You know, my civics class is failing me. I honestly don’t know how a Peripheral Canal would actually happen. I’m pretty current on the politics of it. I know the backstory of the failed initiative in 1982. I know that the big agencies, state and local, want it. I know that ag is split over it, with farmers in the Delta opposed and farmers in the San Joaquin in favor. It has been vetted and approved in the two major documents about the Delta, the Delta Vision report, which was absorbed by the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan. So it isn’t like I’m ignorant about what’s going on with the Peripheral Canal.
But today I read about people protesting water committee meetings at the capitol and was puzzled. They’re protesting the Legislature? Is that who would approve and fund a Peripheral Canal? They do that? It made me realize that I don’t know how the major plumbing was approved and funded in the 60’s. The story goes: “The Water Plan set out the State Water Project and Pat Brown made it happen.” For all I know, Gov. Pat Brown dug the canals himself on weekends. I’ve read about Gov. Schwarzenegger trying to get the Peripheral Canal done through the agencies, as an emergency measure. I didn’t understand how that would be legal either. I’d guess if we had a major earthquake that collapsed islands in the Delta, when the clean up was done a couple years later there would also be a Peripheral Canal in place.
The Peripheral Canal is a huge battle. The first few decisions won’t (haven’t) changed that. I don’t think it’ll settle until the Canal has been operating a couple years and even then it won’t convince opponents until the Delta islands collapse and we’re grateful we have an alternative. I’ve been watching the fight, but obviously not close enough. I should ask more knowledgeable people how the PC might get authorized.
UPDATE: A-HA! I should read
KenKevin Starr’s book.