Lawmakers called for a top Brown Administration official's immediate resignation today following California Natural Resources Deputy Director Jerry Meral's statement that the controversial Bay Delta Conservation plan has little to do with ensuring the restoration of the critical Bay Delta ecosystem.
Despite repeated Administration assurances to the contrary, Deputy Director Meral acknowledged in a meeting with Northern California stakeholders last week that "BDCP is not about, and has never been about saving the Delta. The Delta cannot be saved."
Meral's statement, if accurately reported, suggests the Brown Administration intends to explicitly violate the established statutory co-equal goals of ecosystem restoration in the Bay-Delta and water reliability throughout the state. This fuels speculation that the Administration's plan, if unchanged, will devastate the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the communities that rely on it, a concern that Northern California Lawmakers and other stakeholders have voiced throughout the process.
"Director Meral's comments suggest the Brown Administration has violated the public trust. He needs to be held accountable for that. And now the Administration needs to be forthcoming as to whether they intend to honor their stated goal to restore the region's already struggling habitat, or whether this is simply a water grab which will drive the Bay-Delta to ruin. Based on his comments, Deputy Director Meral should resign immediately" -- U.S. Rep. George Miller (CA-11)
"Deputy Director Meral's statement is contrary to everything he and his colleagues have told us in the past. If BDCP is not about restoring the Delta, then it's all about shipping water to the south at the expense of our farming families, fishing families, wildlife and the environment. Meral and his friends are trying to rob families of their water and livelihoods. We deserve to have someone committed to protecting the Delta." --U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5)
"The Brown Administration continues to fail the Delta and its residents. We all share a desire to improve the Delta and ensure that the families, farmers, and small business owners in this region are made a part of the process. Director Meral's statement that the Delta will inevitably be destroyed is unacceptable. There must be accountability, and Delta residents need to know if the Governor is committed to restoring the region. I stand willing and eager to work with the administration to address these needs, but only if they are forthright in their efforts." --U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA-9)
"While I find the statement made by Dr. Meral to be on its face extremely disappointing, the larger issue I have is with the way the State of California has led the BDCP effort in general. Despite repeated requests from northern California to have a real role in development of the plan we have continued to be shut out of the process. A project in our backyard of this magnitude simply cannot be done without northern California interests at the table." --U.S. Rep. Doris O. Matsui (CA-6)
"For Deputy Director Meral to utter the shocking statement that "the Delta cannot be saved' makes him eligible for Former Deputy Director of Natural Resources. The Brown Administration's plan for the Bay Delta needs to be reversed from more water for Southern California to saving the Delta. Period." -- U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18)