Friends of the River, Restore the Delta, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, and numerous other fishing and conservation groups have written Secretary Jewell, urging rejection of the California Water Fix (Delta tunnels) project. They say that what’s at stake is nothing less than the destruction of the West Coast’s largest estuary, crucial habitat for the Pacific Flyway, commercial fishing operations in three states, a thriving tourist economy, a vibrant farm community, drinking water for 5 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, and essential natural water hub for recreation and community enjoyment.
The letter states that the plan as currently proposed does not comply with federal law, and warns that moving forward with the project will lead to “decades of pubic dissension and box the federal government into a corner replete with huge costs and obstacles to meeting its statutory and legal obligations.” Other more cost effective water supply alternatives must be considered and implemented, and the multi-billion dollar tunnels plan is hindering real water solutions for California, they say. The recent permit applications are ‘jumping the gun’ and only heighten fears that the project is being rushed through administrative channels without proper review, the letter states.
“Madam Secretary, the Delta Water Tunnels Project is a massive experiment that has not been adequately thought through and presents unprecedented environmental and economic risks,” they say. “By the end of 2015, state and federal officials plan to have the Delta Water Tunnels project record of decision on your desk for approval. This may be one of the most important decisions you make as Interior Secretary and we, along with our representative citizen members, strongly urge you to make this decision your highest priority, give it thoughtful consideration, and reject the Delta Water Tunnels project.”
“Please protect this national treasure and stand firm in the defense of our legal and environmental protections, put in place to defend the economic viability and natural resources owned by the people, of the United States of America,” the letter concludes.