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Angry crowd assails BDCP at Stockton meeting over peripheral canal

By Bill Jennings, Executive Director, CSPA
March 25, 2009 -- Tuesday night, more than 120 people joined CSPA, environmentalists and Delta water agencies and farmers to vent their frustration at Resource Secretary Mike Chrisman and DWR Deputy Director Jerry Johns at a meeting over the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan and the proposal to construct a peripheral canal around the estuary.  Comments ripping the proposed plan were met with cheers and applause.  The crowd broke into riotous laughter when Jerry Johns replied that “we are a system of laws” in response to Dante Nomellini Jr's question of what assurances he would give that only surplus water would be diverted into the canal.

CSPA Executive Director Bill Jennings observed that the “BDCP was essentially a massive water project masquerading as a Habitat Conservation Plan to circumvent the Endangered Species Act” and characterized it as “simply an illegal scheme to allow those in the South Valley, who hold junior water rights to surplus water - water they understood would not be available in certain years - to take precedence over the senior water rights and the public trust needs of Northern California.” 

The Stockton meeting was the eleventh of on scoping meetings scheduled to hear comments on the proposed Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan.  The present round of scoping meetings follows similar scoping sessions last year.  CSPA provided technical and legal comments in those meetings and will be submitting additional written comments in this second round of scoping hearings. 

The draft EIR/EIS is scheduled to be released this summer followed by another round of pubic comment.  The final EIR/EIS will be released early-to-mid 2010, with a Record of Decision later that year.

CSPA Comments BDCP Stockton