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California, U.S. Seek Permits for State’s Giant Water Tunnels

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California and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are seeking permits for a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed water tunnels.

Brown is urging construction of two, 30-mile-long tunnels to carry water from north to south, at a state-estimated cost of $17 billion.

Officials announced Thursday that the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have filed applications for the work with the state Water Resources Control Board.

Authorities are seeking permits to take water through three intakes — each the size of three football fields — at the Sacramento River.

Opponents say the state is pushing forward on the tunnels before they’re approved. State spokeswoman Nancy Vogel says it’s normal for construction projects to seek permits at the same time as environmental and public reviews.