Article by Dan Bacher
March 25, 2016
The Bechtel Foundation-funded Public Policy Institute Of California (PPIC), a long-time supporter of Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels Plan, has released a rigged poll concluding that 54% of those surveyed believe the California Water Fix is “very important” to the future of the state.
According to a PPIC press release, “The governor has proposed building tunnels in the Delta to improve the reliability of water supplies. About half of adults (54%) and 45 percent of likely voters say building the tunnels is very important to the future of California. Residents in Los Angeles (61%) and the Inland Empire (61%) are the most likely to say this is very important, followed by the Central Valley (51%), San Francisco Bay Area (49%), and Orange/San Diego (47%).”
The question was worded cleverly to produce the pre-determined result, support for the tunnels. Check out the question:
23. The governor has proposed to improve the reliability of water supplies by building tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. How important is this proposal for the future quality of life and economic vitality of California—is it very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?
54% very important
26% somewhat important
6% not too important
7% not at all important
Of course people are going to respond favorably to this false and misleading question! This question is based on the Big Lie that the tunnels proposed under the California Water Fix will “improve the reliability” of water supplies when there is no evidence that the project will do this.
In addition, there is no mention of the enormous costs of the plan to the ratepayers. taxpayers and people of California – nor of the devastating environmental consequences of the project, as documented by U.S. EPA scientists and numerous scientific panels.
Of course, the question doesn’t mention the tremendous threat the tunnels pose to the culture and livelihood of California Indian Tribes – nor of the huge economic impact that the collapse of salmon and other fisheries spurred by the tunnels’ construction would cause to recreational, tribal and commercial fishing families.
The construction of the tunnels would hasten the extinction of Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and other species, along with imperiling the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. The project would also devastate sustainable family farms on the Delta, located on some of the most fertile soil in the state, in order to keep irrigating drainage-impaired lands owned by corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
The complete press release and survey can be found here: http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/survey/S_316MBS.pd
Stephen Bechtel Jr., who co-owns the Bechtel Corporation along with his Riley, has been a major contributor to the PPIC, with the Bechtel Conference Center at PPIC funded by a “gift” from the Stephen Bechtel Fund. The S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation have funded a number of PPIC “studies” promoting the construction of a peripheral canal or tunnels since 2008. (http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/07/22/bechtel-and-the-big-dig/)
“The Bechtel Conference Center is designed to serve as both a meeting place and a learning center for nonprofit organizations, highlighting the value that PPIC places on civic engagement, consensus-building, and respect for different perspectives,” according to the PPIC website. “The center was made possible by a gift from the Stephen Bechtel Fund and opened in spring 2011. In its design and operation, the center reflects the values that PPIC and the Bechtel family place on environmental and technological innovation (http://www.ppic.org/main/confcenter.asp)
For my latest article on the Delta Tunnels fiasco, go to: http://fishsniffer.com/index.php/2016/03/18/is-brown-administration-official-admitting-delta-tunnels-plan-is-collapsing. For more information and action alerts, go to: http://restorethedelta.org.