Calif. Department of Water Resources asks State Board Hearing Officers to Deny Motions by Delta Tunnels opponents


By Dan Bacher |  January 20, 2018 | 

On January 19, the California Department of Water Resources responded to the motions by Delta Tunnels opponents that charge DWR and State Water Resources Control Board staff with "unlawful exparte communications” and call for a 90-day stay in the California WaterFix hearing.

DWR requests the State Board Hearing Officers to deny the pending motions to stay or continue the Part 2 hearings that were scheduled to begin on January 18.

The Department of Water Resources submitted its “Consolidated Opposition to Save the California Delta Alliance et al. and County of Sacramento et al” to State Water Board Hearing Officers Doduc and Marcus 

The Brown administration
appointed Karla Nemeth
as the new director
of the Department of
Water Resources on January 10.
DWR photo.

DWR claims that these communications were not illegal and the hearing should go forward as planned. The water board Thursday delayed the hearing until February 2. 

“None of the alleged communications by Petitioners cited by protestants constitute a substantive issue or controversial matter of practice and procedure within the scope of the proceeding, in violation of Government Code Sections 11430.10 et seq,” wrote James “Tripp” Mizell, the Office of Chief Counsel for DWR, argued today.

“Instead, the alleged communications by Petitioners fall into one or more of the following categories: (1) communications between DWR staff and State Water Resources Control Board (“WaterBoard”) staff prior to the issuance of the October 30, 2015 Notice of Public Hearing andPrehearing Conference; (2) communications with Water Board staff on non-substantive or non-controversial procedural issues within the scope of the proceeding; and (3) communications with Water Board staff on issues related to the California WaterFixEnvironmental Impact Report through its role as a CEQA Responsible Agency,” wrote Mizell.

After reading DWR’s response to the motions, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said, “their response is a non denial, denial. They said the motions should be dismissed because they didn’t do anything wrong, but yet they don’t present any evidence to support their claim.” 

The Delta Tunnels project, also called the California Water Fix, is Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build two massive tunnels under the Delta to divert Sacramento River water to agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California Water agencies.

If built, the project would likely hasten the extinction of Sacramento River winter and spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other species. The WaterFix would also imperil the salmon steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers, where the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes have fished for thousands of years.

Read DWR’s response here on Maven’s Notebook website: DWR Consolidated Opposition to Motions re Ex Parte

For more information, go to: www.dailykos.com/…


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