There’s no light at the end of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed Delta tunnel — not if the Trump administration’s bogus science is the basis for justifying a Southern California water grab of epic proportions.
State Department of Water Resources officials announced Wednesday they are initiating an environmental review of the governor’s plan for a single Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta tunnel along the I-5 corridor. In concept, the single-tunnel idea has merit. Its cost — estimated at $11 billion — is considerably cheaper than Gov. Jerry Brown’s $19 billion twin-tunnel proposal that Newsom killed in 2019.
But review of a single-tunnel conveyance must be based on sound science. It’s outrageous that Newsom’s state Department of Water Resources appears to be backing the Trump administration’s faulty science, which the governor previously rejected, as the basis for moving forward with the single-tunnel plan.
A single-tunnel plan only makes sense if the savings enables the state to invest in a comprehensive plan that would increase water supply through added storage, recycling and conservation. That would enable the state to pump less water from the Delta and improve the health of the largest estuary west of the Mississippi.
The Delta supplies about one-third of the Bay Area’s fresh water. It’s also home to 750 species and plants critical to the Delta’s fragile ecosystem. Multiple studies, including by the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, have made clear that the Delta’s long-term health depends on pouring more water — not less — through its 1,000 miles of levees. It’s essential that the governor’s single-tunnel plan meet the co-equal goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring and enhancing the Delta ecosystem.
Wednesday’s announcement instead furthered the notion that the state Department of Water Resources is only interested in optimizing the amount of water it can send south.
The governor’s environmental credibility is on the line.
On Nov. 21, Newsom announced that California would sue the Trump administration over the federal government’s plan to pump more water south from the Delta. In the same week, the state released a draft environmental report that said “a decade of science” made clear that the operating rules on water flows proposed by the Trump administration “are not scientifically adequate and fall short of protecting species and the state’s interests.” But nearly two months later, Newsom has failed to follow through on his promised lawsuit. And now the state review of a single-tunnel plan appears to embrace Trump’s science.
In the next two months, the Department of Water Resources will be going to the state’s water contractors, including the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Alameda County Water District, to get a sense of their willingness to foot the bill for the hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for the design and engineering work for the project. Using the Trump administration’s science enhances the chances those water contractors will think a Delta single-tunnel project pencils out. But it will also doom the long-term health of the Delta for future generations.
The DWR is accepting public comments on the proposal until March 20. Northern Californians must not allow this to stand. They should email the state agency (DeltaConveyanceScoping@water.Ca.Gov) and insist that it use sound science as the basis for deciding whether to move forward with the single-tunnel project.
Meanwhile, the governor should stop this hypocrisy. If he has a sound tunnel plan, he should not be afraid to subject it to sound scientific review. He should not succumb to Trump’s trashing of the environment. We had thought Newsom was better than that. Now we’re not so sure.
Source: agen poker online