. The event coincides with the release of a new report, Water and the California Economy.
The Bechtel Foundation, along with the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, has funded many of the PPIC's past studies promoting the construction of a peripheral canal or tunnel. Resources Legacy and the Packard Foundation are also the main funders of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create questionable "marine protected areas" along the California coast.
Included on the agenda are Reducing Vulnerability to Water Supply Interruptions, Improving Flexibility through Water Marketing and Banking (with a panelist from Paramount Farming Company, owned by billionaire agribusiness tycoon Stewart Resnick), and Filling Funding Gaps.
And on June 6, Barrigan-Parrilla said the Delta Vision Foundations will release its 2012 "Delta Vision Report Card" and present it at a meeting at the California Chamber of Commerce in Sacramento. The event starts at 9:30 a.m., and there will be a panel discussion with State and Federal agencies and stakeholders from 10:00 to noon.
"It will be interesting to see what the Delta Vision Foundation thinks about the way things are unfolding," she commented.
For more information, go to http://www.restorethedelta.org
Salmon Water Now begins new video series on canal
The persistent push to build a peripheral canal continues to amaze.
"Why? Because In spite of California's budget mess, the Brown administration seems intent on going forward with the plan to move the Sacramento River around the Delta," said Bruce Tokars of Salmon Water Now. "It would be a massive engineering project estimated to cost $14 to $40 billion dollars."
Reason & Realties (5:35) is the first video in a continuing series on the Peripheral Canal from Salmon Water Now.
"There is a growing understanding that the project is bad for the environment and bad for California's fiscal health," said Tokars. "We'll leave it to those who think it's a good idea to try and justify it. There are good reasons why voters, decades ago, refused to fund and build a peripheral canal."
This video looks at the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), which has become the method to make the Peripheral Canal a reality. "We include a few short clips from a 1982 Metropolitan Water District slide show in support of a YES vote for the canal, as an added bonus," he stated.
"It's time be reasonable about California's water challenges, and fiscal realities. We're going to keep using video to make the case," Tokars concluded.
Here's the first one:
Reasons & Realities (5:35)
Resnicks contributed $99,000 to Jerry Brown's campaign
It is no surprise that Brown is pushing so hard for the construction of the canal, since one of Brown's biggest campaign contributors is Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaire agribusiness tycoon who owns Paramount Farms in Kern County.
Resnick is a big advocate of the canal and increased water exports from the Delta - and has waged a relentless campaign to exterminate striped bass and to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt and other species. Resnick is notorious for selling subsidized water back to the public at a tidy profit.
Resnick and his wife Lynda contributed $99,000 to Jerry Brown's 2010 campaign (http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/brown-and-whitmans-contributions-...).
"It's ironic that the Resnicks, among California's wealthiest 1 percent, contributed $99,000, since it's the 99 percent that will pay for the peripheral canal," said Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director at Food & Water Watch.
The Resnicks are known not only for their inordinate influence over California water politics, but their deceptive business practices. An administrative law judge recently upheld a Federal Trade Commission ruling that the Resnicks engaged in deceptive claims promoting pomegranate benefits.
The FTC ruled that POM Wonderful LLC, its sister corporation Roll Global LLC, and principals Stewart Resnick, Lynda Resnick, and Matthew Tupper violated federal law by making deceptive claims in some advertisements that their POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements "would treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction."(http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=21104
For more information on the Resnicks' contributions to political campaigns, go to: http://blogs.alternet.org/danb...