Water Policy


Brown's Tunnels Could Cost As Much As $67 Billion

By Dan Bacher

The total cost of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels could be as high as $67 billion, according to new figures revealed at a Westlands Water District board meeting last month by a Westlands staff member and a Citigroup bond consultant.

This new figure, with construction bond costs included in the total, counters the claims by Brown administration officials over the past two years that the plan would cost $24.5 billion during its 50-year implementation period.

In Paul Rogers' article in the San Jose Mercury News on December 26, Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources, confirmed the estimates are accurate.

Governor's Bay Delta Conservation Plan Point Man Resigns

By Dan Bacher

Jerry Meral, Deputy Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency and Jerry Brown's point man for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, announced his retirement from "state service," effective December 31.

The resignation was announced the day after over 400 people, including fishermen, Tribal leaders, farmers, Southern California water ratepayers, environmentalists and elected officials, rallied at the State Capitol in Sacramento against the proposed water export tunnels.

Restoring Fairness to the World of California Water

By Kate Poole

The Los Angeles Daily News penned a noteworthy editorial last week titled California is drowning in ancient and unfair water rules. It’s noteworthy because the editorial correctly debunks some of the common myths about California’s water system and, in doing so, points the way to several needed reforms:

Myth 1 – urban southern California is the biggest water hog in the state.

Oil Company Fined for Illegally Discharging Fracking Fluid in CA

By Dan Bacher

The oil industry in California has constantly claimed that fracking (hydraulic fracturing) for oil and natural gas is "safe" and doesn't harm the environment.

"An honest appraisal of the science and common sense around hydraulic fracturing leads to a conclusion the technology we’ve used without harm in California for 60 plus years is safe and its benefits a blessing," said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), earlier this year.

Water Everywhere, Water Nowhere

By Rev. Jimm COnn

As every resident of the Southland must know by now, this month marks the centennial of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. When, in 1913, the valves were first turned and water rushed down the last hillside between the Eastern Sierra and the San Fernando Valley, William Mulholland, the brilliant self-taught engineer who guided the project, and whose career would end when the St. Francis Dam collapsed, famously said, “There it is. Take it.”

Water Bond Campaigner Reveals Measure Would Lose 'Pretty Dramatically'

By Dan Bacher

Joe Caves, a "campaign manager" for three successful water bonds, told attendees at a dinner of the Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) on October 24 that the bond that is currently on the 2014 ballot would lose "pretty dramatically."

The legislature doesn't have a very good record of passing successful water bonds, according to Caves.

"The one passed in 2009 was the first one they even managed to get a 2/3rds vote on since 2000," said Caves. "And that one was constructed in a way necessary to put legislative compromises together, but also created elements of it that created opposition to the bond."

Brown Appoints Big Water Lobbyist as DWR Chief Deputy Director

Dan BacherBy Dan Bacher

The revolving door between corporate interests, water contractors and state government swung open once again on Wednesday, September 18 when Governor Jerry Brown appointed Laura King Moon of Woodland, a lobbyist for the state’s water exporters, as chief deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

Moon has been a project manager for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan since 2011 while “on loan” from the State Water Contractors, a non-profit association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under contract from the California State Water Project.

'Clean' Version of the Delta Plan Isn't Fooling Anybody

Dan BacherBy Dan Bacher

The Delta Stewardship Council on Wednesday August 28 released what it described as a "clean" version of the Final Delta Plan, a controversial document now being contested in seven lawsuits by diverse parties ranging from the Winnemem Wintu Tribe to the Westlands Water District.

"A clean version of the Final Delta Plan, including an Executive Summary, easy to read text, informative graphics, and decorative photographs, is available for review and downloading by clicking [here]," the Council proclaimed.

So does that mean that the previous version of the plan was "dirty," as in obscene, corrupt, poorly written, ill-conceived and driven by dirty corporate money?

California Legislators Call for Offshore Oil Fracking Investigation

Author & fisherman Dan BacherBy Dan Bacher

Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) and eight other California lawmakers are calling on the Department of Interior and Environmental Protection Agency to investigate reports of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) beneath the seabed floor off the California Coast.

The legislators are asking for a strict review and possible new regulations of fracking in the ocean - less than 8 months after the completion of a network of questionable state "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling and spills, pollution, wind and wave energy projects, military testing and all human impacts other than sustainable fishing and gathering.

Oil Lobby Leads California Spending as Ocean Fracking Proceeds

By Dan Bacher

Some may consider California to be a "green" state and the "environmental leader" of the nation, but that delusion is quickly dispelled once one actually looks at who spends the most on lobbying in California - the oil industry.

The Western States Petroleum Association spent the most on lobbying in Sacramento in the first six months of 2013 of any interest group, according to quarterly documents released by the California Secretary of State.

The association spent $1,023,069.78 in the first quarter and $1,285,720.17 in the second quarter, a total of $2,308,789.95, to lobby legislators and other state officials.