Join us in stopping the ill-advised rider now in Congress to remove sensible taxpayer protections that have stalled the Shasta Dam raise proposal (which cannot stand on its own merits per existing law). We have sent the following letter to Representative Doug La Malfa and Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein. More information and an automated form for sending your comments are available from California Trout.
The Los Angeles Times has another good article here – please let your opinion be known on this important issue!
Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center
March 14, 2018
On behalf of the board of our organization and its supporters, we wish to communicate our strong opposition to the fiscally irresponsible and harmful plan to eliminate sensible cost-sharing requirements that protect taxpayers from the ill-advised proposal to raise the Shasta Dam. Simply put, this project is NOT worth its cost, and no business would make such an expenditure. We ask you to safeguard our tax dollars and reject the dangerous effort now before Congress to eliminate taxpayer protections.
As you read this letter members of Congress are considering adding a special interest rider to the FY19 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that would eliminate cost-sharing requirements to begin construction of a $1 billion water storage project in California—expanding Shasta Dam. This rider would eliminate the legal obligation that non-federal funding must cover half of the cost of this project puts federal taxpayers at risk. Moreover, construction of this water storage project in California would permanently alter the McCloud River, a designated California Wild and Scenic River, violate state law, and destroy Native American sacred sites. This rider would be both economically and environmentally harmful.
This rider would strip a provision of the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which requires the Bureau of Reclamation obtain a written agreement to pay for the non-federal cost share for the construction of a project. Removing this provision would allow the federal government to force tax-payer money towards a Shasta Dam raise despite the fact that state law prohibits this project and prohibits local water districts from paying for the 50% non-federal cost share for this project required under the WIIN Act.
The environmental concerns surrounding a Shasta Dam Raise should not be taken lightly. The raising of Shasta Dam would further inundate up to three miles of blue ribbon wild trout fisheries on the Upper Sacramento and McCloud Rivers. Two dams on the river block access for anadromous fish, divert over 80% of its flow and flood miles of habitat.
The McCloud River is protected under the state Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The CA Legislature has found and declared that the McCloud River ‘possesses extraordinary resources in that it supports one of the finest wild trout fisheries in the state’. The free flowing waters of the McCloud are legally protected–rolling back these protections sets a dangerous legal precedent.
Central Valley salmon recovery requires a comprehensive approach. The Draft Feasibility Report focuses on a single species (winter-run Chinook salmon) and one of many stressors to this species (water temperature below Shasta Dam). It’s telling that NMFS Draft Recovery Plan does not identify Shasta Dam raise as a preferred action to improve Central Valley salmon and steelhead.
Raising Shasta Dam will come at the expense of a river the California Legislature acknowledges as one of the most beautiful and valuable in the state. We remain unwilling to sacrifice irreplaceable river habitat for benefits that are uncertain and costly.
In addition to harming taxpayers, this project would harm Native American Tribes. The Bureau of Reclamation has admitted that this project would destroy sacred sites of the Winnemem Wintu people, a native American tribe recognized by the State of California.
Please oppose this dangerous rider, which would funnel tax payer dollars towards an unnecessary $1 billion water storage project in California that would would permanently alter the McCloud River, a designated California Wild and Scenic River, violate State law, and destroy native American sacred sites.
on behalf of the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center