Biological Opinions Are Vital Step in Permitting Process
With this week’s release of biological opinions (BiOps) from federal agencies responsible for protecting species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), the California Chamber of Commerce-supported California WaterFix clears a critical permitting threshold.
After extensive environmental reviews that started under the Obama Administration, the new BiOps released June 26 from the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found the construction and operations of WaterFix would not jeopardize the future existence of ESA-listed species.
CalChamber and the Californians for Water Security coalition supporting WaterFix—representing thousands of businesses, community groups, family farmers, labor unions, water agencies, engineers and public safety leaders from across the state—reiterated their continued support for the project and applauded it clearing this major milestone in the permitting process.
“We are encouraged that federal environmental agencies, under presidents from both sides of the aisle, have provided the necessary environmental clearance to move this project forward,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg. “WaterFix is the responsible solution to secure our state’s water deliveries for communities, businesses and residents statewide. It’s time to move forward with upgrading our water infrastructure for future years with WaterFix.”
Over the last six months, critical strides have been made in moving WaterFix forward, including the issuance of the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on December 22, 2016.
The exhaustive review process for California WaterFix reflects nearly a decade of scientific and public analysis, including nearly a year of public review of the EIR, 600 public meetings throughout the state, and responses and revisions based on more than 40,000 public comments, concluding that WaterFix is the only viable plan to protect the state’s water supply and the environment. Furthermore, as WaterFix moves toward implementation, rigorous and continuing assessments of habitat and wildlife standards are expected.
For more information on Californians for Water Security, visit www.watersecurityca.com
Staff Contact: Valerie Nera