By Dan Bacher
The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has just released the results of a statewide survey revealing that a “slim majority” of likely voters, 51 percent, would support the $11.1 billion water bond.
The survey, “Californians and the Environment,” also indicated that support for a lower bond amount is slightly higher. The bond has been postponed twice so far, first in 2010 and then in 2012, because lack of voter support.
The poll was published as California Legislature continues to discuss downsizing a controversial $11.1 billion state bond for water projects that is currently on the November ballot. The measure was authorized by the water policy/water bond package of 2009 that creates a clear path to the construction of the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The PPIC poll asked how would residents vote on the measure with a price tag of $11.1 billion.
“A majority (61%) would vote yes (22% no), as would about half of likely voters (51% yes, 26% no),” according to PPIC. “When those who would vote no are asked how they would vote if the bond were a smaller amount, support increases by 8 points for both adults (69% yes, 14% no) and likely voters (59% yes, 18% no).”
“Asked how important it is that voters pass the state water bond, 46 percent say it is very important and 30 percent say it is somewhat important (likely voters: 44% very important, 24% somewhat important),” PPIC stated.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, responded to the PPIC water bond poll by stating, “The water bond is hanging by a thread, at just 1% over the minimum majority. That is a terribly weak position for any measure that would costs Californians billions of dollars.”
“Again, we urge the governor and legislature to include NO funding for mitigation of the damage the governor’s water tunnels would cause. If there is back door Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) funding in a water bond, we will cut the thin thread of support with a strong opposition campaign,” she noted.
“We have plenty of water-producing projects that we can all agree on. Put this in the bond and let’s move forward on sustainable water policies that benefit all of us,” Barrigan-Parrilla added.
On July 3, State Senator Lois Wolk reintroduced a revised Senate Bill 848, responding to requests by Governor Jerry Brown for a more scaled-down bond.
The bill is set at $7.5 billion, $3 billion less than her previous $10.5 billion bond measure, but $1.5 billion more than the $6 billion bond that Governor Jerry Brown outlined in a series of private conversations with legislators after Wolk’s previous bond failed to get the necessary two-thirds supermajority vote to move it forward.
The legislature is currently in recess, but Senator Darrell Steinberg vowed that “we intend to come back in August and do our very best to get this done.”
The PPIC poll also disclosed that 54 percent of adults oppose more fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in California, while 53 percent oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline. In addition, the poll said Californians are divided on cap-and-trade polices, while the majority favor a carbon tax.
BDCP background: Governor Jerrry Brown’s Bay Delta Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels won’t create one drop of new water, but the project will lead to horrendous environmental degradation, according to tunnel critics. The construction of the tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.
Restore the Delta and other BDCP opponents say Brown’s “legacy” project will destroy the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas that provides a nursery for many species. It will harm salmon, halibut, leopard shark, soupfin shark, sevengill shark, anchovy, sardine, herring, groundfish and Dungeness crab populations stretching from Southern Washington to Southern California.
Under the guise of habitat restoration, the BDCP will take vast tracts of Delta farmland, among the most fertile on the planet, out of production in order to irrigate toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and provide Delta water to Southern California developers and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County.
The tunnels are being constructed in tandem with the federal government’s plan to raise Shasta Dam, a project that will flood many of the remaining sacred sites of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe that weren’t inundated by Shasta Dam.
Rally against the tunnels: Restore the Delta, C-WIN and other groups opposed to the construction of the twin tunnels will rally on July 29 at the West Steps of State Capitol, 10th St and Capitol Street, Sacramento at 11:30 AM. July 29 is the final day of the public comment period for the Bay Delta Conservation and the EIS/EIR. The rally will feature a variety of speakers and music. For more information, go to: