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|Your letters really help
Bay Area Director FOER
Thank you! Your cards, letters, phone calls, faxes, and emails to Congress are working. Your insistence that the Eel and Russian rivers and Santa Rosa Plain groundwaters be protected from unnecessary water exports has helped to produce negotiations about the goals of the North Bay Water Reuse Program. We have gotten the attention needed for proposed critical corrections to the Program—under the threat of full-blown opposition to its sponsoring legislation.
Now we need your help again.
The North Bay Water Reuse Program Act has been proposed in the Senate (S.1472 Feinstein, Boxer; delayed but currently pending action) and already passed in the House (H.R.236 Thompson, Woolsey). The Act would authorize the planning, design, and construction of water reuse projects in northern Marin County and southern Sonoma and Napa valleys with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as a Title XVI project. This program is sponsored by the Sonoma Country Water Agency (SCWA) and the North Bay Water Reuse Authority (NBWRA) members in various San Rafael, Novato, Sonoma, and Napa sanitary districts.
It would use some 21,000-30,000 acre-feet of recycled water, originally taken from the Eel and Russian rivers and Santa Rosa Plain groundwater by SCWA, and used as potable water in San Rafael, Novato, and Sonoma, as well as Napa. The wastewater would then be treated and pumped (with 5,000-11,000hp of new pump capacity) through a massive pipeline project, mostly to benefit grape growers who have over-drafted their local water supplies in southern Sonoma and Napa valleys and Solano County, at an overall cost projected at $311-512 million.
We strongly believe that the highest priority for reuse of treated wastewater is to use it locally by cities to greatly reduce current and future urban demands for water from our North Coast rivers, not to create new vineyard customers.
Your previous letters in support of this position, and in opposition to the legislation unless the project was refocused, has worked so far. We have been in negotiations since January to get our core interests incorporated into the Project’s goals and objectives.
However, in late April, SCWA and the NBWRA members objected to the format and structure of the proposed changes, despite our previous work. At this time, we still do not have an agreement from NBWRA, SCWA, or their environmental and engineering consultants about how best to make the changes we want, nor even if they agree with the substance of our concerns. While there is informal agreement about the importance of these issues, there is as yet no concrete commitment to them by NBWRA and SCWA.
In addition, we are told that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is still not supporting S.1472, as SCWA has yet to provide them with completed financial and engineering feasibility studies required for Bureau support for the legislation.
As a result of this setback, we have renewed our opposition to S.1472 in the Senate. We ask you to join with us.
Please tell Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Boxer that we want to see real progress in addressing our critical concerns:
1. Protect the Eel and Russian rivers, and Santa Rosa Plain groundwater basin, as the originating water sources and public trust interests for what becomes the Program’s recycled water.
2. The first and highest priority of the Program is to maximize the local reuse of recycled water to offset (reduce) potable water demands within the Program member agencies’ urban service areas prior to export of any surplus water for agricultural irrigation.
3. Require vastly increased water and energy efficiencies for member agencies and all water recipients to reduce greenhouse gases and water and energy use.
4. Address these concerns as part of the initial Program objectives or definition itself, not merely as “response to comments” on the DEIR/DEIS. This condition was part of our original agreement to enter into negotiations in the first place.
We very much appreciate the supportive work already done with Marc Holmes (The Bay Institute), Tom Roth (Cong. Lynn Woolsey), Assemblyman Jared Huffman, and various staff members from the environmental consulting firm ESA, and our environmental allies.
We are still very willing to continue our negotiations to achieve these mutual goals, but given the current turn of events, we are left with the necessity of demanding that S.1472 be dropped from the 2008 Senate calendar, so that there is time to go back to negotiations with NBWRA members to produce a superior project description and objectives for next year.
While our voices have taken us this far, there is still more important work to be done, and your help is a critical piece of the solution.
Please send your comments to:
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Attn: John Watts <John_Watts@feinstein.senate.gov>
Senator Barbara Boxer, Attn: Jeff Rosato <Jeff_Rosato@epw.senate.gov>
Chairman Jeff Bingaman, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Committee Office, 304 Dirksen Senate Building, Washington, DC 20510. Phone: (202) 224-4971 Fax: Fax: (202) 224-6163
email form at: http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
Rep. Mike Thompson, Attn: Jonathan Birdsong <Jonathan.Birdsong@mail.house.gov>
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Attn: Tom Roth <email@example.com>