California Representatives: Federal Reports Confirm BDCP not Based on Sound Science
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, several U.S. Representatives from Northern California called on the Brown Administration to withdraw and fully revise their proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) in light of draft environmental documents being found “biased” and “insufficient” by federal agencies in public comments made available yesterday. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service provided these comments to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) as part of a review of the draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS).
“These reports confirm what we’ve been saying all along – this proposed BDCP is not a workable solution to California’s water challenges. It’s rushed, flawed, hurts wildlife and puts the interests of South-of-Delta water contractors ahead of North-of-Delta farmers, fishers and small business owners. Until we have a plan that is transparent, based on sound science and developed with all stake-holders at the table, then any process that moves us closer to building these tunnels will recklessly risk billions of California tax dollars and thousands of jobs.” - Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5)
"We have said from day one that any proposal related to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta must be based on sound science and an accurate cost-benefit analysis. The recently-released reports clearly show that Governor Brown's misguided plan for the Delta is based on neither. To continue to move forward without taking into consideration the concerns of all stakeholders, the countless jobs that could be lost, and the billions of taxpayer dollars at stake is a clear disservice to the people of California. I will continue to fight against any plan that would divert more water from the Delta, and to stand up for the families, farmers and small business owners who rely upon a healthy Delta for their livelihoods." - Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
“The Governor’s administration told us time and again that their process would be governed by unbiased, sound science. But these federal reports confirm the opposite. As we suspected, this process has been rushed, biased, and excludes viable alternatives at the behest of big irrigators and agencies that stand to gain huge profits from their increased access to northern water. To proceed any further without major revisions that take into account the concerns of all stakeholders, not just those with political and financial influence, would be shortsighted, unproductive, and ultimately a failure.” - Rep. George Miller (CA-11)
“The federal agency comments on the BDCP’s draft environmental documents continue to show not only that the project doesn’t solve the water problems that face our state, but that the BDCP as written is truly flawed. Until we have a process that includes all stakeholders and is based on sound science, we are wasting precious time and taxpayer money. This is time and money that we do not have. In the meantime, the environment of the Delta continues to decline and our state’s water problems continue to grow. We must get on track with a process that will produce a viable solution for California’s future.” - Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-6)
“The peripheral tunnel plan is incredibly destructive, and because it does not add one drop to our water supply, incredibly unproductive. The current plan concludes that massive water diversions south of the Delta are needed and then twists arguments to meet that conclusion. Instead, we need a scientific process, freed from the blinders of bias, to meet the legally mandated co-equal goals of ecological conservation and reliability of water supply – both of which are essential to the state’s economy. As an alternative to the current BDCP, I have proposed a framework that would expand our water supply and protect the Delta through greater water conservation, recycling, and storage, levee improvements, and the protection of existing water rights. We need a water system that meets the needs of all Californians.” - Rep. Garamendi (CA-3).
As someone who played a major role in California’s landmark 2009 water reforms, I have been concerned from the very beginning that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is not meeting the high standards and requirements established in that legislation. These reports are just the latest in a series of wake up calls showing that the BDCP is headed in a dangerous direction. We need a plan for the Bay-Delta that is based on science and follows the law, and it looks to me—and clearly, to many others—like the BDCP continues to fall short.” - Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02)