Language For Water Package Circulates Capitol: Delta Representatives/Community Leaders Barred From Preview

Posted on 26 October 2009

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Barbara-Parrilla.jpg By Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla
Campaign Director
Restore the Delta

When Governor Schwarzenegger began his role in office, he was quite proud of being California's premiere salesman - selling the California economy, geography, and lifestyle to court corporations throughout the world. Many Californians responded positively to the Governor's ongoing overtures made to the international business community.

Unfortunately what they did not foresee, is that today in 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger would be leading a failed economy while cutting deal after to deal to create a water package that will sell off the Delta - the Pacific Coast's largest estuary - to the Westlands Water District and the Metropolitan Water District. This package which would place junior water rights holders on coequal footing with upstream water rights holders, all at the expense of Delta farmers and fisheries, would transform the Westlands Water District and the Metropolitan Water District into California's permanent water brokers, who will have the rights to purchase and resell water to Southern California's urban communities at will through a new conveyance system - aka the peripheral canal.

With the aid of his sidekick, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Governor Schwarzenegger's Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy has brought in one-by-one individual water agencies and other organizations, all from outside of the Delta, to negotiate what each individual groups wants to see in the water package. And by bringing in corporate environmental organizations into the negotiations process, such the Nature Conservancy, NRDC, and the Environmental Defense Fund, which all stand to benefit financially either from the bond package itself or from continued funding from pro-peripheral canal foundations or corporations like Bechtel, the Governor and Senate President have given themselves green cover for policies that will turn the Delta into a stagnant saltwater marsh.

Delta leaders, both elected officials and community leaders, remain 100% left out of the process. The only question posed to a few has been how much money we would like to see in a water bond proposal for a project for the Delta - that would be in trade for our consent for the water package and water bond.

Our concerns about water rights protections, inflows for Delta fisheries and Delta communities, enforceable and enforced water quality standards, and a local and state partnership for Delta governance have been completely ignored. The letter proposal for a sustainable water strategy sent out by Restore the Delta and 23 environmental organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Californian has been ignored. Our concerns about the State taking out general obligation bonds when our State coffers are empty have been ignored.

So now, our loyal and active Restore the Delta supporters, it's up to you! First, we need you to sign the five petition/letters that we have created on-line to send to all of California's legislators. You can do so by clicking here.

Second, we need you to forward this action alert to everyone you know in California. Third, we need you to call your state legislator's District office and let them know of your opposition to the secret water bond and water package. And fourth, we need you to check back on the Restore the Delta website daily for the next week to see if your presence is needed in Sacramento.

At publication time, an Assembly Parks, and Wildlife Committee Hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Monday October, 26, 2009. If this changes, we will send out an updated email message this weekend. It is also our understanding that the Senate Natural Resources Committee may hold a hearing on any day next week at the will of the Chairs. We will let you know the time and dates of the hearings as soon as we know.

Restore the Delta is a grassroots campaign of residents and organizations committed to restoring the California Delta so that its waters are fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable.