Letter: Environmental groups oppose the Bay Delta Conservation Plan

open_letter_with_arrow_around_it_9212The Environmental Water Caucus has sent a letter to the federal fish agencies, Department of the Interior, US EPA, and Jerry Meral, strongly opposing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).  The letter states that the BDCP will destroy the ecosystem, the fisheries and the agricultural economy of the Delta, and that there are more ‘environmentally appropriate and economically feasible alternatives’ than those that are considered and analyzed in the Plan documents.

The Environmental Water Caucus represents over 30 environmental and environmental justice groups, fishing organizations and Native American tribes who support the comments and recommendations in the letter.

The letter outlines several reasons for the group’s opposition including using a false baseline to produce ‘favorable and illusionary’ amount of benefits, “cherry picking’ the science and ignoring recommendations of prominent science agencies, relying on questionable restoration actions that won’t contribute to the recovery of fisheries, and not including new fish screens in the south Delta as part of the proposal.

Although the current Plan does not call for exporting more water to Southern California, the letter points to the 15,000 cfs capacity of the tunnels, and says the groups believe the extra capacity will be used under political pressure in the future.  “Restoration, species recovery and the Endangered Species Act do not require construction of the tunnels,” the letter states.

“Over the last two years we have repeatedly presented our message to the Delta Stewardship Council, the BDCP proponents, and the State Water Board that three critical items are needed in order to produce a satisfactory solution for the Delta. Those actions are: (1). Development and adoption of enforceable water quality and quantity standards (including inflows and outflows) for a healthy Delta ecosystem prior to approval of any changes in Delta conveyance; (2). Accomplishment of a statewide cost benefit analysis based on an appropriate baseline in order to determine the economic feasibility of the proposed project, and; (3). The balancing of the public trust values in relation to water exports in order to protect our ecosystems and wildlife. Unfortunately, the current BDCP proposal has not come close to analyzing these key ingredients that are mandatory for a successful solution to California’s water issues.”

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