Archive for the ‘Delta & Environment’ Category

Annual Antioch Coastal Cleanup this Saturday, Sept. 16

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Looking for volunteers

The 33rd Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, the state’s largest volunteer event, is going to take place this Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 9 AM to Noon. The Kayak trip will be on Friday, September 15 (Click here for details).

The event is expected to draw more than 70,000 volunteers who will combat marine debris at over 800 locations throughout the state by removing the trash that has accumulated on California’s beaches and inland shorelines over the past year.

Get out there, join the effort in Antioch. There are three locations to choose from: Antioch Marina, Prewett Park and Fulton Shipyard. Select your location when you complete your registration on the City’s website

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4th Annual Kayak Cleanup this Friday, September 15, 2017 at the Antioch waterfront

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

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City of Antioch files second lawsuit against the Delta tunnels project

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Proposed route of the California WaterFix (i.e. Delta Twin Tunnels). From YouTube video on californiawaterfix.com

Claims state in breach of 1968 agreement with City

On August 25, 2017 the City of Antioch filed a second action in the Sacramento Superior Court this month against the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) relating to the proposed California WaterFix Project – e.g. the Delta Twin Tunnel Project. The City previously filed an action challenging the WaterFix Project’s Final Environmental Impact Report. (See video on the WaterFix, here).

In its most recent action, the City contends that DWR breached the 1968 agreement between DWR and Antioch intended to protect the City’s water supply from the impacts of the State Water Project. The 1968 agreement contains a specific provision known as the “me-too” clause requiring DWR to provide Antioch with terms substantially similar to any terms granted to any other agency in the Delta. In 2016, DWR entered into a new agreement with Contra Costa Water District containing terms substantially more favorable than those granted Antioch in its 1968 Agreement. Despite numerous attempts by Antioch to work with DWR to amend the 1968 Agreement, as legally required, DWR has refused to offer Antioch terms similar to those granted to Contra Costa Water District.

Notably, the terms of the 2016 Contra Costa Water District agreement acknowledge the adverse impacts to water quality that will result from the WaterFix Project in the Delta near Antioch. That agreement also directed DWR to “diligently” pursue negotiations with Antioch regarding the adverse impacts of the WaterFix Project – which DWR has failed to do.

Antioch believes that DWR is improperly selecting “winners and losers” with respect to the adverse impacts of the proposed twin tunnels project on municipal water suppliers in the Delta. The City contends that this is exactly the situation that the “me-too” clause in the City’s 1968 Agreement was intended to prevent.

Antioch as a city depends on the Delta for its quality of life, its drinking water supply, recreation and economic future. As one of the largest cities located entirely in the Delta, Antioch has been closely aligned with the protection of the Delta and its restoration. WaterFix and its unmitigated adverse impacts are in conflict with both of these critical goals.

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Antioch files lawsuit challenging Delta tunnels project

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

On August 17, 2017, the City of Antioch filed an action against the California Department of Water Resources challenging the Final Environmental Impact Report for the proposed California WaterFix Project – e.g. the Delta Twin Tunnel Project. The City’s action alleges the Final Environmental Impact Report violates the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

In the action, the City describes some of the significant impacts from the Project to Antioch’s water supply and notes that such impacts remain unmitigated. Among the unmitigated project-related adverse impacts to Antioch are increased salinity levels at Antioch’s intake in the Delta.

The City’s Petition further describes how the WaterFix Project’s proposed operations remain largely undefined, making it difficult to determine the full extent of the impacts from the Project on the Delta. The City further contends that the WaterFix Project violates the dual goals of the Delta Reform Act of 2009 which required projects to reduce reliance on the Delta. Instead, the WaterFix Project, as presently proposed, will allow for the diversion of more water from the Delta including the diversion of much fresher Sacramento River water before it ever flows into the Delta.

Antioch as a city depends on the Delta for its quality of life, its drinking water supply, recreation and economic future. As one of the largest cities located entirely in the Delta, Antioch has been closely aligned with the protection of the Delta and its restoration. WaterFix is in conflict with both of these critical goals.

