Brown and Trump administrations announce water agreement that will destroy fisheries and Bay-Delta

By Dan Bacher | December 17, 2018 |

As Jerry Brown gets ready to leave the Governor’s Office in January, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced Thursday that they and the Bureau of Reclamation reached an agreement  on updating how the State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Water Project (CVP) are operated “to meet environmental regulations,” reported first here on the Daily Kos (
Fishermen, conservationists, Tribal leaders, environmental justice advocates, Delta residents and family farmers see the deal as one that benefits corporate agribusiness interests in the San Joaquin Valley at the expense of fishing communities, Tribes, Delta farmers and the public trust.
“The state and federal projects are intertwined, and we have a joint interest and responsibility to ensure our water system meets California’s needs especially as conditions change,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth in a statement.
DWR and the Bureau also signed an agreement to formalize the cost-sharing formula for projects needed to meet joint responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). “The new agreement calls for costs to be shared equitably between the state and federal projects for work to meet joint responsibilities under the ESA, including monitoring and habitat restoration,” according to DWR.  
The cost-sharing agreement, signed by Nemeth for DWR and Michael Ryan, Regional Director of the Bureau of Reclamation for the Trump administration, can be found here.
Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler reported on the agreements on Saturday in the Sacramento Bee in an article entitled, “California cedes water to feds in Delta deal with Trump.”
“Southern Californians could lose billions of gallons of water a year to Central Valley farmers under a deal Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has struck with water officials working for President Donald Trump,” they wrote. Click here for the full article.
“There’s no guarantee the agreement with Trump will accomplish what Brown’s team is seeking: a lasting compromise on environmental regulations that could stave off significant water shortfalls for farms and cities across California. A powerful state agency, the State Water Resources Control Board, hasn’t yet signed off on Brown’s compromise environmental proposal. Environmental groups have called the governor’s idea woefully insufficient to save ailing fish population,” according to the Bee.
“Brown’s administration also made a separate concession to the Trump administration on the governor’s controversial Delta tunnels project, to the dismay of environmental groups that oppose the tunnels,” the Bee said.
California Department of Water Resources spokeswoman Erin Mellon also said, “The Brown administration gave federal officials a ‘no-harm agreement’ that says the Central Valley Projects customers won’t lose any water if the Delta tunnels are built.”
She elaborated that if CVP customers were to lose water, they would be compensated with cash, or some other water.
According to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, “the irony in the Sacramento Bee story is that Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth describes this deal as not a quid pro quo, when that is exactly what it is.  Similarly, Metropolitan Water District’s General Jeff Kightlinger ‘defended the horse-trading’ and increased water exports to industrial agriculture saying the compromise on environmental regulations is needed.”
“Governor Brown is giving the Trump Administration domain over California’s rivers, the Bay-Delta estuary, fish and wildlife, drinking water systems for millions of people, and the state’s water rights system, all for his boondoggle Delta tunnels project,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “While President Trump is under investigation for betraying his office, Governor Brown is betraying California’s people, environment, and sustainable water future. This is who Governor Brown has chosen to do business with, instead of the impacted parties of his horse trade.”
“This isn’t an enduring environmental legacy. It is Governor Brown’s desperate, yet dangerous swan song for California, aided and abetted by California’s Department of Water Resources and Metropolitan Water Districts of Southern California, the largest landowner in the Delta.  It is an attempted water coup, nothing less,” concluded Barrigan-Parrilla.
I have been one of the few writers who has consistently and truthfully reported on the environmental legacy of Governor Jerry Brown since he entered his fourth term in 2011.
It’s not just about the Delta Tunnels or fracking. Brown’s real "environmental" legacy includes 21,000 new oil and gas drilling permits, Delta smelt on the brink of extinction (if not extinct in the wild), struggling winter and spring chinook runs, deal after deal with the Trump administration, including the exemption of California oil fields from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the worst air pollution in the nation right here in the Central Valley, record water exports out of the Delta and record Delta fish kills (Sacramento splittail), pollution trading, clearcutting forests, fake habitat restoration like at the Ballona Wetlands in Southern California, Proposition 1, the Delta Tunnels scam and the Brown Water Plan, the SoCal Gas Blowout... and the list goes on and on and on.
Brown’s main claim to fame, his "climate leadership," consists of grandstanding at international climate conferences about unenforceable agreements largely based on pollution trading that benefits oil and gas companies and the corporate elite. Brown has also “denounced” the Trump administration for their proposal to open offshore drilling leases in federal waters (over 3 miles from shore) off California. 
However, the Governor's Office press releases and many compliant media have neglected to mention that Brown’s oil and gas regulators, at the same time that Brown portrays himself as an “opponent” of offshore drilling, approved 238 NEW offshore oil wells in state waters under existing leases off Los Angeles and Ventura counties from 2012 to 2016. That’s an increase of 17 percent, according to data released in a report issued by Fractracker Alliance in February 2017. To read the complete report, go to:… 
It gets worse. On June 20 of this year, Consumer Watchdog launched a web site that allows you to compare California offshore wells under the control of Governor Jerry Brown and President Donald Trump. The numbers are stunning.
“Brown has called Trump’s federal offshore oil drilling short-sighed and reckless, but the site — — shows Brown controls four times more oil wells in state waters than those Trump controls in federal waters,” according to Liza Tucker, consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog.
We need to put political pressure Governor-Elect Gavin Newson to make sure that he does the right thing and breaks with the many bad environmental policies of Jerry Brown.

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