Friday, April 17, 2015

Delta Tunnel Plan Drops Habitat Conservation Goal

Governor Jerry Brown’s administration sent shockwaves last week to both proponents and critics of its Delta tunnels scheme when it announced that the habitat conservation element of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan would no longer be pursued. State officials are now saying they want to concentrate only on building the two 35 mile long tunnels to shunt Sacramento River water under the Delta to the pumps that will send it through state and federal canals to Central Valley farmers and southern California cities. The Brown administration has all through the BDCP review process promoted the “co-equal” goals of providing a reliable supply for water users along with restoring the ecological health of the Delta. Governor Brown insists that the change is only a minor tweak to the BDCP that doesn’t change the overall goals. But environmental groups and water contractors say the revised plan may not be worth the cost. Pacifica’s Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.