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January 31, 2018 – A critical hearing needed to approve Governor Jerry Brown’s controversial Delta Tunnels project has been delayed until February 8.
The California Water Fix Hearing Team of the State Water Resources Control Board has delayed the hearing as it continues to review several motions to delay a key hearing by 90 days over alleged illegal exparte communications between the Board’s staff and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) personnel.
The Part 2 hearing will review the permit by DWR and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to change the point of water diversions required to build the tunnels, considered by opponents to be potentially the most environmentally unjust public works project in California history: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/bay_delta/california_waterfix/docs/2018/20180130_cwf_notice.pdf
The Hearing Team explained:
On January 17, 2018, the hearing officers directed the hearing team to advise the parties that the hearing days scheduled for January 18 through February 1, 2018, were canceled to give the hearing officers time to review several procedural motions, including motions to continue this proceeding, according to the notice from the Hearing Team. “The hearing officers have further directed theWaterFix team to advise the parties that the hearing days scheduled for February 2 and February 5, 2018, are also canceled. Unless the hearing officers notify the parties of any additional changes to the hearing schedule, the parties should assume that Part 2 of the hearing will commence on February 8, 2018, beginning with policy statements, to be followed immediately with the evidentiary portion of Part 2.”
Provided that no additional changes to the hearing schedule are made, NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that on February 12,2018, this water right hearing will be held at the following location:
California Regional Water Quality Control BoardCentral Valley Region (5), Sacramento Main Office11020 Sun Center Drive, Suite 200
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
CA WaterFix Hearing Team
The motions were filed as a result of emails disclosed under a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request filed by Patrick Porgans of Porgans and Associates.
On January 18, Assemblymember Jim Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, issued a statement slamming the alleged unlawful ex parte communications between the Board and DWR regarding the proposed Delta Tunnels outlined in complaints filed by Delta region local governments, public agencies and advocacy organizations.
“If these allegations are true, it attests that DWR has been illegally manipulating the process in favor of the disastrous tunnels project and doing it behind closed doors. I’m appalled that the State Water Board would show such bias and not represent the whole state but only a portion of the state,” said Frazier.
More information: www.dailykos.com/…
In related news, California Water Research on January 29 filed a Public Records Act request to the State Water Resources Control Board, requesting that the Board disclose Ex Parte communications with the Governor’s office and the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) to the WaterFix Hearing parties.
Communications regarding the WaterFix hearing, or permit terms for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project, are requested, according to a news release from California Water Research.
California Water Research’s principal, Deirdre Des Jardins, stated, “the issue of providing increased flows to restore the Sacramento Delta estuary has become extremely politicized. The Board’s WaterFix Water Right Change Petition hearing is a quasi-judicial process and there needs to be better transparency.” More information: www.dailykos.com/…
The California Water Fix consists of two massive, 35-mile long tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. If built, the project would hasten the extinction of Sacramento River spring and winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.