Vacaville Reporter 09/12/2014
WASHINGTON D.C. >> Legislation has been introduced to block federal money from going to the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Congressman John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, this week joined Congressmen Jerry McNerney, D-Antioch, and Ami Bera, D-Sacramento, in introducing legislation that would prohibit Fiscal Year 2015 federal funds from being used for California’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which includes what Garamendi calls “the twin tunnels boondoggle.”
Gov. Jerry Brown has requested $4 billion from the federal government to help implement the BDCP.
“California’s woefully inadequate water infrastructure definitely needs more federal investment, but the twin tunnels are a boondoggle and poor use of taxpayer dollars. Investments in water conservation, recycling, and storage are needed across the state,” Garamendi said in a press release. “Instead of reigniting the California water war, let’s build consensus and invest in the priorities that create more reliable water for the entire state. We can increase supply without destroying the Delta or undermining water rights
The BDCP includes a proposal for two 33 foot-wide, 35 mile-long tunnels that could divert 112,207 gallons of water per second from the delta and send it south. Just two weeks ago, the state delayed the plan’s implementation due to concerns from the federal government about the environmental and economic impact of the tunnels, including the potential for salt water intrusion. Both the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA raised objections to the BDCP’s assumptions and called for major changes to the plan.
In addition, the governor and legislature worked out an agreement for a water bond proposal on November’s ballot that is focused on other water options and leaves the tunnels out.
The BDCP is estimated to cost $25 billion, but analyses by independent groups show that the final expense could be more than $64 billion, Garamendi noted.
Garamendi is pushing his own agenda for dealing with water issues in California. He is the author of A Water Plan for All California, a comprehensive water strategy that invests in water conservation, recycling, and storage, makes needed levee improvements, protects senior water rights, preserves the Delta, and relies on a science-driven process, he said.