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Federal grants include money to greenwash peripheral tunnels plan

Federal grants include money to greenwash peripheral tunnels plan

by Dan Bacher

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on August 14 announced $11 million in grants to California projects, including $640,575 for Jerry Brown's plan to build two peripheral tunnels to export more water to corporate agribusiness.

The grants, awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, "will benefit numerous species in California," ranging from the Peninsular bighorn sheep in Riverside County to California red-legged frogs in Los Angeles County, according to a news release from the service. (

“Our strong partnerships with states, landowners and local communities are the key to the successful protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species, and these grants will fund important conservation work,” claimed Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a strong backer of Governor Jerry Brown's plan to "save" the Delta by draining it. “While dozens of imperiled species will benefit from these efforts, improving the health of our land and water will also help the people, communities and economies that depend on these resources.”

The grant for the Bay Delta Conservation Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan (HCP/NCCP) "supports the development of an HCP/NCCP for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta (Delta) Region," according to the release.

"The Bay Delta HCP/NCCP is being developed as a long-term comprehensive plan that will conserve and manage covered species and natural communities in perpetuity, while providing reliable water supplies for the State’s myriad of beneficial uses. Some of the many listed species that will benefit from this planning effort include the San Joaquin kit fox, least Bell’s vireo, California red-legged frog, and Lange’s meadowlark butterfly," the release noted.

I noticed that they didn't mention Central Valley winter run chinook salmon, Delta smelt or any other imperiled fish species since federal, federal and independent scientists have already pointed out in scientific reviews that the BDCP could "hasten" the extinction of these species! This grant is obviously being made to give a "green veneer" to an environmentally destructive plan that will result in the destruction of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), accurately describes BDCP as "a $50 billion scheme to divert the Sacramento River around the estuary to irrigate the parched impaired soils of the South Valley."

"The collective scientific community scathingly characterized their Effects Analysis as junk science; and said that it would hasten extinction rather than restoring species," said Jennings. "You can’t restore an estuary hemorrhaging from pollution and lack of flow by stealing more fresh water from it. That’s a death sentence for the Delta."

Drilling for data

Meanwhile, the Department of Water continues to "drill for data," according to Restore the Delta.

Last week (August 6) DWR began overwater drilling in the Delta “to collect data for proposed water conveyance alternatives associated with BDCP.” Work continues through October.

"DWR needs these geotechnical investigations to support the environmental documents for the BDCP. Does this mean we shouldn’t expect to see the BDCP EIR before October?" the group asked.

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Glen Martin Skewers 'Madman Brown'

Glen Martin, author of 'Game Changer: Animal Rights and the Fate of Africa's Wildlife,' has written a superb article, "the Madness of King Jerry," on the Huffington Post, slamming Brown's peripheral tunnels plan.

"Was California Gov. Jerry Brown a Manchurian Candidate for California's water buffaloes (promoters of hugely expensive and environmentally destructive water projects)?," said Martin. "Kind of looks that way. Brown ran on a moderate platform that included a rational water policy. He promised to 'fix' the broken Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta, restore its moribund fisheries, and provide some equity in the distribution of state water."

"Well, Brown got elected; after that, he apparently had a Vulcan mind meld with the agribusiness panjandrums of the western San Joaquin Valley. His new mantra is 'peripheral canal' - or maybe 'conveyance system.' It amounts to the same thing: subterranean twin tunnels that shuttle water from the Sacramento River around the Delta to the South State. And by South State, I mainly mean the corporate farmers of the San Joaquin. These plutocratic land barons will get most of this government-subsidized water, while SoCal urbanites must be content with a minority share," said Martin.

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