Sacramento Bee: Delta Protection Commission Opposes Water Tunnel Plan

On May 23rd, the Delta Protection Commission voted against the Twin Tunnels proposal of Governor Brown'swater plan. The Sacramento Bee has an article on the commission and its vote, which can be read here. The text of the article is below for those who are unable to view the article on the Sacramento Bee's website.

Delta Protection Commission Opposes Water Tunnel Plan

The Delta Protection Commission, a state agency, voted Thursday to oppose Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to build two giant water diversion tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta saying it is not supportive of agriculture, recreation and water quality.

The project, known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, calls for three intakes on the Sacramento River near Courtland. They would serve two giant tunnels that would divert a portion of the river's flow to existing state and federal canal systems near Tracy. It also includes 100,000 acres of habitat restoration, which will require buying out farmland.

The commission was created by state law in 1992 and is mostly composed of local government officials from throughout the five-county Delta region. So the vote is not entirely unexpected, given that local government officials almost unanimously oppose the tunnel project, which will dramatically transform the Delta's landscape.

The $14 billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan will not be released as a formal proposal until the end of this year. But the Department of Water Resources which is leading the project, has released thousands of pages of draft documents over the past three months. That was enough to spur the commission to formally voice its opposition.

"What has been released is not something they feel is supportive of the Delta," said Michael Michado, the commission's executive director.

The commission's vote was 9-2. The dissenting votes came from two officials appointed by Gov. Brown who represent the Natural Resources Agency and the Department of Food and Agriculture.

The commission has no legal power to approve or review the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. At the meeting in Courtland on Thursday, commissioners directed staff to prepare a letter to state officials expressing their concerns.

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