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Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the environmentally destructive Peripheral Tunnels, today released joint letters along with Delta water agencies and environmental groups containing their collective response to water bond proposals and suggesting amendments.  

These letters, including comments from the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Central Delta Water Agency, South Delta Water Agency and Local Agencies of the North Delta (LAND), were considered at an Assembly Water Parks and Wildlife hearing where several versions of a statewide water bond were heard today.

The Committee approved three water bond bills, including AB 2554 (Rendon), AB 2043 (Bigelow) and AB 2686 (Perea), according to Assemblyman Rendon's Office.

"The letters urge that Bond investments in the Delta be supported by sound science and be compatible with the agriculturally-based economy of the Delta," according to a statement from Restore the Delta. "The letters explain that the Peripheral Tunnels/Bay Delta Conservation Plan relies on a whopping $3.7 billion in funding from California taxpayers through two separate statewide bonds, even though bond proponents assert that they are not funding the BDCP. While no funding is designated for construction of the proposed tunnels, large allocations in the “Sacramento San Joaquin Chapter” would fund BDCP related habitat."

"While Peripheral Tunnels proponents claim that new habitat in the Delta creates statewide public benefits, independent scientific review has repeatedly found that the BDCP is overly optimistic with respect to the potential benefits to imperiled species from creation new habitat in the Delta, which cannot substitute for flows," according to RTD.  

On the other hand, local Delta groups are requesting less bond funds for the Delta since the bonds – as proposed - will fund actions that would devastate local communities in favor of experimental habitat and mitigation for the Peripheral Tunnels.

The letters also explain that in a reversal of the Peripheral Tunnels proponents’ prior attempts to claim that endangered fish in the Delta are not reliant on freshwater flows, those same entities are now packing the bond language so that funds can be used to purchase water instead of creating new habitat.  

According to LAND attorney Osha Meserve, “The Water Bonds should not become the vehicle for creation of another Environmental Water Account boondoggle that steals from the taxpayers while creating no measurable benefits for fish. Also, in light of the highly depleted state of California’s groundwater resources, we cannot afford to rely on groundwater to replace water the exporters want to remove from the Sacramento River with their water thirsty Peripheral Tunnels.”

“While we are leery of bond funding for the Peripheral Tunnels, we encourage the allocation of bond funds on locally supported habitat creation on existing public lands, as well enhancements to recreational facilities in the Delta that have long been underfunded," noted Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD Executive Director.

For more information about the proposed amendments, please contact Osha Meserve, osha@semlawyers.com; (916) 455-7300. To read the letters, go to:  http://restorethedelta.org/...  under: Research Documents, Water Bond Information: Restore the Delta comments  

Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve@hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft; @MrSandHillCrane; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 barbara@restorethedelta.org; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

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