But first, for the record, this reaction from state Sen. Lois Wolk: “You got it exactly right.”
Now, on to a lashing from Bill Jennings of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance:
“So, the public will now be able to repurchase its own Constitutionally granted water for the enrichment of special interests thereby undercutting the principle of the public trust. And this new water that we’ll purchase back from ourselves at inflated prices, will become “abandoned” in the Delta and be available to exporters for free to make up for BDCP’s shortfall.
“The principle of “beneficiary pays” is out the door, as the dam lobby, which refused to pay for their own dam projects, has now “persuaded” our legislators to pay for their low-yield environmentally destructive dams. And they achieved this without specifying who will own the dams, where the water will come from or conducting environmental review (or in the case of Sites, even a feasibility analysis). And they even got a continuing appropriation so there will be no legislative check should things go south.
“In order to return to low yield, environmental destructive big dam building supply side failures, Brother Brown cut 36% of funds to recycling and groundwater remediation that would create near-term “new” water, promote regional self-sufficiency, create more jobs and reduce dependence on the Delta. But hey, we’re more comfortable with 19th century supply side failures than 21st century demand side strategies.
“The principle that projects should mitigate their adverse impacts is also out the door, as the state and federal projects have now been relieved of having to fully mitigate the enormous damage they’ve already done to the Delta.
“And for a state staggering under $777 billion in debts, where voters have already authorized $128 billion in general fund bonds, we now add another $7 billion that crowds out other critical investments in public schools, public roads, public health and safety and decaying infrastructure.
“But, other than these, and another dozen minor reasons, our fiscally responsible environmentally caring legislators really stood up and protected our interests.”
I don’t want to argue over the dams. They’re dumb. The purchase of water bears closer scrutiny, if only because Jennings and other local environmental champions put the darkest interpretation on it. We need to understand before November if they are right, or whether years of dealing with the state on water have irreperably jaundiced their view of any state water bill. I wouldn’t blame them.