Delta Tunnel Cut From State Budget Deal – A Clear Defeat for Governor Newsom

Scott Artis, Golden State Salmon Association, 925-550-9208,

AMERICAN CANYON, Calif. – On June 27, 2023, California’s beleaguered salmon runs and the health of their critical Delta habitat were handed a significant win as Governor Newsom’s Delta Conveyance Project, also known as the Delta Tunnels, was cut from the State’s budget deal.

During yesterday’s budget talks, SB 146, the new Design-Build Trailer Bill was amended to reflect the new budget deal and included language that, for now, killed the Delta Tunnels: This article does not apply to procurement by the Department of Water Resources for the design or construction of through-Delta conveyance facilities of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or seawater desalination projects.

The massive underground water export tunnels designed to be 40 feet in diameter, constructed 150 feet underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and planned to span approximately 30 miles from south of Sacramento to north of Tracy had been widely opposed by Golden State Salmon Association, Tribes, and environmental groups working to safeguard the health of the Bay-Delta and restore the State’s salmon fishery – noting the environmental analysis for the Delta Tunnels has been significantly flawed. 

“Those concerns were heightened by the continuing delay of the State Water Resources Control Board’s update of the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan,” said Scott Artis, Executive Director of Golden State Salmon Association.

In May, Governor Newsom proposed a package of bills attached to his budget that would have cut corners for the approval process of the proposed Delta Tunnels. That package would have bypassed the normal legislative process and dramatically curtailed opportunities for public comment. Many legislators objected strenuously to both the process and the Tunnel Project. The final budget deal represents a clear defeat for the Governor’s tunnels.

“Before the State considers a new Delta Tunnels Project or other major water storage and diversion projects that are likely to significantly worsen environmental conditions in the Delta and on salmon runs, the State Water Resources Control Board must first establish updated flow and water quality standards that will restore the salmon fishery, prevent extinction, and protect and restore native fish and wildlife and the health of the Bay-Delta watershed,” said Artis.

Golden State Salmon Association ( is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fishermen and women, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. GSSA’s mission is to restore California salmon for their economic, recreational, commercial, environmental, cultural and health values.