The City expects to work closely with other public agencies and environmental groups in opposing the Final Environment Impact Report for the WaterFix Project.

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New County Sustainability Commission to help Supervisors make Contra Costa cleaner, healthier

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Includes one Antioch resident; next Mmeting Monday, August 28

The Contra Costa County Sustainability Commission will hold its second meeting on Monday, August 28, 2017, 5-7 p.m., at 30 Muir Road, Martinez. The Board of Supervisors created the Sustainability Commission earlier this year to advise the Board and County staff on how to make Contra Costa County healthier and reduce pollution, important goals of the County’s Climate Action Plan.  The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Thirty-five people applied for the 10 seats on the Sustainability Commission. Given the high level of interest and the opportunity to include more voices, the Board of Supervisors created an additional At-Large seat and allowed each Supervisor to appoint an alternate from his or her district. The 15 members and alternates of the Sustainability Commission appointed to date come from across the County and represent a range of interests and professional experience.  The members include:

Nick Despota, Member, District 1. Nick Despota, a longtime resident of Richmond, has served on numerous commissions and non-profit boards. His professional career has included video production, writing for educational media, and web design. After retiring in 2016, he began volunteering with an environmental organization to develop its online media presence. Nick currently leads the communication team for the Alameda Chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. 

Victoria Smith, Member, District 2. Victoria Smith is the former Mayor of Orinda and longtime City Council Member. Victoria served as Chair of the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority, RecycleSmart, which provides recycling, reuse and garbage services to the cities of Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Walnut Creek, Danville, and central Contra Costa County.  Victoria is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law, and practices real estate law.

Reid Edwards, Alternate, District 2. Reid Edwards is a retired senior public affairs executive who worked for many years on all aspects of energy and environmental issues, both locally and in Washington, D.C. He resides in Lafayette and has lived in Contra Costa County, with short interruptions, since 1963. He currently volunteers with a number of local institutions including White Pony Express and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. 

John Sierra, Member, District 3. John Sierra teaches AP Environmental Science and was the Freedom High School teacher of the year in 2013.  He is actively involved with multiple community organizations and frequently takes his students on adventures near and far including Yosemite and Nicaragua.  John is dedicated to protecting natural resources while creating a healthy living environment for all.

Gretchen Logue, Alternate, District 3. Gretchen Logue is dedicated to community civic engagement, and has a lifelong passion for environmental sustainability.  She is the co-founder of the Tassajara Valley Preservation Association, an organization dedicated to the sustainability of Contra Costa County.  In addition to serving as a board member on the Tassajara Hills Foundation, fundraising for educational programs, this mother of three is also a California Naturalist.

Wes Sullens, Member, District 4. Wes Sullens, LEED Fellow, is the Director of Codes Technical Development at the US Green Building Council.  Prior to joining USGBC, Mr. Sullens worked for a local government agency in Alameda County, California (StopWaste), where he provided green codes advocacy, building and product standards development, and green building policy support. Previous to StopWaste, he was an energy and sustainability consultant at a prominent firm in the US.

Travis Curran, Alternate, District 4. A lifelong environmentalist, Travis Curran has spent the past 11 years working in adult mental health.  The Administrator at Crestwood Healing Center in Pleasant Hill, Travis led a sustainability project that transformed facility practices, saving over 2 million gallons of water, and earning a green certification and multiple green awards in the process.  Travis is passionate about waste reduction, and the preservation and protection of our state and national parks.

Charles Davidson, Member, District 5. Charles was the lead community organizer for MoveOn East Bay during the housing crisis. He then became involved with 350BayArea and helped found the Sunflower Alliance, organizing for climate and environmental justice issues, opposing multiple planned large-scale toxic tar sands refinery expansion projects, and lobbying for Community Choice Energy and a fossil-free and inexpensive clean energy future.  Charles has studied cancer biology and medical physics at the graduate school level and holds a US patent in advanced medical imaging. 

