At last week’s public Bay Delta Conservation Plan meeting, one stakeholder questioned whether the new, transparent process promised by the Brown administration last year is really that much better than the process under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In April 2011, Brown’s administration assured worried Delta folks that the process for the BDCP (peripheral tunnels plus habitat restoration) would be more open. Working groups involving Delta landowners would meet regularly, examining various aspects of the plan. Discussions would emerge from within the proverbial smoke-filled rooms.
But Melinda Terry, manager of the North Delta Water Agency, said at Thursday’s meeting that some of those working groups haven’t met in months. Interested parties are informed about what’s going on at periodic public meetings like the one held last week, but no longer are they directly involved in actually shaping the content of the plan, she said.
“We really don’t have an avenue in this process, and it’s been very frustrating,” Terry told Deputy Secretary for Natural Resources Jerry Meral. “My one plea is going to be, when you come out with your draft (plan), please don’t indicate that it really had the input of these stakeholders and that we helped develop it. My agency will be put in a position to refute that.”
Terry said she believes the administration had “every intention” of creating a transparent process, but in her opinion that process has “failed.”
Meral called her concerns “valid.” He offered to go through the draft plan, once it is released, “chapter by chapter” to talk about what’s in it.