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delta_aerial.JPGWhether the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is the solution to decades of conflict over California's water supply is heavily debated. But after seven years in the making, the environmental impact report for the project -- which proposes construction of two enormous tunnels to divert freshwater from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the south state -- is finally ready for scrutiny.

The impact report was filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday and should be made available on the plan's website some time today. There will be opportunity for the public to comment on the report starting Friday and extending until April 14.

The implications for the project, which is backed by Gov. Jerry Brown but has faced intense political opposition, are considerable: It goes before state and federal wildlife agencies next year, who will consider the effects to the Delta's fragile ecosystem. If they approve the project, the state has said it will decide by the end of 2014 whether to proceed with building the tunnels and how to pay for them.

VIDEO: The Legislature's once-dismal poll numbers are turning around, but that's simply a reflection of the state's economic health, Dan Walters says.

RECOUNT BEGINS: Los Angeles County officials will begin a recount today of last month's whisker-thin special election in the 45th Assembly District. Republican candidate Susan Shelley requested the recount -- and is on the hook to pay for it -- after losing by 329 votes out of more than 29,000 cast in the Nov. 19 election. Shelley plans to make a statement on the status of the recount at about 4:45 p.m.

CAN WE TALK?: As Covered California pushes the gift of health care this holiday season, policymakers and residents continue to grapple with understanding the full effects of the Affordable Care Act. At noon, the California HealthCare Foundation sponsors a talk on price transparency at the California Chamber of Commerce at 1201 K Street. At 6:30, Emily Bazar, senior writer for USC Annenberg's Center for Health Care Reporting, answers audience questions on "Obamacare & You" at the Sacramento State Union Ballroom.

RICH MAN, POOR MAN: Less than half a percent of California households earn nearly a sixth of the state's income, according to new tax return figures from the Franchise Tax Board. The Sacramento Bee's Data Center has an interactive graphic exploring where that wealth is concentrated.

CELEBRATIONS: A belated happy birthday to Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, who turned 62 on Saturday.

PHOTO: Aerial photos of the region to be affected by the Delta water tunnels and intakes in the Courtland area on April 10, 2013. Highway 160 and Randall Island Road are seen near the top of the frame. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton


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