Breaking: Comment Period for Delta Plan Amendments Draft PEIR Extended to Jan. 22, 2018

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The Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) is extending the comment period for the Delta Plan Amendments Draft PEIR (Programmatic Environmental Impact Report) until Jan. 22, 2018. The controversial document promotes “dual conveyance,” a euphemism for Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels Plan, as the preferred conveyance option.

E-mailed comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. Mailed comments must be postmarked no later than Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.

A public hearing on the Delta Plan Amendments Draft PEIR remains as scheduled, from 4 until 7 p.m. on Thursday Dec. 14, 2017, at the West Sacramento City Hall Galleria, 1110 West Capitol, Avenue, West Sacramento, CA.

The public hearings on the amendments held so far this year have attracted large crowds of very vocal Delta Tunnels opponents. On June 22, the Delta Stewardship Council endorsed controversial conveyance and storage amendments to the Delta Plan that that project opponents say will hasten the approval of the California WaterFix,

In spite of massive opposition by fishermen, family farmers, environmentalists and Delta residents who packed a room in the Holiday Inn in Sacramento, only one member of the Council, Solano County Supervisor Skip Thomson, voted against the amendment that promotes “dual conveyance”  as the preferred conveyance option.

Thompson cited voting for the amendments, in the face of broad opposition, as an example of the “Abilene Paradox,” when a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of many (or all) of the individuals in the group. A common phrase relating to the Abilene Paradox is a desire not to “rock the boat.”

Before the decision, Thomson commented, “The amendment is too narrowly focusing on Delta Conveyance. What happens if the conveyance doesn’t work? I’ll be voting no on the amendment,” he stated.

After the decision, Mike Brodsky, lawyer for the Save the Delta Alliance (STDA), responded, “The Delta Stewardship Council is headed for self-destruction. The previous Delta Plan was struck down by the courts. These amendments to the plan will also also be struck down by the courts and will lead to the abolition of the Delta Stewardship Council.”

In April, Restore the Delta (RTD) and the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water (EJCW), sent a joint letter opposing the Delta Stewardship Council’s proposed amendments to the Delta Plan that marginalize environmental environmental justice communities and Tribes.

The amendments regarding surface storage, conveyance (the Delta Tunnels) and performance measures “lack a true needs assessment for CA WaterFix, a water supply analysis, a cost-benefits analysis, and fails to consider environmental justice, anti-discrimination, and human right to water issues in their planning and scientific documents within the Delta Plan,” according to the groups.

For more information on that meeting, go to:

You’ll find the Notice of Availability for the Delta Plan Amendments Draft PEIR here.

The Delta Plan Amendments Draft PEIR itself is here.

Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown, the Department of Water Resources and the Metropolitan Water District continue to forge ahead with Delta Tunnels project, in spite of the fact that project has no financial plan or benefits-cost analysis.

In the latest battle in the water wars, officials for the “CA WaterFix Industry Day” held in Sacramento on December 7 announced that while not all funding is available for WaterFix presently, that the first $1 billion for four contracts would be made public Thursday, according to a statement from Restore the Delta (RTD).

“The Design Construction Enterprise (a CA WaterFix unit staffed by Metropolitan Water District employees and associates embedded in the Department of Water Resources), will be organizing into a  Construction Joint Powers Authority and awarding contracts despite reports of dubious financial arrangements and project management qualifications as reported by the State Auditor,” the group said.

“Friends of the Restore the Delta campaign attending CA WaterFix Industry Day noted that program presenters barely acknowledged that the permit process is far from finished, or which agency sourced the initial $1 billion in funding. These notes can be read here, while official program materials can be accessed here,” RTD said.

Project officials also claimed some sort of groundbreaking ceremonies will take place during December 18, 2018, despite project design stated to be 5% complete—a shift from the original 10% designed status noted by project officials before the State Water Resources Control Board and at other public agency meetings, the group revealed.

“It is my sincere hope that our union brothers and sisters working in construction and veterans business groups will take heed of the findings by the State Auditor regarding the project’s finances before making business plans with the state for the project,” said Restore the Delta executive director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. “Hearings for the Validation Suit filed by the Department of Water Resources and associated responses have been delayed; permitting for the project is far from complete; and the majority of water agencies have not committed to paying for the project.”

“The idea that DWR can offer $1 billion in contracts for a project that has not been permitted by State and Federal agencies is an outrageous use of public money. We are calling on the Delta Legislative Caucus and other legislative budget committee leaders to hold immediate hearings as to what is transpiring with the Department of Water Resources. They are in a rush to circumvent regular public permitting processes so as to hold “a theatrical groundbreaking” to appease Governor Brown before he leaves office. This is a blatant misuse of public money, regardless of whether it is paid for by state taxpayers or water ratepayers. The project is not permitted, not yet approved, and the offering of contracts now puts the financial cart before the horse,” she concluded.

To learn more about what happened at CA WaterFix Industry Day, listen to a special 1-hour episode of Delta Flows on the Voice of Stockton Radio that aired this morning at:

On the show, host Barrigan-Parrilla discussed the status of the Delta tunnels project – named, or misnamed by the state as California WaterFix. Joining her in the studio was Tom Keeling, attorney with the Freeman Firm, representing San Joaquin County in the CAWaterFix hearings at the State Water Resources Control Board, Jonas Minton, Water Program Manager at the Planning and Conservation League and former deputy director with the California Department of Water Resources & Osha Meserve, environmental and water attorney, with Local Agencies of the North Delta.