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On April 22, 2013, Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) requested the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development of U.S. House Appropriations Committee to take action to ensure that a cost-per-taxpayer analysis be conducted on any plan related to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build peripheral tunnels.

McNerney and U.S. Representatives Mike Thompson, George Miller, Doris Matsui, Ami Bera and John Garamendi also wrote to the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee to request the inclusion of language in this year’s appropriations bill preventing the Department of the Interior from evaluating any permit related to the BDCP before a comprehensive analysis is conducted of how to improve the state’s water supply and preserve the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The letter concluded, "During this time of strained budgets at all levels of government, we believe taxpayers deserve complete transparency regarding a project that will affect their state, water supply and pocketbook."

“I will use all of the tools at my disposal to help ensure that any plan moving forward related to the BDCP is based on comprehensive analysis and accurate science," emphasized Congressman McNerney. "As it stands, the current plan includes no input from the farmers, families and small business owners who stand to see their livelihoods destroyed, and we cannot let that happen. These people must have their voices included in the process."

Congressman McNerney and the other Representatives suggested the inclusion of the following language in this year’s Energy and Water Development and Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bills:

No federal agency shall issue a permit or assist in the planning of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan until the pro rata cost of such plan for taxpayers who file income tax returns in California is determined and a report issued to the House and Senate on such costs

The Department of Interior shall not evaluate any permit application in relation to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan unless the plan includes a comprehensive analysis of how to improve and expand water storage, water reuse, and water recycling efforts in order to reduce water exports from the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

"Estimates for BDCP place the project’s cost anywhere from $12-20 billion," according to the letter. "To date, the state of California has not identified the cost to taxpayers. Furthermore, there has yet to be a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis on the proposed plan. The federal government conducts cost-benefit analyses on a wide range of projects and environmental rules, and the BDCP should be held to the same standards and oversight."

Congressman McNerney said, “No plan should be moving forward without the input of all parties that stand to be affected, and the Department of Interior should be assisting in that process. To decimate one of the state’s most robust water resources without comprehensive input, scientific study, and a thorough examination of the potential cost of such a project is foolhardy and a disservice to the taxpayers from across California who will foot the bill."

The letters Congressman McNerney sent to the Appropriations Subcommittees on Energy and Water Development and Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies can be seen at: and at:

The letters were sent at a time when the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is facing increased scrutiny after a Brown administration official was quoted saying, "The Delta cannot be saved," contradicting previous claims by state officials that the BDCP aims to "restore the Delta.

Governor Jerry Brown and Natural Resources Secretary John Laird have constantly portrayed the BDCP as a visionary effort based on "science" to accomplish the "co-equal goals" of "ecosystem restoration" and "water supply reliability."

Yet while speaking with Tom Stokely of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) at a meeting with Northern California's Native American Tribes on April 15, Natural Resources Agency Deputy Director Jerry Meral, the Governor's point man for the BDCP, said, "BDCP is not about, and has never been about saving the Delta. The Delta cannot be saved."

"I was flabbergasted because that's not what we've been told by politicians and state officials," said Stokely after the meeting.

"Now if Governor Brown and State officials would just stop pretending it's a habitat plan to save fish when speaking with the press," according to Restore the Delta's "Delta Flows" newsletter (

"Let the Delta speak and the way to save it will be clear, because if you believe it can't be saved... the largest Delta, the most salmon runs, the critical fresh water to salt water life will change EVERYTHING in the DELTA, including some unknown changes to HUMANS!" said Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. "The change will be harmful, more harmful than the claims of not being able to save the DELTA!"

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