The controversial Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that proposes to construct two 35-mile long tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to divert Sacramento River water to agricultural plantations in the deserts of southern California was placed on life support following the USEPA’s scathing 43-page comment letter on the BDCP’s draft EIR/EIS. DWR announced that a revised EIR/EIS would be delayed until sometime in 2015. BDCP’s friends and family anxiously expressed hope that an infusion of additional millions of dollars and months of treatment would enable the project to recover.
However, the EPA comments coming on top of some 4,500 pages of searing reviews by municipalities, counties and water agencies that would be adversely impacted by the project, almost 2,000 pages of highly critical comments by environmental and fishing organizations, hundreds of pages of harsh analyses by government agencies and stinging comments from many thousands of California citizens reveal that BDCP is suffering from a congenital terminal illness. Additional delay is unlikely to improve BDCP’s prospects for survival.
CSPA Executive Director Bill Jennings observed, “BDCP was doomed from the beginning because it was conceived on the fatal premise that you can restore an estuary hemorrhaging from a lack of flow by depriving it of another 2.5 million acre-feet of flow.” “Its two goals are fundamentally inconsistent and spending additional millions to rewrite the EIR/EIS on top the quarter billion dollars already squandered on this project will not improve its life expectancy,” he said, adding “its time to pull the plug, put an end to the suffering and get on with addressing California’s real water problems.”