Mark Thomson, Alternate, District 5.  Long-time Martinez resident Mark Thomson is Co-President of the John Muir Association, which works closely with the National Park Service to share the legacy of John Muir.  Mark is also Co-Facilitator of Thousand Friends of Martinez, an organization dedicated to defending parks, creeks, wetlands, open space and historic elements in the Martinez area. Mark has previously volunteered with the Boy Scouts, Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, and other organizations. His professional background is in Information Technology.

Howdy Goudey, At-Large, Community Group.  Howdy Goudey has an Engineering Physics degree from UC Berkeley and has worked for 24 years in the research and development of energy efficient buildings, particularly windows, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has also been a member of the City of El Cerrito Environmental Quality Committee for 9 years, as well as a volunteer with community gardens and native habitat restoration.

Harry Thurston, At-Large, Community Group.   Antioch resident Harry Thurston is committed to furthering sustainable resource usage by Contra Costa County and the municipalities within. He received formal training in sustainable resource usage from Humboldt State University, receiving a BS in Forestry. He put this knowledge into practice as a Peace Corps volunteer, followed by 10 years of Commercial Forestry practice, receiving California certification as a Registered Professional Forester.  Most recently, over the last several years, he has been leading the East Contra Costa effort to implement a Community Choice Energy program for the County’s unincorporated area and for the incorporated municipalities within the County. Harry is a member of the Contra Costa Clean Energy Alliance.

Kathy Cutting, At-Large, Business.  Kathy Cutting is a Bay Area native, settling in Oakley in 1989, where she raised her family.  Over the last 20 years she has enjoyed working as a residential landscape designer promoting sustainable land options for homeowners.  As an alumna of Cal State East Bay, Kathy now works at the University’s Concord Campus, where she is a liaison for all sustainability programs within the Concord campus community. 

Nicholas Snyder, At-Large, Business. Nicholas Snyder is a Senior Analyst at Tierra Resource Consultants, an energy and natural resource consulting firm in Walnut Creek.  Most recently, he has served as a lead on the funding and financing of energy efficiency, renewables, and energy storage.  Before joining Tierra, he interned at Contra Costa County Climate Leaders and the Energy Division of the California Public Utilities Commission, where he supported regulatory oversight of the Energy Watch, Regional Energy Network, and Community Choice Energy programs.

Doria Robinson, At-Large, Environmental Justice.  Doria is third generation resident of Richmond, California and the Executive Director of Urban Tilth, a community based organization rooted in Richmond dedicated to cultivating urban agriculture to help the community build a more sustainable, healthy, and just food system. Doria is trained as a Watershed Restoration Ecologist, and is a Certified Permaculture Designer, Certified Bay Friendly Gardener, a Certified Nutrition Educator, and a Certified Yoga Instructor and the founder of Sanctuary Yoga. She was recognized as Environmental Advocate of the Year for Contra Costa County and as Woman of the Year for Contra Costa County in 2010. In 2011, she was presented with a Community Resiliency Leadership Award from Bay Localize.

Scott Warfe, At-Large, Education.  Scott Warfe is an Assistant Professor of English and Developmental Education Lead at Los Medanos College. In addition to work in the English Department, Scott is also one of the founders of the LMC Food Pantry and volunteers with The Trinity Center, which serves homeless and working poor people in East Contra Costa County. 

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Restore the Delta prepares for litigation after DWR’s filing of WaterFix tunnels NOD

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Stockton, CA – As anticipated, the California Department of Water Resources issued the Notice of Determination (NOD) for CA WaterFix on Friday, July 21.

Executive Director for Restore the Delta Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla issued the following statement:

“We are not surprised that the Notice of Determination has been issued. The Brown Administration will celebrate this document as a type of victory regarding the advancement of CA WaterFix. But it’s not. The EIR and the plan for the tunnels are deeply flawed as the project will not create water supply reliability in a world with increased and prolonged droughts, but perhaps up to 75 years of debt to be paid back by water ratepayers as recently proposed by Goldman Sachs representatives.

