The California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) and Senator Lois Wolk today issued statements lauding the decision by a Sacramento Superior Court Judge to toss out the Delta Plan, a central component of the Governor Jerry Brown’s Twin Tunnels scheme to divert Sacramento River water for corporate agribusiness interests and Southern California water agencies.
The news release from C-WIN states:
“A ruling by a Sacramento Superior Court judge invalidates the Delta Plan, the Brown administration’s restoration blueprint for the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta. The decision throws a large monkey wrench into the administration’s ‘California WaterFix,’ a massive water conveyance scheme that would shunt most of the water from the Sacramento River to Southern California via two gigantic subterranean tunnels.
The decision by Judge Michael Kenny declares the Delta Plan invalid because it does not conform to state laws passed in 2009. The ruling is a clarification of an earlier ruling issued in May.
The court found that the Delta Plan was not legally enforceable because it only provided “recommendations” that could reduce reliance on Delta water exports rather than firm and quantified targets.
“…None of the recommendations proffered by (the State Delta Stewardship Council) as complying with this requirement appear to be designed to achieve measurable reduced Delta reliance…” Kenny wrote.
Carolee Krieger, the executive director of the Santa Barbara-based California Water Impact Network, called the ruling a momentous development in the fight to stop the Twin Tunnels. C-WIN is a lead litigant in the coalition that sued the Delta Stewardship Council over the plan.
‘The court noted that there can be no plan unless it is consistent with the law,’ Krieger said, ‘and the law clearly states that the plan must have clear, quantified, and enforceable targets. The fact that it doesn’t means there is no longer an extant plan. This is a major blow to Governor Brown’s wasteful and destructive plan to drain the Delta via the Twin Tunnels, and a huge victory for the ratepayers and environment of California.’
The ruling greatly complicates State plans to expedite approval and construction of the tunnels, a water conveyance megaproject that would disrupt the ecological stability of the Delta, displace the region’s family farmers, cost taxpayers up to $70 billion or more, and provide no additional water to Southern California.
Still, warns Krieger, the battle is by no means over, given that the Brown Administration will attempt to revise the plan to conform to the judge’s order.
‘The ruling gives us three to 12 months of breathing room on the Delta Plan,” Krieger said. “But there are other fronts in this fight. The administration must also draft a valid Environmental Impact Report for the so-called California WaterFix, which is the authorizing mechanism for the Twin Tunnels, and the State Water Resources Control Board must approve a proposed change of diversion for the project. We’re going to challenge them at every step. We won’t rest until this fiscally irresponsible, environmentally destructive, and wholly unnecessary ‘legacy’ project is, so to speak, dead in the water.’
State Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) issued the following statement today on yesterday’s ruling by the Sacramento Superior Court that the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan, the state’s management plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, is “invalid and must be set aside pending revisions.”
“I applaud the courts’ decision, which echoes what scientists, the Delta’s representatives, and the Delta community have long signaled to be a failing in the Delta Plan. The current Delta Plan does not include the basic quantitative measures necessary to meet the statutory requirements to reduce reliance on the over-stressed Delta. Reducing stress on the Delta by reducing reliance on freshwater exports is a fundamental and necessary step to ensure sustainable and resilient water supplies for California’s economy, communities and ecosystems. With this ruling, we have an opportunity to get things right and ensure that the Delta Plan meets the state’s ‘coequal goals’ for the Delta.
Instead of spending more taxpayer funding to fight the judge’s ruling, the funding should be spent to create and advocate for a serious alternative Delta Plan that recognizes the need for reducing the amount of water taken out of the Delta and the progress that communities across the state are making in expanding their water supplies without draining the Delta.
The co-equal goals of 2009 are no longer in effect, nor is the commitment to the Delta as a place being upheld. The inadequacies of the Delta Plan are reflected in the judge’s opinion. It’s time for a Plan B that works.”
For my previous article on the initial reactions to the decision, go to: fishsniffer.com/…