No good arguments for tunnels

June 20, 2013 

The Bee deserves credit for featuring multiple articles in the June 16 Issues & Ideas section about Gov. Jerry Brown's ill-conceived peripheral tunnels plan. While the coverage was balanced, the casual observer will conclude that the arguments against the peripheral tunnels plan far outweigh the narrow, self-serving arguments in favor of it.

In arguing for the plan, Westside Irrigation executive Dan Nelson ignores fishery experts who say that history shows that increased freshwater flows in the delta benefit fish, particularly the all-important salmon. He then hopes to fool the casual reader by saying the state Water Resources Control Board will ensure that delta water quality is protected. That bureaucracy has failed in that important job for years.

Nelson implies that tunnel opponents don't have an alternative for dealing with delta issues. He's wrong again; the alternative approach is reduced exports, levee reinforcement, better fish screens and new local water sources like recycling.

Brown's economically and environmentally disastrous peripheral tunnels plan is little more than a gold-plated rerun of his 1982 peripheral canal boondoggle. When that effort to establish a "Brown legacy" went to the voters in a referendum, the vote in Stanislaus County was 91.4 percent against the peripheral canal.



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