LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — The Obama administration is pushing for progress on a California water project before it leaves office.

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell issued an executive order Wednesday directing federal wildlife officials to release a preliminary environmental opinion on Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed water tunnels by Jan. 17.

Brown wants California to build 35-mile-long water tunnels to pipe Northern California’s water to central and Southern California. California last month released an environmental report supporting the plans for two giant north-south water tunnels.

The newly issued federal order seeks to speed up federal permitting for the $15.7 billion project. The order means the project could clear one preliminary hurdle before Obama leaves office Jan. 20.

Brown says the tunnels would ensure a more reliable water supply for central and Southern California farms and cities. Environmental groups disagree with Brown over whether the giant tunnels would hurt endangered state species.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


  1. Kevin Enkell says:

    I can’t imagine that drilling tunnels across earthquake faults would be any problem at all…

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