Has Brown Administration Cancelled Cost-Benefit Analysis of Peripheral Tunnels?
No Cost-Benefit Analysis of No-Tunnels Alternative; Hiding the Cost so Taxpayers Won’t Know What They’ll Pay, What They’ll Get in Return?
By Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Campaign Director, Restore the Delta
SACRAMENTO, CA – Restore the Delta (RTD), a coalition opposed to the Brown Administration’s rush to construct massive Peripheral Tunnels to take millions of acre-feet of water from the Delta, today said the Brown Administration appears to have canceled a comprehensive benefit-cost analysis of its BDCP proposal for Peripheral Tunnels to export Sacramento -San Joaquin/San Francisco Bay-Delta water, mainly to benefit unsustainable mega-farms on the west side of the Central Valley. The decision to hide the total costs from public scrutiny once again reveals how the Brown Administration is continuing to doctor up the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a fatally flawed plan, in order to sell it as something that it’s not to Californians.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta said, “In refusing to conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the Peripheral Tunnels, the Brown Administration is not following the guidelines established by its own agencies. In its rush to build a project that would exterminate salmon runs, destroy sustainable family farms and saddle taxpayers with tens of billions in debt, mainly to benefit a small number of huge corporate agribusinesses on the west side of the Central Valley, the Administration has yet to complete a valid cost-benefit analysis of its Tunnels and seriously examine a no-tunnels solution. It’s little wonder the Brown Administration is backing away from a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. The only one done to date showed the costs were $7 billion short of the costs.”
Univ. of the Pacific economist Dr. Jeffrey Michael noticed the change and reported it on his blog. The Administration had contracted with the Brattle Group to perform a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the BDCP. The Brown Administration is rigging analysis of the proposal by refusing to include a no-tunnels alternative, and excluding some costs that would fall on water ratepayers. Now, they have backed away from a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis and plan to dump partial and incomplete studies on the public. How many water ratepayers will examine 6 partial studies and synthesize their results into a full picture of who pays how much and who benefits how much? They are counting on no one doing that analysis – one that is their duty and obligation to conduct.
“This project will cost billions upon billions of dollars to give ever-increasing amounts of taxpayer and ratepayer subsidized water to corporate agriculture and real estate developers to make millions upon millions in profits. California will not go dry without these tunnels. There are no guarantees that southern California residents will even receive more water,” said Barrigan-Parrilla.
Barrigan-Parrilla said the Brown Administration doesn’t want the true cost of the project known, “The ‘tunnels’ represent more than simply a transfer of good quality water around the Delta. They also represent the largest transfer of private wealth in our history.”
The common people will pay for the tunnels and a few people will make millions. It will turn a Delta waterway, already in crisis, into a sewer pipe. It will be bad for the fish, the ocean and the people of California.
“BDCP is still not considering any alternatives for meeting the coequal goals except the peripheral tunnels, although there are several that could be evaluated,” added Barrigan-Parrilla.
However, in a letter to State Legislators from California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird, “The alternative of a 3,000 cubic feet per second Delta conveyance – which the Portfolio-Based Conceptual Alternative calls for – will be studied in this process. As with all 15 alternatives that we are studying in this EIR process, it will be evaluated against the co-equal goals, as well as other goals including reliability in the face of an extreme event.”
The eight-point alternative being pushed by Congressman George Miller, who represents part of Antioch in the U.S. House of Representatives, which can be read by clicking here, includes the 3,000 cfs Delta conveyance, instead of the two-tunnel plan which will move 9,000 cfs.