News Feature | May 9, 2017

California Courts Trump For Drought-Stemming Tunnel Project

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

donald reg new

California Governor Jerry Brown is lobbying the Trump administration on a massive water project he hopes to implement in his state.

The fate of the controversial twin-tunnels project in California appears to rest in the hands of the Trump administration.

“Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, President Donald Trump’s chief land manager with control over vast amounts of the United States, met with Gov. Jerry Brown [in April],” discussing the Delta tunnel project, among other issues, according to The Sacramento Bee.

“We had a great conversation where we agreed to work together across the board: environment, parks, water reclamation,” Zinke said, per the report.

Zinke does not have an official position on the tunnels, the report said.

Brown spokesman Evan Westrup called the conversation “very cordial, and there was a real recognition that California and the federal government are deeply interconnected when it comes to land and water management. We’ll continue to look for areas to work together.”

In a nutshell, here is Brown’s proposed tunnel plan: “He wants a handful of California water districts to build the twin, 35-mile-long water tunnels to pipe Northern California's water to Central and Southern California. The Obama administration also has supported the project,” the Associated Press previously reported.

An effort by the Obama administration attempted to “nudge forward” the tunnel proposal, according to the Associated Press. In a secretarial order, former U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell effectively sped up the timeline for reviewing the project, news reports said.

Some environmental and wildlife advocates oppose the proposed tunnels project.

“Delta and public trust advocates fear that Jerry Brown, who portrays himself as a ‘green governor,’ will try to make a deal with Zinke and other Trump administration officials to expedite the construction of” the Delta Tunnels, Indy Bay reported.

Project opponents say the tunnels would harm the “Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, other fish and wildlife species, and water quality,” the report said.

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Source Water Scarcity Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Donald Trump," Gage Skidmore © 2014, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/