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Local members of Congress blast Delta tunnel proposal

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Posted: Sunday, June 2, 2013 6:11 pm

Several Members of Congress spoke out against the current Bay-Delta Conservation Plan and what they consider the lack of input afforded their constituents at a press conference in Sacramento last week.

The plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the U.S. Department of Interior and interests south of the Delta would devastate the Delta region and ignores the concerns repeatedly raised by stakeholders in the Bay-Delta region, according to several members of Congress, including Reps. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, and Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove.

The state released a 20,000-page administrative draft environmental impact report/environmental impact statement. Chapters 1-7 of the plan were released in the last few months, and Chapters 8-12, which include the financing mechanism, were released last Wednesday.

“The governor recently released additional information on his deeply-flawed plan for the Delta region, which further proves he is intent on forcing this plan forward without any regard for the farmers, families and small business owners who rely upon a healthy Delta for their livelihoods, or for the incredible environmental damage that will result,” McNerney, who represents the Lodi and Galt areas, said in a news release.

“As it stands, the plan will cost billions of dollars, devastate the most valuable water resource we have in California, and ultimately create no new water,” McNerney said. “There is a better way forward, and it must include the input of the people who stand to lose the most if the Delta is destroyed.”

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, added, “Without adding a single drop of new water to the state’s supply, the tunnels would deliver massive amounts of water from Northern to Southern California, destroying the Sacramento Delta in the process. Instead of wreaking havoc on the Delta region with a massive, expensive plumbing system, we need a cost-effective, comprehensive water plan.

“I have outlined a strategy that would add to our water supply through conservation, recycling, storage and improvements to our levees while respecting water rights and using the best science,” Garamendi said in a news release.

Bera, whose district goes as far south as Herald, said, “It’s vital for our health, our environment, and our wallets that we have a comprehensive, long-term plan for securing water access and storage that’s based on sound science.”

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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