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Groups File First Legal Challenges In Delta Tunnels Fight

A coalition of environmental and fishing groups on Thursday filed the first of what are expected to be many lawsuits challenging Gov. Jerry Brown’s $17.1 billion plan to build two massive water tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The suits, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, come four days after two federal agencies said the controversial project can coexist with endangered Delta fish.

Snow And Rain Tug On Earthquake Faults In California

Winter weather brings seismic tremors. A new study reveals how water buildup and runoff throughout the year can increase stress along faults in California, triggering small earthquakes. “This kind of observation is extremely important to constrain our models of earthquakes,” says Jean-Philippe Avouac, a geologist at Caltech who was not involved in the study. Improved models could ultimately help scientists better forecast seismic activity. Snow and rain compress mountain ranges in Northern California several millimeters during wet winter months. But with the weight of the water gone during the dry summers, the landscape lifts back up.

Costly Approval Doesn’t Guarantee The Governor’s Delta Tunnels

Federal wildlife officials gave the first approval last week to Gov. Jerry Brown’s decade-old plan to re-engineer California’s water system by building twin tunnels to ship water around the delta to cities and farms. It’s a regrettable step in a long, costly and politically charged approval process with an uncertain outcome. It doesn’t make sense to spend $17 billion to move water instead of investing in water saving and reuse. Within 72 hours, environmental groups and fishing interests sued, saying the agencies are failing to protect native salmon and allowing the river to degrade further.

BLOG: More on the Delta Tunnels JPA

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California today released the first of three “white papers” on the Delta tunnels, which are supposed to inform MWD board members as the district moves toward a September vote on the project. Most of what’s in there has been reported previously. But here are a few things I found interesting: The JPA. It has already been reported that the state Department of Water Resources and the water contractors were considering forming a joint powers authority to oversee construction.