SoCal Congressman Wants Delta Tunnel Project Exempt From Lawsuits

The Delta Tunnels mess is only going to get more volatile. Here’s the Sacramento Bee on a Southern California congressman who wants the tunnels project to go through so much he’s trying to sneak in a provision that prohibit legal action against the plan.

Here’s more from the Bee:

On Tuesday, veteran Rep. Ken Calvert of Riverside County released a 142-page draft spending bill for fiscal year 2019 for the Interior Department and related agencies.

Tucked into the bill, on page 141, is a brief provision that would prohibit state or federal lawsuits against “the Final Environmental Impact Report/Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan/California Water Fix … and any resulting agency decision, record of decision, or similar determination.” Calvert is the chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

“After more than a decade of studies and more than 50,000 pages of environmental documents, all of the project’s stakeholders have had a plethora of opportunities to express their thoughts and concerns,” Calvert said in a statement. “The tough decisions about the California Water Fix have been made by Gov. Brown, Democrat and Republican legislators, and a host of water officials, and now we must move forward with the project. It’s long past time to give Californians the reliable water system they deserve.”

California environmental groups immediately cried foul. Eric Wesselman, executive director of Friends of the River, said the Republican-controlled Congress is attempting to silence opposition to the Delta tunnels. He and other local leaders warned this could become a pattern.

“Regardless of how anyone feels about the Delta tunnels, this piece of legislation sets a dangerous precedent for California,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, a tunnels opponent. “It’s an end run around due process and really upends states’ rights.”

Here’s some reaction from the Golden Gate Salmon Association’s president John McManus, whose organization is one of the most vocal opponents of a project conservationists believe will further wipe out an already struggling king salmon run:

“The Delta water tunnels project, formerly known as the Peripheral Canal, was defeated by voters in 1982.  This time around the project is being shoved down the throats of all Californians without allowing a vote of the people. Today we learn that Congressman Ken Calvert is proposing a law exempting the salmon killing tunnels from legal review by groups like GGSA, local governments and others.  Construction of the current version of the tunnels would break numerous laws protecting salmon and other natural resources from destruction.  Since the tunnels would wreck the environment in violation of current law, Congressman Calvert is proposing to change the law instead of changing the tunnels. “

“Salmon and other species will be wiped out if the current version of the tunnels is built, which is why GGSA and allies are already in court calling for a fair legal review.  Those in favor of the tunnels and moving more northern California water to southern California know we’re likely to win in court since the environmental damage is easy to prove.  That’s why they’re using their money and political connections to simply get the laws changed rather than comply with the law and modify the tunnels to make them less damaging.”

 

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