New Map Reveals Tunnels Will Supply Water For Agribusiness, Fracking

By Dan Bacher | March 5, 2014 | Much of the area that the oil industry could frack for oil and natural gas in California is located...

By Dan Bacher | March 5, 2014 |

Much of the area that the oil industry could frack for oil and natural gas in California is located in and near toxic, drainage-impaired land farmed by corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Restore the Delta and Food and Water Watch revealed on March 4. (The map can be viewed here. )

The groups, who oppose Governor Jerry Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, released a new map that shows that 35-mile long twin tunnels would mainly supply water to the largest agribusiness users of Delta water exports, land impaired by toxic selenium concentrations that make farming unsustainable, and the oil and gas basins where the energy industry could expand the environmentally destructive practice of fracking (hydraulic fracturing). 
The map was released at a time when Governor Brown is fast-tracking the construction of the peripheral tunnels and backing the fracking of California. In September, Brown signed Senate Fran Pavley’s Senate Bill 4, legislation that anti-fracking opponents say gives the green light to fracking in California. 

Before Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 4, Brown accepted at least $2.49 million in financial donations over the past several years from oil and natural gas interests, according to public records on file with the Secretary of State’s Office and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. 

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta (RTD), told reporters in a teleconference the significance behind the map. 

“This map shows a remarkable overlay of where our water is going, how the public subsidizes unsustainable crops on drainage-impaired lands, selenium concentrations that pose a threat to the public, and underlying oil deposits that could be fracked with water from the governor’s tunnels," she said. “Unsustainable farming has damaged these lands. And the taxpayers have been subsidizing it.” 

“The fracking sites line up perfectly in the Valley with where the governor wants to export this water,” added Steve Hopcraft, a spokesman for Restore the Delta. 

Barrigan-Parrilla said fracking is another “water intensive industry” in the San Joaquin Valley that will further contaminate groundwater supplies already impaired by selenium, nitrates, pesticides and other pollutants. 
 
“The governor's plan describes water for fracking via the proposed peripheral tunnels as a beneficial use,” she stated, referring to the BDCP website. “Beneficial for whom? The peripheral tunnels would benefit unsustainable corporate agribusiness in one region and potentially the energy industry – at the expense of everyday Californians.” 

Barrigan-Parrilla said the map shows the largest agricultural users of water exported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta "all are irrigating land impaired by concentrations of selenium that will make farming increasingly unsustainable. These drainage-impaired lands, however, sit on top of oil and gas basins that underlie the San Joaquin Valley.” 

“The $60 billion tunnel project will not benefit the SF-Bay Delta estuary, or its surrounding communities and urban areas. It will not benefit San Joaquin farming communities that do not have access to clean drinking water. And it will not benefit urban ratepayers within the Metropolitan Water District or the Santa Clara Water District, as they will pay for a disproportionate share of the tunnels project,” she stated. 

She also said methods of energy extraction, including fracking and steam extraction, require “significant quantities of water and produce contaminated water, which would further render San Joaquin Valley groundwater basins unusable for farm community residents who already do not have access to clean drinking water.“ 

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Anonymous said...

Then we can take the high sped rail to see all this "scenery". Sort of like the wine train in Napa, but here it will be called the Frack Express!

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