Fitzgerald: Feds sneak money to tunnels – News – – California News

Fitzgerald: Feds sneak money to tunnels – News – – California News

There’s the California that oughta be and the California that is. In the California that oughta be, the twin tunnels project possibly could improve the Delta.

I highly doubt it. But maybe if operated with respect for science and the law, it could work.

In the California that is, however, state and federal officials show time and time again they’re willing to ignore science and break the law for politically powerful water grabbers.

The latest evidence is a federal audit showing the sleazeballs at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation illegally and secretly paid something like $84.8 million to help pay for the tunnels, though the law says they can’t.

Remember, from day one Gov. Jerry Brown and other champions of the so-called California WaterFix pledged that taxpayers would not pay one penny toward the $17 billion project.

The beneficiaries would pay: those south-valley water districts such as the Westlands that supply farmers, and the urban districts that pipe water to 25 million in Southern California cities.

So, though many expect the twin tunnels will run roughshod over the Delta, at least those who destroy the estuary must pay the billions to construct the project that does it.

Of course, at the risk of digressing, this, too, is not strictly true; they’ll pass on costs to consumers. But the beneficiaries are supposed to pay the upfront costs.

This is more than a politician’s promise. It is law. The Delta Reform Act of 2009 says agencies outside this region that take Delta water must pay the cost of environmental reviews, planning, design, construction and mitigation. That law was codified into…

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