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Congressman Jerry McNerney

Representing the 9th District of California

Northern CA House Democrats Send Letter to Gov. Brown Regarding Budget Items for ‘WaterFix’ Tunnels

Jan 14, 2016
Press Release

Washington –Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) along with Northern California House Democrats, including Reps. Jared Huffman (CA-02), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), John Garamendi (CA-03), Mike Thompson (CA-05), and Doris Matsui (CA-06) sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown regarding his budget proposal as it relates to the “WaterFix” tunnels plan. Specifically, the letter asks how the $3.6 million allocation will be used, and requests a more detailed discussion with the Brown administration as to why budgetary funding was deemed necessary for the regulatory review of the WaterFix tunnels at this time.

Link to the letter: https://bit.ly/2017jpl.

Full text of the letter:

January 13, 2016

Hon. Jerry Brown                 

Governor                              

State Capitol, Suite 1173     

Sacramento, CA 95814        

Dear Governor Brown:

We applaud your recent budget announcement that includes $323 million for a continued drought response.  A commitment of resources is needed to implement the comprehensive and innovative solutions that will move us toward a sustainable water supply.  But, we are alarmed that your administration is also dedicating $3.6 million in part to incorporate the proposed “WaterFix” tunnels plan into a broader Delta Plan. Because the WaterFix tunnels plan has not received any of the state or federal permits required to begin construction and there remains serious concerns about the design, efficacy, and cost of the tunnels, we believe assigning resources is premature and inappropriate.


Your budget calls for a portion of the $3.6 million to be allocated to the Delta Stewardship Council to incorporate the tunnels into the Delta Plan. This allocation is from the General Fund that also contains funding from the 2014 Proposition 1 Water Bond. You made a promise to all Californians that no money from Proposition 1 would be used for the WaterFix tunnels. The tunnels and related planning, design, and construction activities are to be funded entirely by the state and federal water project contractors that benefit from the project.

If this dedicated sum of money funds a regulatory review process administered by the Delta Stewardship Council, we still believe the funding could be better spent on other solutions. We would like to know how the $3.6 million will be used and would appreciate a more detailed discussion with your administration as to why budgetary funding was deemed necessary for the regulatory review of the WaterFix tunnels at this time.

If the Water Fix tunnels are constructed, not a single drop of new water will be added to California’s water supply. The plan’s environmental project documents still fail federal and state requirements for environmental review and the tunnels will encourage reliance on water exports, to the detriment of Delta agriculture, fisheries, and wildlife, as well as communities and water users within and upstream of the Delta. Furthermore, the tunnels plan still lacks the best available science and would impede the ability to fund investments in long-term water reliability and quality, reuse, drought and flood protection, and ecosystem improvements.

Instead of forcing a permitting process through the California State Water Resources Control Board, we urge you, again, to focus your efforts and state resources on developing the sustainable solutions in your California Water Action Plan.  We believe the state can make faster progress in responding to the drought if it uses its resources to increase recycling, conservation, stormwater capture, and groundwater banking and shifts its priorities toward regional self-sufficiency.  We look forward to working with you to ensure sustainable water supplies for a healthy Delta ecosystem and California’s farmers, fishermen, and communities statewide.

Sincerely,

_____________________________                 _____________________________                

JERRY MCNERNEY                                        JARED HUFFMAN     

Member of Congress                                          Member of Congress                                      

_____________________________                _____________________________

MARK DESAULNIER                                     JOHN GARAMENDI                          

Member of Congress                                         Member of Congress                                                                       

_____________________________                 _____________________________                

MIKE THOMPSON                                          DORIS MATSUI

Member of Congress                                           Member of Congress

These Northern California House Democrats have sent previous letters to Governor Brown arguing that his multibillion-dollar tunnels fail to increase water supply and would devastate an already fragile Delta ecosystem.

Rep. McNerney, whose district contains a majority of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, has long opposed Governor Brown’s tunnels, an ill-advised plan that would devastate the Delta’s fragile ecosystem and hurt families, farmers, and businesses in the region. 

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Rep. Jerry McNerney proudly serves the constituents of California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.