My. That NAS review of the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan was really something. Their review sure didn’t pull any punches. If you’ve read the newspaper articles, I presume you’ve seen the quote saying that the BDCP (pg 43):
…creates the impression that the entire effort is little more than a post-hoc rationalization of a previously selected group of facilities, including an isolated conveyance facility…
Of course it is. We’ve known that BDCP was rigged by Schwarzenegger and Snow. It is funded by the State Water Contractors and Westlands, who have made it perfectly clear that they only care about it about BDCP so far as it delivers water to them. There’s no surprise here. Take a look at the Steering Committee for BDCP. (You can click on the quadrants to get a list of names, which wasn’t obvious to me at first.) We know who these people are. Resources Agency in the last administration was clearly directed to push the Peripheral Canal though, since Schwarzenegger wanted it. Jason Peltier at Westlands likes to go around to public meetings telling the audience that Westlands is like a fox with its paw in a trap and should be expected to act without integrity for its very survival. They’ve told us who they are; there should be no surprise.
You know who I’m disappointed by? The enviros in the light teal quadrant. We find out from the National Academy of Science that the whole document is a mish-mash with no priorities, leaving it potentially ineffective? Why didn’t they tell us? Their people sit on the Steering Committee, so they either knew this or they’ve failed their duty to that process. I really do understand the power of influencing from the inside. I’m not one of the people calling them ‘corporate enviros’ for being willing to compromise and get some of what they want. I don’t even think that supporting a Peripheral Canal (if they do) is in conflict with being an enviro; I myself am an enviro that supports the Peripheral Canal. I’m not looking for exceeding enviro purity.
But after reading the NAS report, I feel they have let the bigger enviro community down. At some point, even in a collaborative process, you have to either get the group to incorporate your goals or you have call the process out. Enviro presence validates this process and Plan, but in the November plan the NAS reviews, the enviro goals aren’t being met. None of the possibilities are good. Did the enviros not realize that they were being played? Then we need sharper advocates. Were they co-opted by being in the back room and playing with the big dogs? Surely not. Did they have a triple back-flip plan to get what the environment needs under the Brown administration? That’s a dangerous game, since the timing of the Delta Plan is so tight. Or were they simply not powerful enough against the combined force of the last administration and the big contractors paying for the work? In that case, they should be using the power they do have. They should make a loud fuss, saying that the BDCP is a cobbled-together mess to justify a Peripheral Canal. They should withdraw, on the grounds that this isn’t a process designed to achieve enviro goals. They should have told us about these problems with the Plan loud and clear. We shouldn’t have had to hear about it from the National Academy of Science.