SACRAMENTO — Restore the Delta released a letter from 38 environmental, fishing, consumer, Native American and other groups last week, alerting the U.S. Interior Secretary and the Obama Administration of the potential disaster if the Peripheral Canal is constructed.
According to the letter, we are "poised to make an enormous mistake...and potentially drag the American people along with it," by backing "construction of a world-record-size tunnel or pipes capable of diverting 15,000 cubic feet per second from the Sacramento River — nearly all of its average freshwater flow."
The broad coalition sounded the alarm after the Brown Administration informed them that the State intends to proceed with construction of a Peripheral Canal or Tunnel that the groups write "would have devastating ecological impacts."
The groups said the "$20 to $50 billion dollar, highly controversial project will primarily serve to deliver Sacramento River water, through State and Federal pumps, to provide subsidized irrigation water to corporate agricultural operations of the western San Joaquin Valley."
The letter is noteworthy in placing on record a powerful coalition that could delay or defeat the proposed water-export project. The letter was signed by Sierra Club California, Environmental Water Caucus, Friends of the River, California Water Impact Network, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Food and Water Watch, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, the Planning and Conservation League and the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, as well as 29 other organizations.
"The idea that you're going to commit to building a $50 billion tunnel around the Delta that current science demonstrates won't protect the estuary, and only later revise the science, develop assurances and decide how to operate it simply doesn't pass the smell test," said Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. "You can bathe this pig in perfume and apply lipstick, but it still won't fly."