Comment deadline for Delta water tunnel project extended by 60 days

02/21/2014 12:31 PM

10/08/2014 11:38 AM

Critics of the $25 billion water tunnel project proposed in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have complained there isn’t enough time to review the 34,000 pages that describe the project. Now they have an additional 60 days to do so.

On Friday, the California Natural Resources Agency announced that the public comment period for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan will be extended 60 days to June 13. Agency Secretary John Laird said the move is consistent with “our continued effort of transparency.”

The project, supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, aims to build two giant tunnels to divert a portion of Sacramento River flows out of the Delta and directly to existing state and federal water export pumps near Tracy. It also includes 100,000 acres of habitat restoration in the Delta. The state and its water contractor are seeking a 50-year permit to operate the tunnels under terms of the Endangered Species Act.

The comment period pertains to both the plan itself and an accompanying environmental impact study, both released in draft form in December after seven years of work. Groups tracking the project expressed some relief, saying that analyzing the proposal represents a significant analytical burden.

“A project with a 50-year permit deserves very close scrutiny over an adequate amount of time,” said Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, who has been critical of the project.

For more information on the project, and to obtain copies of the documents, call (866) 924-9955 or visit: www.baydeltaconservationplan.com.

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