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BREAKING NEWS: AP reveals Bernhardt/Westlands Sweetheart Water Deal

Interior proposes coveted deal to ex-client of agency head
– Ellen Knickmeyer, AP 11/8/19
The Interior Department is proposing to award one of the first contracts for federal water in perpetuity to a powerful rural California water district that had long employed Secretary David Bernhardt as a lobbyist….Bernhardt served as a lobbyist for Westlands until 2016, the year before he joined Interior, initially as deputy secretary.
“The Interior Department needs to look out for the public interest, and not just serve the financial interests of their former lobbying clients,” said Rep. Jared Huffman, a Democrat from California.

Comment by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director, Restore the Delta:
Governor Newsom needs to condemn the conflict of interest between Secretary Bernhardt and Westlands Water District reported today by Ellen Knickmeyer of the Associated Press. This corrupt water giveaway from Bernhardt, Westlands’ former lobbyist, is undermining the voluntary agreement process being led by the Newsom administration. We can never achieve what is best for Delta flows with non-stop water giveaways to the Westlands Water District through a perpetual water contract and behind the scenes wheeling and dealing. It’s time for Governor Newsom to step-up and do what is best for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. The voluntary agreement process must be transparent, not only within state processes, but at the federal level. And it must include impacted parties from the Delta.