Last week, a bipartisan group of House Members from northern California and the Central Valley wrote a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking for the State to extend the current public comment period on the latest plan to reconstruct the Bay Delta water hub. The State released the new Bay Delta plan in May, and has already extended the public comment period once, from August 31, 2015 to October 30, 2015.
The Bay Delta plan, now called the California Water Fix, is no longer seeking the status of a federal Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and State Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP) and therefore the revised project eliminates the restoration of about 100,000 acres of habitat for fish and other species, part of the State's commitment to "co-equal goals" of water supply reliability and environmental protection. The new version reduces the habitat restoration under the plan to 2,100 acres to mitigate for the construction and operation of the new water facilities.
In the letter to Governor Brown the lawmakers wrote that the plan to tunnel underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to reroute water deliveries around endangered fish is too complex to evaluate by the end of October. The letter focused on the size and complexity of the documents. This letter is the first time Republican House Members who represent the Central Valley have expressed written reservations about the plan.
Also sent to the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, the letter was signed by Reps. Jeff Denham (R), John Garamendi (D), Doug LaMalfa (R), Jared Huffman (D), Tom McClintock (R), Mike Thompson (D), Doris Matsui (D), Ami Bera (D), Jerry McNerney (D), Mark DeSaulnier (D) and Eric Swalwell (D). The letter can be accessed here.