The Delta Stewardship Council meets in Sacramento. Photo by Dan Bacher.
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) has introduced a bill, AB 1194, that would would add four voting members, appointed by representatives of the Delta region, to the Delta Stewardship Council. The four additions would increase the Council’s voting membership from seven to 11 — and address a great injustice in the absence of Delta residents from the could.
Legislation signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger 10 years ago created the Delta Stewardship Council to develop the Delta Plan and manage the plan after its implementation. However, residents of the Delta region are barely represented on the Stewardship Council, even though it makes decisions that affect the economy and environmental health of the Delta region and the everyday lives of the people who live here, according to Fraser.
“My goal is to ensure appropriate representation for Delta communities in matters that come before the Stewardship Council for decisions,” said Frazier, who is a co-chair of the Legislative Delta Caucus. “Currently only one member, the chair of the Delta Protection Commission, lives in the Delta region.”
“It is absolutely essential that Delta residents have a voice in determining the future of this region,” said state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), who co-chairs the Delta Caucus with Frazier.
Of the four new voting members that AB 1194 would add, one would be appointed by communities in the primary zone of the Delta, one by communities in the secondary zone of the Delta, and two more, according to their expertise, by the five Delta counties, according to Frazier
Frazier’s bill would also add two additional non-voting members to the Stewardship Council: one sitting state assemblymember and one sitting state senator, appointed by leadership of these bodies.
“These changes would align the Stewardship Council’s membership with the rules governing the other two Delta agencies, the Delta Protection Commission and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy,” according to Fraser, whose district encompasses a large portion of the Delta.
Five members of the Delta Legislative Caucus are coauthors of AB 1194.
The bill was introduced at a critical time for the Delta and West Coast fisheries. In his state of the State on February 12, Governor Gavin Newsom called for an end to Jerry Brown’s Twin Tunnels, but said he supports one tunnel.
“I do not support the Water Fix as currently configured,” said Newsom in his state of the state address. “Meaning, I do not support the twin tunnels. But we can build on the important work that’s already been done. That’s why I do support a single tunnel.”
Assemblymember Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) said Governor Newsom’s “denunciation” of the twin tunnels project is a “step in the right direction.”
“I’m grateful Governor Newsom has been willing to listen to local stakeholders in the battle for the future of the Delta. His unequivocal denunciation of the twin tunnels project is a step in the right direction. I look forward to working with the governor to convince him there are alternative water delivery solutions that are economical and can be delivered in a timely manner, nullifying the need for even a single tunnel,” said Frazier.