Natural Resources Secretary John Laird has told Restore the Delta in a letter that “The BDCP management and executive committees that have been meeting for the past few years have had their functions merged into a single group. Meetings of the merged committee, now called the BDCP management committee, are open to the public. Meeting days, times and locations will be posted in advance on the BDCP Web site. A public comment period will take place at the end of each of these BDCP management committee meetings.”
But as we noted in our last newsletter, this laudable transparency doesn’t extend to financing. Metropolitan Water District general manager Roger Patterson told the MWD board last month that state and federal contractors are working on a finance plan for conveyance, and that certainly isn’t public. It would be interesting to know whether the finance committee includes engineering firms, as earlier finance committees have apparently done.
Even the new subject area working groups are only sort of public. According to Jerry Meral, state and federal contractors are discussing the permittee issue, and when they’ve finished their discussions, another meeting of the Governance working group will be convened. But as Osha Meserve, representing Local Agencies of the North Delta (LAND), told Meral,
The “permittee issue” is critical to the content of the Governance chapter and more broadly to the entire BDCP project. Decisions regarding named permittees should not be made in private without the input of local and other affected interests. Having the water contractors also be named as permittees would be an overreaching of their authority as recipients of water they contract for from the Projects and would marginalize the interests of local communities affected by BDCP and the public in general.
As soon as the State agrees to make a process transparent, the Water Contractors invent a new process that they can go forward with out of public view.
At the MWD meeting, the subject of the water bond came up. One MWD director said that it will take a push from the water industry to get the Brown administration to put the water bond on the 2012 ballot.
So while you may be thinking of water as a fundamental constituent of life, the medium in which fish and other creatures live, a vital resources for growing food and sustaining us all, these folks are thinking of water as an industry.