SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) on Tuesday co-chaired the first meeting of the California Legislative Delta Caucus. The bipartisan Caucus was formed earlier this year by Democratic and Republican members of the Legislature who represent legislative districts in and around the Delta region.
Frazier serves as co-chairman of the Caucus, along with state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa).
“We united to form this caucus because it became necessary to address the threats facing the Delta today, and to advocate for best environmental and economic practices and policies for the Delta and its communities,” Frazier said. “We are united against the proposed Delta tunnels, which threaten to destroy the Delta’s ecosystem and destroy a way of life for millions of Californians. Much of the Delta Caucus’ focus will be identifying workable alternatives to the proposed tunnels.”
“The Delta Caucus is committed to ensuring a vibrant and sustainable Delta, which is absolutely essential for our region and all of California,” said Senator Dodd, co-chairman of the Delta Caucus. “We are fighting to protect this precious resource and region for our residents, visitors and wildlife.”
The Caucus is anticipating completion of an audit by State Auditor Elaine Howle, which the Legislature authorized last year, to determine whether the Department of Water Resources has improperly used funds to pay for planning of the tunnels project, including preparation of the Environmental Impact Report.
“There have been ongoing concerns with the financing of the Delta tunnels: Who’s paid for the planning so far and if any Proposition 1 Water Bond funding has been used,” Frazier said. “We should know more when the State Auditor releases its audit of the project next month.”
Several county supervisors from the Delta region also attended the Caucus meeting. Discussion focused on how this coalition of state and county elected officials can identify and unify behind viable alternatives to the tunnels. The supervisors will discuss alternatives at the next meeting of the Delta Counties Coalition.
“The Delta is not a plumbing issue, which is how the governor and the water districts pushing for these disastrous tunnels tend to view the Delta,” Frazier said. “The Delta is one of the largest and most important estuaries in North America and a vibrant ecosystem that supports hundreds of species plants and wildlife. There are better alternatives to the tunnels, and the California Legislative Delta Caucus will be working hard to identify solutions that won’t threaten to destroy the Delta’s environment.”
Other members are Senators Cathleen Galgiani, Steve Glazer and Richard Pan, and Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Jim Cooper, Susan Eggman, Tim Grayson, Heath Flora and Catharine Baker.