Will major scandal at Metropolitan Water District save Delta communities from the tunnel?

By Scott Thomas Anderson | March 2, 2021 | Sacramento News and Review

Metropolitan Water District, the driving financial and political force behind the proposed Delta tunnel, has suddenly found itself on the verge of losing one of its most important customers – the City of Los Angeles. The possibility of a break between California’s largest city and its largest water contractor comes after a host of women and members of the LGBTQ community said they were victims of sexual harassment, intimidation and retaliation while working for the latter.

The revelation has drawn MWD into a new arena of fire, one that’s separate from its ongoing standoff with conservationists, indigenous tribes, regional farmers, tax watchdogs and Northern California’s fishing industry about the future of the Delta.

“…There’s a real sense of imperialism with Met when it comes to how they treat the Delta communities, and now it seems like that’s something that might carry through to other aspects of its organization,” said Osha Meserve, an attorney who represents the Delta’s reclamation districts. “This could be really destabilizing for the tunnel project. There’s significant potential for LA to be a leader in coming up with some minimum standards for what kind of agency they want to get water from. If Met doesn’t share their values, whether it’s the treatment of women or destroying the environment, then they should step away.”

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ECOS/Habitat 2020 Concerns with Latest Delta Tunnel Plan

On April 17, 2020, the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and Habitat 2020 submitted our comments, under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), on the latest iteration of the Delta Conveyance Project.

Our concerns include the following:

  • Project needs to be defined clearly
  • Appropriate alternatives must be considered for the project as a whole
  • Appropriate Alternatives must be considered for infrastructure components
  • Impact of mechanically assisted flows in the tunnels need to be analyzed
  • Analysis needs to assume that all Reusable Tunnel Material (RTM) will need to be disposed, rather than repurposed
  • Accurate transportation impacts must be provided
  • Impacts to Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge need to be avoided
  • The full impacts of transmission lines need to be included
  • Transmission line strikes need to be analyzed for foraging Sandhill Cranes

Click here to read our letter in full.

Photo above by Osha Meserve

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