Friday, October 30, 2009

Monday legislative session scarier than Halloween

I don't normally repeat something without a lot of comment.  However, I just received this alert from Restore the Delta tonight and vote on water bills may take place Monday.  This alert is not yet up on Restore the Delta Site.  At least, having it here, I can refer to it from twitter, etc.  BTW.  I checked the facts on the bills and RTD is absolutely correct.  The comparison to CalFed is one that I have also made and everyone calls CalFed a failure.  We don't need another.
Call Your Assembly Member and State Senator Today
After two incomplete hearings in which the majority of the proposed 14 bills covering Delta legislation were not publicly vetted (or later ammendments) , Restore the Delta has learned that the State Assembly and Senate may be calling for votes on the Delta water package and Delta water bonds on Monday, November 2, 2009.
We need you to call your Assembly and Senate Representatives first thing Monday morning to express your opposition to the proposed legislation.  (You can look up their phone numbers this weekend and call them on your way to work Monday). 
Here  are 10 reasons why your representative should oppose the Steingberg Water Package, and all its potential ancillary bills, as well as the bond proposals.
1) The purported environmental benefits in SB x7 1 and SBx7 4 hinge on unfunded programs and unstaffed planning processes. There is no identified funding for the Delta Conservancy or the Delta Protection Council.  Without identified funding, the restoration projects and consistency processes intended for Delta health will fall
behind the construction of facilities in the Delta paid for by beneficiaries. This repeats a cornerstone failure of CalFed. This creates a real risk of the infrastructure and water supply projects proceeding without environmental gains.

2)There is no assurance that a permit for any future Delta facility will accommodate the instream flow needs of fish. Public trust criteria are not proven tool for ensuring dedicated water for the environment  Experienced water lawyers disagree whether the creation of public trust criteria compel the State Board to base apermit for a future Delta project on the public trust.
3)The bond allows public funds to be spent on required mitigation or necessary compliance with environmental regulation. Existing law requires beneficiaries to pay for those activities. This is a massive cost shift to taxpayers.
4) The Delta Stewardship Council holds no fee authority to carry out its mandate. Delta communities, most impacted by this legislation, would not have adequate representation.
 5)The Delta Plan is not required to reduce state dependence on the Delta. The objectives for the Delta Plan do not include reducing state reliance on Delta exports. SB x7 1 only states that it's an intent of the state to reduce dependency.

6) The bill lacks sufficient oversight of the BDCP. The Council lacks the authority to ensure the project does not cause greater harm to the fragile Delta ecosystem.

7) One-third ($3 billion) of the SB 7x 2 funds above-ground storage, which is the least efficient way to increase water supplies.
8) Less than 3% of the funds in the bond would be dedicated to disadvantaged communities most in need of safe drinking water.
9)  The proposed water conservation package lacks the enforceable goals needed to achieve 20% conservation by 2020.
10) A $9 billion bond will cost  taxpayers about $600 million a year for 30 years. The state's debt service on bonds already authorized by the voters will grow to about 10% of the state's budget and will contribute to more state funding cuts for public safety, health, education, and environmental protection have been slashed to the bone.  And the Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that the state will see $10 to $15 billion deficits each year until 2014.  Even if a bond is delayed until 2015, we will just be at the beginning of financial recover and should not be piling up more debt.
There is one bill they should vote for however!
Delta Area Assembly Member Alsyon Huber, along with co-sponsor Senator Lois Wolk, have introduced AB 13 7x.  This bill would require lawmakers to sign off on any canal, and it would require the Legislature's nonpartisan fiscal adviser, the Legislative Analyst, to put together an economic feasibility study of the potential project.   We commend Assembly Member Huber and Senator Wolk for pulling this piece of legislation together.
Tell your representatives to support AB 13 7x.


Lisa said...

Thanks, Wes. I just left a voice message for Speaker Karen Bass.

Lisa T

Wes said...

Thanks, Lisa. Now we need 5 of your friends to do the same. Aquafornia is still suggesting a possible vote today.