EPA: Delta water project tunnels would violate the Clean Water Act

Aug 29, 2014

Federal officials are calling the Delta water tunnel project a violation of the federal Clean Water Act.


Matt Weiser reports for The Sacramento Bee: “In a 43-page letter sent Tuesday to the National Marine Fisheries Service and released publicly on the EPA’s website Thursday, the EPA said its research found that by diverting freshwater from three new intakes proposed on the Sacramento River – farther upstream from existing intakes – the project is likely to increase concentrations of salinity, mercury, bromide, chloride, selenium and pesticides in the estuary.”


“The letter was submitted as part of the formal comment process for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a $25 billion proposal by the state of California to re-engineer water diversions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.”


Bay Area billionaire and environmentalist Tom Steyer says he’s committing $1 million to California’s legislative elections this year.


David Siders reports for The Sacramento Bee: “Steyer, a former hedge fund executive, said he will focus spending on voter registration and turnout operations for Democratic candidates who support environmental causes.”


“”There’s nothing, you know, in our bylaws that I’ve read that says we can’t get involved in D-on-D races, and we have,” Steyer said in an interview with The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board.”


Through heavy handed lobbying and wavering support, a bill to ban plastic bags statewide passed another legislative hurdle yesterday. It now heads back to its house of origin for concurrence.


Scott Detrow reports for KQED: “”Like the UFCW, Garcia seemed hopeful a follow-up measure may emerge next year. “For ourselves, it was the idea this is the first step in what could possibly be multiple steps,” she said, on another dynamic that shifted her from a “no” to a “yes.””


“But promises of “next year” should be taken with a grain of salt at the Capitol. As we’re seeing this week, many major measures don’t pass until the final days of legislative sessions, when deals are being cut and deadlines are looming. A promise to revisit a measure can be reneged as new leaders and stakeholders emerge. Case in point: Padilla, who has spearheaded the bag ban over the last two years, is term-limited  and won’t be around for any follow-up debates.”


In an unprecedented move, Gov. Jerry Brown spoke on the floors of both houses to bid farewell to the departing legislative leaders, John A. Perez and Darrell Steinberg. 


Melanie Mason and Patrick McGreevy report for The Los Angeles Times: “Brown offered to help Perez on his future endeavors. Perez lost his bid for state controller in the June primary election.”


“In the Capitol’s other chamber, Brown offered kind words for outgoing Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who is leaving after six years leading the Senate, for providing leadership on the water bond compromise placed on the November ballot and other crucial measures facing California.”


“"It’s a pleasure to be with somebody who has such a faith in the process,” Brown said.”


State of Jefferson update: Two Northern Californian counties are formally asking lawmakers to vote on their secession to form 51st state.


Juliet Williams reports for The Sacramento Bee: “"We don't need government from a state telling people in a county what to do with their resources and their children's education. You are better equipped to educate your children than the state or federal government," Baird said to applause.”


“Six counties have so far approved plans to pursue secession, either through elected officials or at the ballot box, and supporters plan to submit more petitions in the coming months. Voters in two counties considered the idea in the June primary, with Tehama voters approving secession and Del Norte voters rejecting it.”

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