McNerney introduces bill to block federal funds for BDCP
By Bryan M. Gold - Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 12:46 PM CDT
U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) on Sept. 9 introduced a House bill that would prohibit using federal funds for California’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) during the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
He represents Galt and northern San Joaquin County. Two Sacramento County colleagues, Reps. John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove) and Dr. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove), cosponsored the bill.
McNerney said California asked the federal government to contribute nearly $4 billion to help it implement the BDCP. He previously introduced an amendment to withhold money for the BDCP as part of the Energy and Water appropriations bill.
State officials said Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan is a proposal to build two 35-mile-long tunnels under the Delta to create a way to supply and transport water to 25 million Californians and more than three million acres of farmland.
His plan is designed to meet required goals in the 2009 Delta Reform Act, which intends to restore the Delta’s ecosystem and improve the reliability of water it supplies to two out of three Californians.
The BDCP from the California Department of Natural Resources and the federal government calls for the tunnels to run through Hood and then go east and closer to Interstate 5 just south of Stone Lake.
“The BDCP in its current form is based on bad science and is not the solution California needs,” McNerney said. “We must invest in infrastructure and technology that will address our water issues in a smart way, including above- and below-ground storage, recycling and conservation, and desalinization.”
He added, “We should not spend a dime on the BDCP until we are satisfied that it truly protects the unique ecosystem of the Delta, and the lives and livelihoods of the families, farmers and small businesses that depend on it.”
State officials last month delayed the plan’s implementation due to concerns about the environmental and economic impact of the tunnels, including the potential for saltwater intrusion.
Both the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers raised objections to the BDCP assumptions and called for major changes to the plan.
Although Brown and other state officials estimated the BDCP to cost $25 billion, analyses by independent groups show that the final expense could be more than $64 billion.
Garamendi represents the area north of Galt and west of Highway 99. Bera’s district is located entirely in Sacramento County and includes Herald.
“The BDCP is a flawed plan that does nothing to increase our water supply and only diverts more water from the Sacramento area to southern California,” Bera said. “Not only that, but it will cost taxpayers billions, and hurt countless farmers and small businesses in our region.”
He added, “We must stop this misguided plan and continue to fight for real bipartisan solutions to secure water access and storage throughout our state.”