Water Board Schedules Closed Delta Tunnels Meetings

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The State Water Resources Control Board on April 11 announced a schedule of meetings that it may hold regarding the state and federal government petition to divert water on the Sacramento River for Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels, but these meetings will be closed to the public and the media.

The “notice of meetings in closed sessions” was issued the same day that the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) revealed that the Department of Interior’s Inspector General has opened an investigation into the possible illegal use of millions of dollars by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in preparing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Delta Tunnels Plan, called the “California Water Fix” by the Brown administration.

The State Water Board or Board “may meet in closed  session on the following dates beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the CalEPA building, Conference Room  2510, 1001 I Street, Sacramento, California,” according to the notice.

“These meetings will consist exclusively of closed  sessions to deliberate on procedural or substantive decisions to be reached in the proceeding to consider the joint water right change petition filed by the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation regarding specified water right permits for the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project associated with the California WaterFix Project,” the notice states.

“Please visit the State Water Board’s California WaterFix web page at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/bay_delta/california_waterfix
/water_right_petition.shtml for more information regarding the project and petition. At least one
Board Member will be physically present in Conference Room 2510, but individual Board
Members may attend some or all of these meetings by telephone conference,” the announcement says.

What was the reason for the closed meetings? “The closed sessions are authorized by Government Code section 11126, subdivision (c)(3). Closed  sessions are not open to the public, but any decisions reached in closed session will be  communicated to the public through a subsequent written ruling or alternative method of  communication.”

You can find more information about section 11126, subdivision (c)(3) at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=gov&group=11001-12000&file=11120-11132

The closed meeting dates are as follows:
April 25, 2016 May 9, 2016 May 23, 2016 June 13, 2016
June 27, 2016 July 11, 2016 July 25, 2016 August 8, 2016
August 22, 2016 September 12, 2016 September 26, 2016 October 10, 2016
October 24, 2016 November 7, 2016 November 28, 2016 December 12, 2016

For more information, please contact Jeanine Townsend, Clerk to the State Water Board, at
(916) 341-5600.

About the Delta Tunnels:

The Delta Tunnels, the multi-billion dollar project that Governor Jerry Brown wants to build as his “legacy,” won’t create one drop of new water. Yet it will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

The California Water Fix will divert water from the Sacramento River to be used by corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies, and oil companies conducting fracking and extreme oil extraction methods in Kern County.