Newsom's Delta Tunnel: Baykeeper comments

Dec 16, 2022

Newsom's Delta Tunnel Comment Period Ends

Baykeeper statement: Death Sentence for SF Bay’s Fish


Today, San Francisco Baykeeper and 13 partner organizations filed comments with the California Department of Water Resources on the draft environmental impact report for Governor Newsom’s Delta conveyance project (“Delta tunnel”). The organizations represent a wide range of conservation, Indigenous, fishing, and Delta community interests.


Like the two failed proposals that came before it, Governor Newsom's latest conveyance plan would divert water from the Sacramento River through a tunnel bored under the Delta. A similar tunnel project proposed by Newsom's predecessor, Governor Jerry Brown, was withdrawn in 2018 following intense criticism of the cost and negative effects on the environment.


Baykeeper Senior Scientist, Jon Rosenfield, PhD, issued the following statement:


"If constructed, the Delta Conveyance would be a death sentence for our region’s fisheries and for communities that rely on those fish for food, recreation, and cultural practices. Despite overwhelming evidence that the San Francisco Bay estuary’s water quality and fishes are declining fast—and that more flows from Central Valley rivers need to reach San Francisco Bay to avert an ecological disaster—Governor Newsom’s tunnel proposal will decrease flows to the Bay.


"California’s plan for operating this new tunnel adopts rules established by the Trump administration’s ‘extinction plan.’ The state’s own analysis demonstrates that the tunnel’s water diversions will damage the environment, even beyond the harm that’s currently being caused by the Trump plan. The fact that his new water diversion will lead to worse outcomes than Trump’s extinction plan should tell Californians all they need to know about Governor Newsom’s latest proposal.


"This Governor likes to talk about changing the dialogue around California’s 'water wars,' but his new tunnel plan demonstrates once again that his administration accepts the false dichotomy that water supplies must come at the expense of our struggling ecosystems and communities.  California should invest heavily in local and regional water supply projects that reduce reliance on water exported from the Delta, in compliance with existing state policy. Investing in municipal water recycling, conservation, and agricultural water use reforms would increase California’s resilience to climate change, generate good jobs, and provide some relief to struggling fish and wildlife, and the communities that rely on them.”

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