Delta Plan blocked in court: "quagmire of regulatory delays" to follow

Submitted: Jul 01, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Most notably, Kenny said the plan fails “to promote options for water conveyance and storage systems” in the Delta other than presuming the tunnels project is built. Kenny also found that the plan failed to “include quantified or otherwise measurable targets associated with achieving reduced Delta reliance” for the state’s water supply. -- Ryan Sabalow, Sacramento Bee, June 24, 2016

 

 

 

 

6-24-16

Sacramento Bee

Judge invalidates long-fought Delta management plan

Court says plan must be ‘set aside’ until deficiencies are fixed

The ruling adds another hurdle for controversial Delta tunnels project

State plans to appeal

By Ryan Sabalow

http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/delta/article85824647.html

In a decision that could delay or complicate Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two huge tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a comprehensive management plan for the estuary is no longer valid.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny ruled that the entire Delta Plan must be “set aside” until deficiencies he noted in an earlier ruling are fixed. State officials say they plan to appeal.

The ruling is significant for a couple of key reasons. For one, in order for the Brown administration to build the tunnels, state officials will have to prove that the project complies with the recommendations laid out in the Delta Plan for managing land use and water exports in the fragile estuary. With the plan in flux and an appeals process underway, the already lengthy approval process for the tunnels could face significant delays.

The ruling also could hinder habitat restoration work and development protections that the plan calls for to shore up the Delta’s declining ecosystem, said Keith Coolidge, a spokesman for the Delta Stewardship Council, the state agency whose members were tasked by a 2009 law with crafting a legally enforceable vision for the estuary.

 “The Delta remains in crisis, and now isn’t the time to set aside the state’s only comprehensive management plan,” Coolidge said in a prepared statement.

The Delta Stewardship Council approved its plan in 2013, with the aim of resolving decades of conflict among environmentalists, farmers, anglers and south-of-Delta water agencies over how the estuary should be developed and how much water could be exported from its channels.

A key requirement of the legislation that authorized the Delta Plan is that it balance the “co-equal goals” of protecting the rich Delta environment and ensuring stable freshwater supplies for the south state – seemingly contradictory demands that have defined the state’s water battles for decades.

Instead, the Delta Plan was met with a flurry of lawsuits reflecting objections from virtually all of the competing interests that depend on Delta water. Environmental groups argued the plan lacks the teeth to force a reduction in reliance on Delta water. The south-of-Delta agencies that rely on that exported water, meanwhile, said the plan failed to meet the requirement for stabilizing supplies.

Friday’s ruling came a month after Kenny dismissed most of those challenges. In a complex 73-page ruling issued in May, he denied most of the legal claims. But he did side with environmentalists on some central issues.

Most notably, Kenny said the plan fails “to promote options for water conveyance and storage systems” in the Delta other than presuming the tunnels project is built. Kenny also found that the plan failed to “include quantified or otherwise measurable targets associated with achieving reduced Delta reliance” for the state’s water supply.

Coolidge said the council already has been working to address those issues, and that Kenny’s decision to invalidate the entire plan – including the portions found to be without problems – was disappointing.

For their part, opponents to the state’s tunnels plan said the ruling marks a victory in their push to stop the $15.5 billion project. Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, said Kenny’s rulings, taken together, will result in a quagmire of regulatory delays that could ultimately sink the tunnels plan.

“I think it likely pushes this out for years,” he said. “And Brown won’t be in office.”

 

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Urban water districts not to save water this year

Submitted: Jul 01, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 6-27-16

Orange County Register

How much water are top California suppliers committing to save this year? Zilch

By Kurtis Alexander / San Francisco Chronicle

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Cookie globalization: taking the low road of NAFTA

Submitted: Jun 29, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Rosenfeld also moved the firm's Oreo factory from suburban Chicago to a newer plant in Mexico, which workers protested. When asked by an employee at a recent shareholders' meeting what he should tell his child, she replied in part: "Explain...that business decisions are often difficult." For the first time, Mondēlez shares broke $40. -- Forbes, 100 Most Powerful Women, 2016 Ranking.

 

 

 

6-22-16

 

 

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West side pitchfork raised against Westlands' Birmingham

Submitted: Jun 25, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The modest author of this letter of proper west side condemnation of Tom Birmingham, general manager of Westlands Water District, claims he is one of the smaller farmers in the district and doesn't "wield much power." But Brad Gleason seems to be a little more than his modest claim. He seems to be a totally vertically integrated nut businessman operating on many farms throughout the Westlands district.

Brad Gleason

President

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Trumpish foreign policy

Submitted: Jun 24, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

For the Donald, foreign policy is a real estate deal by other means. -- blj 

 

 

6-24-16

The Rachel Maddow Show

Trump baffles with bizarre appearance in Scotland

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UC Merced PPC

Submitted: Jun 19, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The University of California, Merced, this week announced a $1.1-billion expansion program, confusing once again its edifice complex with an educational complex.

UC Merced appears to thrive despite its disreputable beginnings squatting on a three-legged stool. One leg was a land deal; another an outsized political boondoggle (a very thick leg indeed); and the third leg was composed of a pile of resource-agency officials that corrupted state and federal environmental law and regulation.  

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Water graft

Submitted: Jun 15, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

graft2

[graft, grahft] 

 

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The $420-million Question? Part 2.

Submitted: Jun 12, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

Part 1 of the $420-million Question can be found on Badlands Journal on June 1. At that time, the City of Merced's new General Manager, Steve Carrigan, was likened to a Pit bull, drooling at the mouth to take a bite out of Merced County CEO, Jim Brown because the County was not rolling over for the combined wishes of UC Merced, landowners and the City to annex about 650 acres along the Bellevue Road approach to the UC campus.  Carrigan was only prevented from mauling Brown, so the urban narrative went, by the Chihuahua behind him, Assistant General Manager Mike Conway.

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Notes on the primary election in Merced County, June 7, 2016

Submitted: Jun 08, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Merced primary 2016 notes, all 266 precincts reporting, June 8, 2016

Voter turnout: of the 92,660 eligible voters, 23,974 voted -- 25.87 percent.

For this June primary, there were 13,101 registered Democrats, 8,996 registered Republicans, and the next largest number, 1,090, identify themselves as No Party Preference voters.

In the Democratic Party presidential primary, 7,169 (56.53 percent) voted for Hillary Clinton; 5,190 (40.92 percent) voted for Bernie Sanders. The state tally was 55.8 percent for Clinton; 43.2 percent for Sanders.

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A curious item for consent

Submitted: Jun 06, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 We were curious about this item on the Merced City Council's June 6 Consent Agenda. We are referring to Item H.10, File # 16-219 on the Merced City Council Agenda for June 6, 2016.  You can see it here, among its brethren consent-agenda items: 

https://cityofmerced.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=401572&GUID=C362BC74-808F-4FCA-9D60-716BF1AD2161&Options=info&Search=

What is the "First Amendment to Scope of Services?"

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