Contra Costa County, whose leaders have been fending off a peripheral canal for more than three decades, reacted swiftly and negatively to a joint federal-state announcement today of a new Delta water diversion proposal.
“We need science before size,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho, who also sits on the Delta Protection Commission, Delta Conservancy and helped found the Delta County Coalition. “Science should drive the capacity of any project, not the other way around. It is completely unacceptable.”
(ADDED 5:29 P.M. East Bay congressional representatives also blast plan. See full statements below.)
Smaller options must be evaluated, and science and the economic impacts of any pipeline must be more than “considered, as the announcement today said,” Piepho added.
“It’s easy to ‘consider’ something for 3 seconds, then shove it off the table and go back to your primary objective, which is to pipe massive amounts of Delta water into Southern California,” she said.
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff echoed her colleague’s dismay via a text message from Sacramento, where she watched the announcement.
“If people believe what (Gov. Jerry Brown) and (Interior Secretary Ken) Salazar said today, I think there’s still a bridge available for sale,” Mitchoff said. “The plan will sacrifice the interest of one part of the state for the interests of others.”
The county, the Contra Costa Water District and others say the diversion will degrade both the environment and drinking water quality for tens of thousands of East Bay residents. The county board of supervisors formally opposed the plan in early July.
In contrast, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein wholeheartedly endorsed the pact, calling it a “major step toward a real solution in the Sacramento-Delta.” Feinstein led the federal legislation mandating completion of a Bay-Delta Conservation Plan by February 2013. See her press release issued today below.