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Principles of the Principals: The official story

Last week, we reported that a group of congressional representatives and state legislators representing the Delta had written a letter to Lester Snow and Ken Salazar asking for information about the meetings of BDCP “Delta Principals” that have been taking place out of public view.

The letter asked for information such as who the principals are, how they were selected, and what the group’s role and objectives are.

Resources Secretary Lester Snow has gotten back to Senator Lois Wolk about that.

In a September 23 letter, Snow explains that these meetings among “principals who are signatories to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP)” are “a key procedural component of the public BDCP Steering Committee process to achieve the comprehensive strategy that we have all sought for decades”. 

From Snow’s perspective, what we have all sought for decades is ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability.  For the “principals who are signatories,” the Delta is a place you take water from, divert water around or under, or fly over in a plane.  Inconveniently, there is an ecosystem there that you can’t ignore if you need “take” permits.

It is no surprise that the Steering Committee is just the public face of the process.  We’ve always know that the ultimate decision-making would happen in some other forum.  This conservation planning effort is “voluntary.”  The principals are being briefed so that “by design and intent” they can “provide policy guidance on elements of a draft plan.”

This is THEIR plan.

Snow notes that the BDCP has solicited lots of public input at more than 100 meetings and has “[supported] local entities in order to ensure participation and to ultimately assure that the development and implementation of the BDCP occurs in a manner than recognizes and incorporates local plans and priorities.”

Newspaper reports suggesting that these have been secret meetings are “inaccurate,” according to Snow.  Such reports “[serve] only to foster mistrust.”

As if we had ever trusted this process.

The Natural Resources Agency has produced a document they are calling “Issues for Discussion.”  Snow assures Senator Wolk that this document “is not intended as any preliminary or final decision on the BDCP.”  Deliberations on and review of the draft plan will take place in public.

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