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Lawsuits Challenge Ambitious California Water Tunnels

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FRESNO (AP) — Environmental and fishing groups have filed challenges seeking to block Gov. Jerry Brown’s ambitious plan to build a pair of massive water tunnels in California.

The two lawsuits filed in federal court Thursday say the proposed $16 billion tunnels would destroy endangered native fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta that are on the brink of extinction.

The lawsuits were filed days after Brown’s project won a first critical round of approval from federal fish and wildlife agencies.
State officials say the tunnels will re-engineer the hub of California’s water system ensuring consistent north-south deliveries needed by farms and millions of residents.

Doug Obeji of the Natural Resources Defense Council says the federal officials approved the project based on politics and not science. Other plaintiffs in the lawsuits are Golden Gate Salmon Association, Defenders of Wildlife and the Bay Institute.

Nancy Vogel of the California Natural Resources Agency declined to comment.