SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A long-delayed plan to build a giant lake in Northern California has gotten a big boost. The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday signaled its intent to loan the project nearly $2.2 billion. That would cover about half of the project’s total cost. Officials with the agency promoting and overseeing the project called the loan a “game changer.” The project still must clear some regulatory processes, including an environmental review. That’s where it’s likely to face fierce opposition from environmental groups who say the project will divert too much water from the Sacramento River. Sites officials say the project will help the region withstand droughts.