Aerial view looking South along White Slough, in the foreground is Terminous Tract, part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in San Joaquin County, California. Photo taken March 08, 2019. Ken James / California Department of Water Resources, FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY

VOLUNTARY AGREEMENTS: Environmental NGOs send letter to Governor Newsom outlining concerns

Aerial view looking South along White Slough
Photo by Ken James/DWR

Last week, representatives for the environmental organizations that are actively participating in the Voluntary Agreement process sent a letter to Governor Newsom outlining their concerns and are threatening to leave the process if their concerns not addressed.

The groups represented in the letter are American Rivers, Defenders, of Wildlife, Environmental Defense Fund, San Francisco Baykeeper, The Bay Institute, and The Nature Conservancy.

The letter states:

“It is critical that you understand the current agreements will not adequately improve conditions in the Bay-Delta estuary and its Central Valley watershed. Furthermore, the ongoing VA process is flawed and not on course to produce an agreement that is legally, scientifically, and biologically adequate to survive environmental review and legal challenge. …

None of our organizations support the current proposed package of VAs because they do not contain sufficient flow and habitat assets to adequately improve conditions in the Bay-Delta estuary as required under state and federal law. The best available science makes this clear. Moreover, there are major flaws with the VA process itself that, unless addressed, will prevent parties from reaching a successful agreement. ..

Unless these concerns can be addressed without delay, our organizations will be compelled to conclude that these agreements will fail and will leave the VA process. … “

The letter closes by stating that they are willing to remain working through the process to achieve a successful voluntary agreement, but only if the flaws are adequately addressed.

Click here to read the letter (which includes details on their concerns).

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