Monday, April 30, 2007

A Delta Bill: Historic or Forgotten Moment

Among all of the stake holders that are trying to influence the State of California's plans for the Sacramento - San Joaquin River Delta, perhaps the most articulate is Dan Bacher, editor of the Fish Sniffer, a magazine aimed specifically at those who fish. Bacher is also one of the leading progressive voices in the Sacramento area.

In the most recent issue of the Fish Sniffer, Bacher points out a lot about what is wrong with the manner in which we make decisions about the future of the Delta, and through that process, about the future of California. The focus is specifically on SB 27, a bill introduced by State Sen. Joe Simitian (D. Palo Alto) as a vehicle for sorting out what should be done. Simitian talked to the Fish Sniffer.
“The Delta is going to hell in a hand basket,” said Simitian. “A precious resource is at risk. Twenty-three million Californians are understandably concerned about the security and quality of their water. And Northern Californians continue to worry about how much of 'their water,' as they think of it, will be shipped to other parts of the state.”
This bill would force the Department of Water Resources to pick one of 5 scenarios for the future of the Delta as specified in the special report from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). However, in both the PPIC Study and the current Schwarzenegger backed Delta Vision Process, there are multiple constituencies without a voice. Bacher reports from the first hearing.
Gary Adams, president of the California Striped Bass Association, was concerned that the people most impacted by the Delta food chain crash - recreational anglers and Delta residents - would not be listened to in the process for the implementation of this bill, just as they have been marginalized in the Governor's controversial “Delta Vision” process.
On May 2, Restore the Delta will be holding a "Health Delta Communities" event. This is an effort to make all of us aware of just what is at stake. This event has received funding in the name of the Green Party of California. I would hope that we all pay attention to it. Bacher is just one of the panel of experts who will participate in this event.

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