Let's confuse them with the EIR's........
Working off some preconceived notion that a Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) does not have to be as “detailed” as a later Project EIR, the stock answer from EBMUD’s staff for the overwhelming comments against raising Pardee goes something like this - YOUR CONCERNS WILL BE ADDRESSED IN A PROJECT LEVEL EIR WHEN AND IF WE DECIDE TO ENLARGE PARDEE.
Yet the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) details the following under Article 11 Section 15168:
(b) Advantages. Use of a program EIR can provide the following advantages. The program EIR can: (4) Allow the Lead Agency to consider broad policy and programwide mitigation measures at an early time when the agency has greater flexibility to deal with basic problems or cumulative impacts, and
(c ) (5)A program EIR will be most helpful in dealing with subsequent activities if it deals with the effects of the program as specifically and comprehensively as possible. With a good and detailed analysis of the program, many subsequent activities could be found to be within the scope of the project described in the program EIR, and no further environmental documents would be required.
I can not claim to be a CEQA expert but IMO all the opposition/concerns to raising Pardee & flooding the Mokelumne from American Whitewater, BLM, Foothill Conservancy, Friends of the River, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, the City of Jackson, the landowners in Amador & Calaveras Counties (and the list goes on) are largely IGNORED with the stock response form EBMUD’s staff.
Additionally, you will note that they emphasize “if and when they will enlarge Pardee.” Want to know the alternative to Pardee? DESALINATION in the Bay Area.
Let's see....raise Pardee or open a desalination plant? In other words, here are your choices one bad idea or another bad idea. Given the other viable options that did not make their water plan, both of these grand ideas are disastrous but it would not be hard to guess which bad option would be exercised first.
At any rate, it is my hope that the stakeholders who plan to attend the board meeting next week can convince the directors that EBMUD staff has more work to do. Overall, it's my opinion the stakeholders involved are willing to help EBMUD in their quest for water as long as their concerns are genuinely addressed leaving the Chewbacca Defense in the realms of South Park.
I have included below the summary of my appearance at the Sutter Creek public meeting & EBMUD’s actual response which can be found in the Final Programmatic EIR for their WSMP 2040. If you want to see the response to any of the concerns that you sent in download a copy here.
From WSMP 2040 Final PEIR - Volume II 2.3.2
I am representing American Whitewater and am here to protest enlargements of Pardee Reservoir.
If Pardee is 1/3 of the water supply solution, then where is the balance with the other components? We will be turning over all the rocks, if necessary.
To show how important this river is to us, we just had an impromptu Paddle one the Mokelumne River with 50 participants.
[Read Letter from David Steindorff]
EBMUD Response 14
EBMUD acknowleges the commenter's opposition to the Enlarge Pardee Reservoir component of the WSMP 2040. The Draft PEIR recognizes the whitewater recreation opportunities provided by the Mokelumne River (please see pages 4.2.D-5 through 4.2.D-6). Please see the Master Responses on the WSMP 2040 and the Enlarge Pardee Reservoir component.
The Preferred Portfoilio for the WSMP 2040 includes a diverse range of components to meet the need for water in dry years, and it will also provide the District with flexibility to address uncertainties such as climate change and timing of droughts. As stated on page 3-30 of the Draft PEIR, if the Regional Desalination component is implemented, then the Upcountry projects (including the Enlarge Pardee Reservoir component) would not be required to meet the projected Need for Water. Impacts associated with the Enlarge Pardee Reservoir component will be fully examined in a project-level EIR when and if the District decides to move forward with project-level planning.