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Will Plans for Massive Tunnels to Pipe Northern California Water South Mean a Boon for Fracking?

Where will the industry get the water for fracking on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and coastal areas, including Monterey County where large Monterey Shale deposits are located?

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Wilson said the "hidden scenario" goes like this: "Gov. Brown wants twin tunnels in the Delta. He won't allow a public vote on a water bond, so six water agencies, headed by the Westlands Water District and the Metropolitan Water District have formed a business consortium called the State and Federal Water Contractors Association (SFWCA). These six will be the primary funders of the $14-16 billion revenue stream needed to build and initially operate the twin tunnels." 


"Is the SFWCA doing this as a service to the people of California? Of course not. Like all financiers, they expect to make a huge profit. Why else invest $14-billion?" asked Wilson. 


Wilson said the SFWCA will "make its money back through handling water transfers from northern California reservoirs, water banks and aquifers--or any way they can get it--to sell at auction the the highest bidder, in this case the oil/gas companies inflated prices to the oil companies who will pay any price to get it." 


"Currently in Greely, CO, the water agencies are selling water to farmers for $30 an acre foot while oil companies are paying $3,300.00 an acre foot!" noted Wilson. "Given that water transfers from northern California total about 1,200,000 acre feet a year, the SFWCA, at that rate, would earn almost $4-billion a year! Not a bad return on investment!" 


"And here's how they'll do it: let's say some northern California water bank wants to sell 500 acre feet of water," he explained. "That water is then released into the Sacramento River north of the Capital City. At the same time, one or all three of the twin tunnel intakes on the Sacramento River near Hood will suck 500 acre feet out of the river and into the twin tunnels to be pumped south to the SFWCA." 


"Note that no 'additional' water has been taken out of the Delta and the transfer is consistent with the State Water Code which mandates that we "reduce reliance on the Delta." 


Wilson concluded, "All the parameters of this operation are currently falling into place. The fix is in, in my opinion. By taking the vote for such a project away from the people, Gov. Brown is doing a huge disservice to the People of California." 


I applaud Wilson for asking the tough questions that need to be asked - and agree that water for fracking could be the "hidden agenda" of the BCDP. It makes sense that the water to be exported from the Delta through the tunnels will be used for a variety of purposes, irrigating drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, urban and industrial development in Southern California and increased fracking. 

Oil industry wields tremendous power in California 

The drive by the oil and natural gas industry to frack California is highlighted by recent developments that reveal the enormous power of Big Oil in the state. 


In yet one more example of the revolving door between government and huge corporations that defines politics in California now, State Senator Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield) on February 22 suddenly announced his resignation from office in order to take a “government affairs” position at Chevron. 


Rubio went to work for Chevron just two months after alleged “marine protected areas,” overseen by the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, a coastal real estate developer, a marina corporation executive and other corporate interests, went into effect on California’s North Coast. 

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