December 19, 2017 – The Nevada County Green Party’s elected County Council has declared unanimous opposition to the troubled Centennial Dam project being pushed through by the Nevada Irrigation District (NID).
NID has already spent over $11 million on plans for a 275 foot-tall dam on the Bear River. The dam would inundate the last six miles of publicly accessible, free-flowing river on the Bear.
NID plans to seize and destroy more than 25 homes and 120 parcels of private property, 140 Native American cultural sites, the Bear Campground, and the Dog Bar Bridge – the only crossing of the Bear River between Highway 49 and Highway 174.
Despite many requests from NID customers and homeowners whose private property is subject to destruction under forced eminent domain, NID has not provided evidence of impact studies, clear cost analysis, and other essential information.
Initially reported to cost $160 million, the project is now estimated at over $1 billion dollars. With skyrocketing costs for unclear plans, the NID Board is seeking CA taxpayer grant money to fund the Centennial Dam. If successful, receipt of California Water Commission (CWC) funds would impose multiple requirements on NID, such as supplying water outside the County of Origin. This would directly contradict the project’s statement of purpose, which is to benefit NID customers.
NID voted to submit the application without giving any advance notice or information to NID customers – who would be forced to pay for this dam – or to the public who is also affected. The application deadline was known to NID for six months. Yet, NID’s grant application was publicly presented just two days before the application period ended, at a last minute special meeting. Despite significant public opposition at that meeting, the NID board voted to submit the application requesting taxpayers pay for its unpopular dam.
Rather than inviting input from community stakeholders and customers in an open, transparent process, the NID board is increasingly closing off its actions from public view. The controversial dam has not broken ground, but is already 10X over budget, shows no clear benefit, and faces strong public opposition from many sides. With one of the highest paid public official in Nevada County heading the NID, the elected NID board and staff should be inviting input from paying NID customers and the public, not blocking it. The Nevada County Green Party encourages the community to join SYRCL’s letter campaign: http://yubariver.org/nid/