RTD Preserving Cheap Delta Water for Its Board Members

April 2, 2015

To:       Interested Parties
Fr:       Steven Maviglio, Restore the Delta Truth
Re:      Restore the Delta Has a Bad Case of Do as I say, Not as I Do

“Restore the Delta” consistently blamesbig agribusiness” for California’s water woes and they regularly attackCorporate agribusiness tycoons” who “receive taxpayer subsidies” for crops.

Pot, meet kettle. Public records reveal that Restore the Delta’s board and primary funders are a collection of “big agribusiness” who own tens of thousands of acres while taking hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of Delta water. And RTD board members and funders themselves have received millions of dollars in federal farm subsidies. Here’s a look at just a few.

  • Robert Ferguson, President of Ferguson Farms. Ferguson is a member of the RTD Executive Committee. State records show that Ferguson’s various agriculture operations own more than 2,000 acres in the Delta and use more than 7,000 acre-feet of Delta water each year. A search of the Environmental Working Group’s Farm Subsidies database also shows that Ferguson Farms Inc. received more than $687,000 in federal farm subsidies between 1995 and 2012.
  • Mike Robinson, President Robinson Farms Feed Co and other farming corporations also serves on the board of Restore the Delta. Robinson owns more than 2,000 acres of Delta farmland and uses more than 7,000 acre feet of water each year.
  • Wendy Stokes, Stokes & Lombardi Farms. Wendy Stokes is former president of Restore the Delta and a current member of the Restore the Delta Executive Committee. The Stokes family agriculture businesses own more than 1,000 acres of land in the Delta and use more than 7,000 acre-feet of water each year, according to state records.
  • Dino Cortopassi is a major donor to RTD and was awarded the group’s “Delta Advocacy Award.” Cortopassi owns 7,000 acres of land, including about 3,000+ acres in the Delta. According to the State Water Resources Control Board, his Delta land alone uses more than 14,000 acre feet of water each year. Cortopassi has also received millions of dollars in federal farm subsidies since 1995, according to the Environmental Working Group Farm Subsidy database. And Cortopassi’s “solution” for the Delta? Massive, environmentally destructive dredging of river channels.
  • Fritz Grupe Jr helped form RTD. In 2008, according to the Stockton Record, Grupe got approval to build a massive $3 billion, 7,000 tract home subdivision on a Delta Island that would no doubt use cheap Delta water. And Grupe also uses more than 100 acre feet of Delta water each year to grow rice and wine grapes.
  • Rogene Reynolds, President of RTD. Rogene Reynolds is the current President of Restore the Delta and her family has been farming on Roberts Island since 1889, presumably irrigated by cheap Delta water.

Once again, it’s a bumper crop of hypocrisy from Restore the Delta.