Fire down below: New environmental concern raised as Southern California Republican tries to block judicial review of tunnels

From the Sacramento News and Review.

By Scott Thomas Anderson, Published 08.02.18

Seventeen bodies were hauled out of the tunnel, some charred by fire, others choked in soot.

The men killed that day in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Sylmar in 1971 were burrowing through the earth on behalf of the Metropolitan Water District, a public utility district servicing Anaheim, Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Fernando. The workers under the agency’s direction accidentally hit a pocket of gas. The ensuing fireball was something they never saw coming.

Now, with Metropolitan Water District being the major player funding Gov. Jerry Brown’s embattled vision of two parallel tunnels cutting 30 miles underground, planning documents reveal the mammoth undertaking will include tunneling and drilling through a region of the Delta packed with underground gas wells. That’s left people living on the estuary’s islands worried about a repeat of that deadly day in Sylmar.

“It’s so blatantly clear that this is a threat to the people of the Delta,” said Barbara Daly of North Delta CARES, a nonprofit advocating for residents from Freeport to Isleton. “Each of our little legacy towns has a volunteer fire department, and they’ll be put right on the front lines if there’s an explosion or catastrophe.”

If Delta homeowners want to raise that fear in court—adding to the myriad of lawsuits already pending against the tunnels…..

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Many thanks to Scott Anderson for his excellent and ongoing coverage of the Delta and the twin tunnels. Check out these other articles by Mr. Anderson:

The king crop: Report shows Delta farms’ vital role in county’s $507 million agricultural economy ( SN&R – Local Stories – Beats – 10.05.17 ) Delta farms threatened by the ‘twin tunnels” prove to be one of Sacramento County’s strongest economic performers.

Why save the Delta? Unknown river towns fear untold devastation from Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels project ( SN&R – Local Stories – Feature Story – 08.31.17 )Meet the farmers and river people who don’t want to say goodbye to their way of life.