Jerry Brown signs legislation to extend water bond deadline

Written By: Dan Bacher, August 12, 2014

Jerry Brown signs legislation to extend water bond deadline

Governor Jerry Brown on August 11 signed legislation to extend the deadline to place a new water bond on the November ballot by 48 hours. 

“Today’s legislative action provides additional time to get an acceptable water bond -- one that’s affordable and considers the needs of all Californian," said Brown. "Let’s work together to get this done.” 

The action gives Brown and legislative leaders more time to negotiate a replacement to the $11.14 billion water bond that is currently on the November ballot. That measure is part of the water policy-water bond package, passed in a special session of the State Legislature in November 2009, that creates a clear path to the construction of the peripheral tunnels. 

Brown's action follows the introduction of an updated $7.195 billion water bond proposal that can be found at http://gov.ca.gov/docs/RN_1421231.pdf    

The Governor will convene a meeting at noon today, August 12, at the State Capitol in Sacramento with Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and more than a dozen agricultural, water, environmental, labor and business leaders who support the water bond proposal introduced yesterday in the Legislature. 

"Governor Brown, Speaker Atkins and pro Tem Steinberg’s water bond proposal provides for water use efficiency and recycling, effective groundwater management and $2.5 billion for additional storage," according to a statement from the Governor's Office. "It invests in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities, and provides for watershed restoration and increased flows in some of California’s most important rivers and streams."

Senator Dianne Feinstein, known for her strong support of agribusiness interests including the Westlands Water District and Stewart Resnick, owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, praised the Governor and Legislature for their work on revising the water bond. 

“Governor Brown and the legislature have worked hard to revise the water bond to provide sufficient funds for water storage and other priority issues," said Feinstein. "Today's proposal includes $7.2 billion for California’s most pressing water infrastructure needs including water storage, Delta restoration, levee improvements, groundwater remediation and water reuse. I hope members of the legislature act quickly to place it on the ballot and I will do all I can to help get it passed this November.”  

RTD: Revised bond is not BDCP-neutral 

Brown claims that his water bond proposal is tunnels neutral, but Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) critics say it is anything but. Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, today cited several specific provisions of Governor Brown’s water bond proposal that are NOT “tunnels neutral.” 

Restore the Delta called upon the governor and the legislature to remove taxpayer funding that would replace needed river water flows taken by the tunnels, and have taxpayers fund mitigating tunnels damage. 

"The governor and others claim their proposals are ‘tunnels neutral’ while at the same time funding mitigation or replacement water,” said Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and quacks like a duck; it’s a duck. These provisions quack loudly and they say, ‘thanks for funding activities essential to building the massive water export tunnels for a few mega-grower billionaires.” 

The group said Possible BDCP related funding in the bond would range from $1.3 Billion to $1.4 Billion, citing the following provisions: 

Page 10 Chapter 6. Protecting Rivers. Lakes, Streams, Coastal Waters and Watersheds. ($1,450,000,000) 
79727 (II) Delta Conservancy ($50,000,000) 
This funding is BDCP-related. It contains no limitations to already-owned State lands, or approval by boards of supervisors of the county or counties in which the lands are located. 

Page 11 79733 ($200,000,000) 
BDCP-related water purchase: Wildlife Conservation Board for projects that result in increased stream flows. 

Page 13 797XX ($475,000,000) (e) CVPIA 3406(d) 
BDCP related - water purchase: A water supply for wildlife refuge obligation of the Central Valley Project (CVP), intended to free up water for CVP agricultural water deliveries. 

Pages 13 & 14 79733(a) ($87,500,000) 
BDCP related: Dept. of Fish & Wildlife for water quality, ecosystem restoration, and fish protection facilities. 

Pages 22 & 23 Flood Management ($395,000,000) 
797XX - $295,000,000 - BDCP related habitat being funded through levee programs. 

Page 24 Reallocation of Prop. 84 $105,000,000 
Could be used for BDCP 

Page 24 Reallocation of Prop. 50 $95,000,000 
Could be used for BDCP 

Possible BDCP related funding = $1.3 Billion to $1.4 Billion 

Restore the Delta is a 15,000-member grassroots organization committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. http://www.restorethedelta.org 

BDCP Background:

Governor Jerrry Brown's Bay Delta Delta Conservation Plan to build the 35-mile long peripheral tunnels won't create one drop of new water, but the project will lead to horrendous environmental degradation, according to tunnel critics. The construction of the tunnels, estimated to cost $67 billion, will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. 

BDCP opponents say Brown's "legacy" project will destroy the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas that provides a nursery for many species. It will harm salmon, halibut, leopard shark, soupfin shark, sevengill shark, anchovy, sardine, herring, groundfish and Dungeness crab populations stretching from Southern Washington to Southern California. 

Under the guise of habitat restoration, the BDCP will take vast tracts of Delta farmland, among the most fertile on the planet, out of production in order to irrigate toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and provide Delta water to Southern California developers and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County. 

The tunnels are being constructed in tandem with the federal government's plan to raise Shasta Dam, a project that will flood many of the remaining sacred sites of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe that weren't inundated by Shasta Dam.

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