Governor Newsom Finally Pulls The Plug On Delta Twin Tunnels (UPDATED)

U.S. Government/Wikimedia

Delta photo by Kelly M. Grow/ California Department of Water Resources

 

The on again/off again saga of former Governor Jerry Brown’s twin Delta tunnels plan was put to rest by Brown’s successor Gavin Newsom.

Here’s the Sacramento Bee with more on Newsom’s decision and potential alternate plans:

The Department of Water Resources halted the planning on the twin tunnels by withdrawing its application to a sister agency, the State Water Resources Control Board, for permission to build the massive project from a starting point on the Sacramento River near Courtland. The state also scrapped documents declaring that the twin tunnels plan complied with California’s environmental laws.

In the short run, the decision means more delay for a project that’s been on the drawing board for more than a decade. Karla Nemeth, director of the Department of Water Resources, said it could take up to three years to rework the environmental documents and other permits. But by downsizing and simplifying the project, she said the state hopes it can speed up the “overall delivery schedule” for the project.

Nemeth said the federal Bureau of Reclamation, the state’s partner in the Delta project, is also withdrawing its applications and environmental permits.

It now appears that a single tunnel plan will be pondered, though some fish conservationists have been staunchly against the project from the beginning.

Update:

Here’s the California Department of Water Resources release and a statement from president John McManus of the Golden Gate Salmon Association, one of the opponents of the tunnels’ plan:

Statement from John McManus, president, Golden Gate Salmon Association:

“We are grateful to Governor Newsom and his team for the steps taken today.  As a result, we’re more hopeful for the future of the salmon runs we rely on to feed our families and keep our communities whole.  We’re more hopeful that California’s incredible salmon runs, natural resources, and environment might have a better chance to heal. 

“GGSA was party to a lawsuit challenging the twin tunnels and that suit may have played into the governor’s decision to call for a reset.  Salmon fishermen and women look forward to working with the governor’s team on ways forward that share the state’s precious water in ways that work better for everyone.” 

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