Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Delta Canal

Good news if it proves to be true.

By Hank Shaw
February 26, 2008
Capitol Bureau Chief

SACRAMENTO - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may issue an executive order jump-starting a controversial plan to build a canal around the Delta, sources familiar with the matter said Monday.

Doing so would bypass the Legislature, which is divided over whether such a canal should be built.

Schwarzenegger supports the idea of a new way to ship water from the Sacramento River to the giant pumps near Tracy that supply roughly 25 million Californians with their drinking water.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Bill Maile neither confirmed nor denied that an executive order is in the works.

Opponents, such as Sen. Michael Machado, D-Linden, say a canal around the Delta would divert the flow of fresh water away from the area of the estuary near Stockton, turning it into a fetid backwater.

"I don't think this is helpful at all," said Machado, who represents the part of the Delta that would be affected. "This executive order is a presumption of a direction without any determination that it is the right direction to go.

"It could be a disaster for San Joaquin County."

No argument from Dante Nomellini, a Stockton attorney who represents central Delta farmers.

Nomellini said Monday he's heard whisperings about an impending executive order.
"We'll have to see what it says," he said.

He calls the governor's entire Delta Vision process a "sham," saying that state officials have long known they wanted to build a canal.