Monday, November 9, 2009

Sierra Club Objects to the Governor’s signing of $11.1 billion Water Bond Boondoggle

SACRAMENTO– Today Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will sign a bill authorizing an $11.1 billion dollar water bond on the ballot in November 2010 for voter approval. The bond is part of a package of water bills passed by the Legislature last week.

While some are calling this a victory, the policy package passed this week is more form than substance. The water package does nothing to reduce water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or provide for reliable and resilient water resources needed to support a healthy California public, environment, and economy.

Sierra Club California Senior Advocate Jim Metropulos today released the following statement in response to Governor Schwarzenegger’s bill signing:

“Today’s action looks like more of the same from Governor Schwarzenegger,” said Sierra Club California Senior Advocate Jim Metropulos. “It’s sad in this day and age that we have to continue to discuss whether expensive, cumbersome dams and canals are the right solution for California’s water troubles. We don't need 19th-century solutions to today's problems.”

“If approved by the voters, the bond would obligate the state to spend over $800 million yearly in annual debt service. That is $800 million less for schools, social services and parks. It’s mind-boggling that the Legislature and the Governor would approve a pork-laden $11 billion general obligation bond as we are facing yet another General Fund shortfall.”

“Two parts of the plan concern me most: a proposed allocation of several billion in continuous appropriation for water storage, and the proposal to spend money on dams that benefit just a few special interests.”

“We can’t justify spending billions on dams that only benefit a few – especially in today’s fiscal climate. Water conservation, water recycling, stormwater recapture and cleaning up polluted groundwater represent faster and more cost-effective ways to fill our water needs”.

“We have a water crisis today. This proposed bond wastes $3 billion on projects that will take decades to build before producing a single drop of water.”

Today’s bill signing is being held at Friant Dam, outside of Fresno. Just last month, water was released below the dam for the first time in 60 years after two decades of ligation over restoring flows to the dry San Joaquin River.


Anonymous said...

If water exports are reduced further then what is your solution for the dire consequences that would create for the rest of California?

You offer no solutions whatsoever! Only more problems.

By only concentrating on water exports you ignore the other huge stressors of the delta. Such as pollution in the form of 1 billion gallons a day of partially treated sewage as well as many other types of pollution. Also the fact that there are 260 invasive or non native species. It seems ridiculous to me that nothing is ever done about these injustices.

Makes me think, where are the real environmentalists? Do you really care about the delta or are just trying to tie up the water resources for the state of California?

I truly believe you are in it to tie up the water not to help repair the delta. When are you going to look at the whole picture?

Sierra Club California said...

Hey Anonymous, Here are our water solutions for California:

There is our look at the whole picture.

We also agree that pollution and non-native species are a problem for the Delta ecosystem.

Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm, yes, if you really agree that pollution and non-native species are a problem for the Delta ecosystem then why are they NOT a part of your "look at the whole picture."

There are lots of rules and efficiencies that everyone needs to follow, but clean up what is ill with the Delta, no, no mention!!

Not one word about cleaning up sewage or non native species. You guys are a joke.

Like I said your solutions are about tying up water resources for California. Where are the real environmentalists?

Sierra Club California said...

Anonymous: the document clearly points out that we support improving water quality statewide. You must have skipped that in your cursory read of the document. Also, the document we referred you to looks at other issues in the Delta, not just water exports.

As stated in our previous comment, non-native species is also a problem for the Delta ecosystem.

Obviously, it is easy for you with your hidden identity to be negative and critical of others. What are your solutions to the problems of the Delta ecosystem?

Anonymous said...

"...non-native species is also a problem for the Delta ecosystem."
How about applying some pressure to the U.S. Department of Fish and Game. Tell them to stop planting Stripped Bass in the Delta. Stripped Bass eat Smelt, yet our own government is stocking the Delta with them! Show your concern for the health of fish populations and fish food chains, and prove you truly seek to improve their environment. Look at factors other than water exports for a change!

Here's another idea: How about forcing municipalities to build treatment facilities for their waste water, or pump it somewhere else besides into the Delta where science has shown fish cannot survive in the high ammonia levels? Want to really improve water quality? Don't let polluted water be dumped in the Delta to begin with. Again, look beyond water exporting.

And about the water bond supposedly taking money for schools: That is merely a scare tactic intended to bring sympathetic readers to your cause. The fact is, without jobs, without people spending, without the associated tax revenues, there is no money for schools. There is no money for police, firemen, or any other city services. Want to see a real life example? Visit Mendota, CA.
A 19th century water conveyance and storage system is what we have now and what we will be forced to live with if we continue to take The Sierra Club's route of studying, debating, obstructing, delaying, and hindering progress. The time for doing nothing has expired.