“We, other environmental organizations, and other parties in the Delta are preparing for litigation. We will expand our fight in the court of public opinion. We are considering all possible legal and political options to stop the project.”

Supplementary Documents:

FINAL Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program for the California WaterFix

CEQA Findings of Fact and Statement of Overriding Considerations

DWR Notice of Determination Items

DWR Official Press Release

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Frazier: Delta tunnels project must not proceed

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D–Discovery Bay), co-chairman of the California Legislative Delta Caucus, released the following statement Friday, July 21 after reports Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has given the green light to the proposed Delta tunnels project.

“I represent more of the Delta than any other member of the Assembly, and I will do everything in my power to stop this ill-conceived and destructive project,” Frazier stated. “The truth is, ultimately the disaster of an idea called the Delta tunnels would disrupt the Delta economy and significantly burden agricultural production, recreational activities, the natural migratory paths of endangered fish species and legacy communities.  The governor needs to explore real options that communities throughout the Delta can support to achieve the co-equal goals of restoring and protecting the Delta’s habitat, and providing clean and reliable water to Californians.  He must not green light the tunnels plan.”

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Delta tunnels project reaches key milestone as state environmental review is certified

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Clearing another major milestone toward the modernization of the state’s water delivery system, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today certified the environmental analysis of the California WaterFix, also known as the Delta tunnels. Friday’s announcement follows recent federal biological opinions that confirm the project is consistent with environmental and wildlife protection standards.  

“Today, we have reached our next important benchmark in moving California towards a more reliable water supply,” said DWR Acting Director Cindy Messer. “With this certification, our state is now closer to modernizing our aging water delivery system in a way that improves reliability and protects the environment.”

The WaterFix will modernize a 50-year-old water delivery system that is increasingly vulnerable to disruption by natural disaster and climate change. With new intakes along the Sacramento River, the project also would give water project operators the flexibility to divert water at times of high flow when the risk to native fish at the new diversion facilities is minimal, thus better balancing water supply and environmental protection needs.

Friday’s certification comes after more than a decade of analysis, review, and public comment. State and federal water and wildlife agencies have been working since 2006 to find the best way to improve how the State Water Project and Central Valley Project obtain water from the channels of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Together, the projects supply 25 million Californians with some or all of their drinking water supply and help irrigate three million acres of farmland.

The Notice of Determination and decision documents signed by Acting Director Messer approve WaterFix as the proposed project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The project helps ensure stable water supplies for millions of Californians. CEQA requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible. WaterFix Notice of Determination

DWR, which operates the State Water Project, screened more than 100 different proposals before analyzing 18 alternatives in depth in the final 50,000-page Environmental Impact Report (EIR) under CEQA. The combined public comment period on these environmental analyses lasted nearly a year.

The project was refined several times to shrink its footprint, minimize impacts to Delta landowners, and make other changes.

The CEQA certification, Notice of Determination, and decision documents put WaterFix a step closer to construction, which could begin as early as 2018. As both a modern and ambitious infrastructure project, WaterFix will require world-class engineering, efficient construction management, aggressive cost containment, and transparent business operations. 

In addition to the certification, DWR also filed a “validation action” today with the Sacramento County Superior Court to affirm the department’s authority to, among other things, issue revenue bonds to finance the planning, design, construction and other capital costs of California WaterFix. A validation action is necessary to provide assurances to the financial community for the sale of the California WaterFix revenue bonds. 

Meantime, DWR and the federal Bureau of Reclamation have completed a substantial portion of the proceedings before the State Water Resources Control Board to change the point of diversion for the state and federal water projects to allow operation of the WaterFix.

For more information, including fact sheets about project costs, cost allocation, project delivery and environmental benefits, visit www.californiawaterfix.com.

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