United Delta Community Leaders: You Can’t Restore the Delta by Draining It Stockton Mayor, Business Leaders, Farmers, Environmentalists Oppose Canal or Tunnel

by coalitionadmin on March 15, 2012

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; 916/956-4592- Cell; steve@hopcraft.com

Sacramento, CA – The Delta Coalition, comprised of private businesses, local governments, environmental advocates, farmers and fishermen, today told a Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee hearing they are united in opposing any plan to take millions of acre feet of water each year out of the Delta and send it directly to corporate agribusiness. “You can’t restore the Delta by taking millions of acre feet of water out of it each year,” said Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston. “We are united in opposing any peripheral canal or tunnel that takes water from the Delta. We have lost millions of acre feet of water in recent decades, and that is why our Delta is so fragile now.”

The Delta Coalition is working to identify the best ways to preserve the environment and economy of the Delta while enhancing the habitat and providing a reliable water source. The hearing on the proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan drew dozens of Delta citizens to oppose plans to take “surplus” water from the Delta by a peripheral canal or tunnel. “The Delta has no ‘surplus’ water, and our fish and farms are already suffering,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “The urban water districts are working hard to conserve water, and take a small percentage of the Delta water. But the top 1% of corporate agribusiness has its eyes fixed on draining the Delta.”

Sixth-generation North Delta family farmer Joy Baker told the legislators, “I have put down my farm tools and left my family farm’s pressing work to oppose the BDCP, which seeks to trade our livelihoods for those of corporate agriculture tycoons. We are family farmers operating small businesses. The top 1% of agriculture is pushing a plan that robs everyone to enrich themselves.”

Ron Addington, President and CEO of the Business Council of San Joaquin County, told the committee, “Delta business leaders are united with other Delta residents in opposing the current BDCP. Any businessperson knows that unless you do a cost-benefit analysis, you will fail to make an informed decision. I am here to call for a cost benefit analysis of all factors that will impact the Delta and our economy before any decisions are made.”

San Joaquin County Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller said, “Our communities see the federal and state governments poised to repeat the mistakes and misappropriations of the past. Our Delta was to be protected from harm when our water was shipped to corporate agribusinesses. There has been no balance in protecting our Delta, only the taking of more and more water. I urge you to oppose the current version of the Bay Delta Conversion Plan and the Delta Stewardship Council’s implementation of the 2009 Delta Plan because they do not encompass the co-equal goals of ensuring water reliability and protection of the Delta.”

Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, provided this statement, “I urge you to focus your energies and attention, based on a thorough cost-benefit analysis, on the possibility of providing the $2-$4 billion to restore the Delta levees, rather than spend upwards of $20 billion of water district ratepayer monies to build a tunnel or canal to, as you say, ensure ‘reliable water supplies.’ ‘Fat’ levees will protect the Delta, provide a through-Delta pathway for a reasonable plan to share the incredible water resources for the benefit of all Californians, not just a few huge growers.”

Agriculture is the life-blood of the Delta with nearly 80% of all farmland classified as prime agricultural land.  Preserving and enhancing the Delta’s agricultural industry is vital to the region, the state, and the nation.  In calculating value-added manufacturing, the statewide impact of Delta agriculture is about 25,000 jobs, nearly $5.4 billion in economic output and over $2 billion in economic value.

The Delta Coalition opposes the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and the Delta Stewardship Council’s (DSC) implementation of the enabling legislation (2009 Delta Water Package) regarding the Delta Plan.

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