Trump & Brown Officials To update Delta Tunnels Status Today

The ECOreport reposts news from California, Trump & Brown Officials To update Delta Tunnels Status Today

Originally Posted on the Daily KOS

By Dan Bacher

The administrations of President Donald Trump and California Governor Jerry Brown today will make a big announcement on the status of the scientific assessments required to build Brown’s Delta Tunnels project.

Trump & Brown Officials To update Delta Tunnels Status Today

The biological opinion is available here: www.fws.gov/…

Many salmon and Delta advocates fear that the Trump and Brown administrations  are making a deal to fast-track the California WaterFix, considered by opponents to be the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history.

Representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) will update reporters on the status of biological opinions related to California WaterFix in a noon teleconference today.

Officials from California’s Department of Water Resources will also be on hand to comment and answer questions during the joint teleconference.

According to the media advisory, “In July of 2016, the Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources provided the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries with a Biological Assessment for consultation on the construction and operations of California WaterFix. Consultation is required for species listed under the Endangered Species Act to ensure federal actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat of listed species.”

The officials updating the status of the biological opinions will include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Paul Souza, Pacific Southwest Regional Director; NOAA Fisheries – Barry Thom, West Coast Regional Administrator and Cathy Marcinkevage, Biomodeler; and California Department of Water Resources – Michelle Banonis, Assistant Chief Deputy Director and Ken Bogdan, Senior Staff Counsel.

Fasr Tracking The Delta Tunnels

The announcement on the biological opinions takes place as Governor Brown attempts to fast-track the planning and implementation of the California Water Fix project as his “legacy” project.

Last Thursday, the state’s Delta Stewardship Council voted to endorse controversial conveyance and storage amendments to the Delta Plan that project opponents say will hasten the approval of DWR’s Delta Tunnels proposal — in spite of opposition by fishermen, family farmers, environmentalists and Delta residents who packed a room in the Holiday Inn in Sacramento.

“I am very disappointed that the Council approved a policy that favors big money water exporters over the Delta,” said Mike Brodsky, lawyer for the Save the Delta Alliance (STDA), in response to the decision. “Several Council members seemed not to be fully informed on what they were voting for and had an incomplete understanding of the Delta and its residents as well as inadequate information on how the water export system works and what the WaterFix project will do.”

Photo Credit: California’s Chinook Salmon – USFWS photo/Dan Cox via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

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