Sacramento County led a cascade of area governments suing the state in an effort to block the Delta tunnels, saying the $17 billion project would harm local farmers, endangered fish and low-income communities at the south end of the county.
The lawsuits come as the tunnels project, championed by Gov. Jerry Brown as a means of improving south state water supplies, makes headway with environmental regulators. In July, the state announced that the massive project complies with the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, and wouldn’t hurt fish, wildlife or human health in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Elected officials in the Sacramento area long have opposed the project and have formed an alliance, called the Delta Counties Coalition, dedicated to fighting the tunnels. Sacramento County filed its lawsuit Thursday, as did the Placer County Water Agency, the cities of Stockton and Antioch and a consortium of commercial fishermen’s groups. Additional lawsuits were expected to be filed by Monday, the legal deadline for attacking the tunnels project with a CEQA suit.