Central Valley Business Times: Governor’s tunnel plan could be boon to oil companies

http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=22517  You can also view Burt Wilson's article from the Public Water News Service here.

AUDIO: Delta tunnels for oil, not irrigation says critic SACRAMENTO December 18, 2012 9:00pm

•  Governor’s tunnel plan could be boon to oil companies

•  “The twin tunnels in the Delta are being built for the oil companies first”

A controversial plan to burrow two massive tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will benefit big oil companies more than farmers or Southern California cities, says Burt Wilson, executive director of Public Water News Service, a Sacramento-based company.

The twin tunnels, which might cost $50 billion or more to build according to an independent estimate, would siphon off fresh water from the Sacramento River before it could flow naturally into the Delta. It would be sent into the State Water Project for users in the San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles and Southern California, and in Silicon Valley.

But the real beneficiaries, says Mr. Wilson, will be oil exploration companies that need copious amounts of fresh water for hydraulic “fracking,” the method in which water under high pressure is pumped underground to fracture shale formations to release natural gas and oil.

Kern County’s oil fields are among the locations being eyed as prime locations for fracking.

“It takes three to eight million gallons of water to frack one well and each well can be fracked up to 18 times. Now where’s the water going to come from?” says Mr. Wilson. “All you have to do is put two and two together.

“There’s a very real possibility that the twin tunnels in the Delta are being built for the oil companies first and everybody else second,” he says.

(Burt Wilson talks about his theory in this exclusive CVBT Audio Interview. Please left-click on the link below to listen now or right-click on the link to download the MP3 audio file for later listening.)

“If people who are going to pay their hard-earned money in raised water rates to help pay for this knew it was going to go for fracking … they’d be out in the streets protesting,” Mr. Wilson says.

But, he says, it appears to him that protests would be useless.

“I have never seen the fix more ‘in’ than it is right now on the tunnels in the Delta,” he says.

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