It's official now - Bay Delta Conservation Plan officials announced on Monday, October 28 that the release of the peripheral tunnel plan documents has been postponed until December 13, 2013.
The announcement takes place as state officials are amping up their campaign to convince the public of the "need" to build the twin tunnels by spending taxpayer dollars on high powered public relations firms and setting up Astroturf organizations.
According to yesterday's announcement, "As a joint effort of state and federal agencies preparing the BDCP, the recent shutdown of the federal government and associated staff furloughs have delayed the development, review, and ultimately the release of the Public Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS). The Public Draft BDCP and EIR/EIS are now scheduled for release on December 13, 2013 for 120 days of formal review."
During the formal public review period running from December 13, 2013 to April 14, 2014, the public, agencies, and other interested parties will be able to access copies of the document online, in repositories throughout the state, and request copies for review.
"The State and Federal lead agencies also will hold a series of public meetings during January and February 2014 to provide information about the project and accept formal comments. Formal written comments on the Public Review Draft BDCP and EIR/EIS will be accepted during the official comment period and all significant environmental issues raised in comments received during the public review period will be addressed in the Final EIR/EIS. Details on how to provide comments will be available in December," according to BDCP officials.
The end of the announcement claims, "No final decisions have been made regarding going forward with the BDCP or in selecting an alternative; those decisions will only occur after completion of the EIR/EIS processes."
Actually, this is a false statement since BDCP officials, since the beginning of the process, have decided that a peripheral canal or tunnels is the "solution" to the "coequal goals" of "water supply reliability" and "ecosystem restoration," instead of evaluating other alternatives, including the Environmental Water Caucus Reduced Exports Plan.
On the same day the delay was announced, Restore the Delta called upon the State of California to cease funding multiple public relations firms around the state to sell the Governor Jerry Brown's peripheral tunnels to export massive quantities of Delta water to corporate agribusiness interests.
“It is outrageous that taxpayers are paying for a statewide propaganda campaign for these unnecessary tunnels," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. "These front groups have not disclosed that funding when pumping the tunnels. It’s unacceptable, especially since the State has said it has not yet chosen a preferred alternative."
She asked, “How many firms and groups are being paid to pump this project? Has the Southern California Water Committee disclosed that the State is paying it to promote this project?”
The State has not disclosed its contracts with "community groups," including the Southern California Water Committee, nor disclosed that PR firms, including Katz & Associates (San Diego) and Milagro Strategy Group (LA), are being paid to push the tunnels, according to Barrigan-Parrilla.
The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) reported to its BDCP committee on October 22 that they are working with a statewide network of State-paid Public Relations firms to sell the tunnels.
“The governor stacked the Resources Agency, and Department of Water Resources with dozens of flacks. Now they’re spending our tax funds to spread disinformation throughout the state through paid front groups and PR firms," she said.
The construction of Governor Jerry Brown's peripheral tunnels would hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and green sturgeon, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. It will take vast quantities of fertile Delta farmland out of agricultural production, under the guise of "habitat restoration," to facilitate the diversion of massive quantities of water to irrigate corporate mega-farms on toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
The tunnel plan is a badly-conceived Nineteenth Century "solution" to Twenty-First Century problems that will cost Californians an estimated $54.1 billion.
The report on the statewide propaganda campaign and the named firms can be viewed here (minute 34): http://mwdh2o.granicus.com/...
For more information about Restore the Delta, go to http://www.restorethedelta.org
For more information about the BDCP and the Environmental Review process, please visit: http://www.BayDeltaConservationPlan.com