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Written By: Dan Bacher, March 1, 2014
When a photo of Governor Jerry Brown signing a document appeared on his facebook page on February 27, anti-fracking activists were hoping he was signing an executive order to ban the environmentally destructive, water-intensive oil extraction practice known as hydraulic fracturing in California.
Delta advocates were hoping he was signing an executive order to abolish the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and to adopt instead the Environmental Water Caucus Responsible Exports Plan.
And environmental justice and ocean protection advocates were hoping Brown was signing an executive order calling for a strict ban on oil drilling, fracking, pollution, corporate aquaculture, wind and wave energy projects and other human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering in the so-called "marine protected areas" created under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.
Unfortunately, Governor Brown was instead taking out the papers to run for an unprecedented fourth term.
In his official announcement kicking off his reelection campaign, Brown brought up the drought and climate change. He said we "live in unprecedented times" and that the current drought is a "portent of times to come." (Does he know something that we don't know?)
"We live in unprecedented times," said Brown. "The tasks ahead are not simple or mundane. The climate itself is changing, threatening catastrophic and irreversible damage to the oceans and natural systems on which human beings and other forms of life depend. In many respects, California is leading the way and we will continue to do so by encouraging many kinds of innovation and by joining with other states and nations. But this is a global problem and only by acting both locally and globally do we have any chance of reducing the unrelenting increase of heat-trapping gasses."
He continued, "The current drought is a portent of weather to come. It should awaken us to the actions we need to take this year and in the years to follow. Water is more than a resource. It is a vital and fundamental element of our wellbeing. In the next few years, we need to make solid progress in managing our water both above and below the ground."
However, he avoided discussing the highly unpopular Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the twin tunnels, saying only, "I pledge my full commitment to bringing all the disparate parties together and working to achieve sensible, scientific and sustainable water policies."
If Brown really wants to "bring the disparate parties" together, he should actually talk and meet with the people he has excluded from the state's environmental processes and water policy discussions - Indian Tribes, recreational and commercial fishermen, grassroots environmentalists, Delta residents and family farmers.
And he should completely abandon the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, a $67 billion boondoggle that will only enrich corporate agribusiness interests, oil companies and Southern California water agencies at the expense of family farmers, salmon and the vast majority of Californians. Why is he pursuing an enormously expensive and environmentally destructive plan that won't create one drop of new water.
And how can he keep promoting the expansion of water intensive fracking in California during a drought? We can't spare one single drop of water on fracking when family farmers, cities and fish don't have enough water for their needs.
As Brown promotes fracking, Restore the Delta (RTD) and Food and Water Watch, opponents of Governor Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation to build the peripheral tunnels, will hold a teleconference on Tuesday, March 4, at 2 pm to release a new map depicting the overlap between the largest agricultural users of Bay-Delta water exports, land impaired by selenium concentrations that make farming unsustainable, and oil and gas basins that could be fracked.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, and Adam Scow, California Campaigns Director of Food & Water Watch, will be the featured speakers.
“This map will show a remarkable overlay of where our water is going, how the public subsidizes unsustainable crops on drainage-impaired lands, selenium concentrations that pose a threat to the public, and underlying oil deposits that could be fracked with water from the governor’s tunnels,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of RTD. "Unsustainable farming has damaged these lands. And the taxpayers have been subsidizing it. Fracking is another water intensive industry in the San Joaquin Valley that will further contaminate groundwater supplies."
"The governor's plan describes water for fracking via the proposed peripheral tunnels as a beneficial use. Beneficial for whom? The peripheral tunnels would benefit unsustainable corporate agribusiness in one region and potentially the energy industry – at the expense of everyday Californians," concluded Barrigan-Parrilla.
Governor Jerry Brown is fast-tracking the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the build the peripheral tunnels in order to export Delta water to corporate agribusiness interests, oil companies and Southern California water agencies. The construction of the tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperiling salmon and steelhead populations on the Klamath and Trinity rivers.
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; steve [at] hopcraft.com; Twitter: @shopcraft; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 barbara [at] restorethedelta.org; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta
For more information, go to: http://www.restorethedelta.org.
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