Thank you, State Board

They did it! I am so relieved and pleased. I really worried that there would be political considerations that forced the bullshit voluntary settlements on them and once again, I would have to be giving my own allies the benefit of the doubt as they punt on something that very clearly needs doing. But they did it! They made a choice for living rivers, against turning public rivers into private money for the few. I wish it were more; I wish it were stronger. But it is such a wonderful step in the right direction that I am inspired again.

It has been hard to write when it is hard to believe that the side of the very basics, the obvious fundamentals will win out. Without optimism, I have not believed that we are capable of choosing anything over capitalism, even the very ecosystems we need to live. I am in a fair amount of despair over what we are leaving to our children. Frankly, I do not give western modernity good odds in the next couple decades. Part of why I haven’t written has been that I could only add bile and gloom; when I can’t add value, I try not to say anything.

But today I am delighted and inspired! In the face of an actual hard choice (as compared to some win-win bullshit), the State Board got it right. You know, it is time for the infinite number of Governor Brown retrospectives and of course, the discourse would be incomplete without mine on his water efforts.  He didn’t entirely align with my preferences, so naturally I’m tempted to think that little got done. But that isn’t the case. Far as I can tell, the State Board got revitalized and became wonderful. DWR got sucked into the vortex of Gov. Brown’s obsession with the Delta Tunnels and languished.

It wasn’t that long ago that I called the State Board a bunch of fearful twitchy wretches. And they were! But it has been a couple years since I’ve noticed that they are all hoppity now. They bound into meetings with a ton of ideas and energy and they look young. Honestly, in the Brown administration, the State Board has been like the American in Paris. They’ve gone from overwhelmed and scared in traffic to a fabulous jazzy finale. Felicia Marcus has been the face of that, but I imagine that she would share credit. Anyway, the State Board has a whole lot to be proud of. Not just last night’s work, but the internal transformation. (Re-listening, I can even hear the drought years in the American in Paris.)

Congratulations State Water Resources Control Board. Thank you. In addition to helping our rivers, you’ve revitalized at least me, and I suspect many more.


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10 responses to “Thank you, State Board

  1. Elizabeth


  2. Very good news. Facts, and mandates, matter after all.

  3. Anonymous

    A courageous vote; a needed vote.

  4. Noel Park

    All credit to the Water Board for their courage and devotion in the face of political, lobbying and legal pressure that most of us can’t even imagine.

  5. Anonymous

    What she said!

  6. beneichenberg

    Historic. Now, time to keep fighting. Once more into the breach, my friends.

  7. Yes! At the end of a long day, a long year, and a long (almost) decade, it was worth waiting for! May the State Board hear many more words of encouragement for their action than chiding (hint, hint fellow readers).

  8. Jon Hoge

    I think you are setting yourself up to look really foolish and in fact pretty evil (though I actually hope I am wrong). So how many years of fish population decline or status quo will it take after this is implemented before we can admit, like every other fish “victory” of the last 30 years, that this didn’t do anything in reality? Now I actually hope for the fish to return so please rub it in if they do, but when they don’t, will it finally be obvious to all this is more about the intoxicating feeling of punishing humans (seems like a common socialist trait historically) rather than improving habitat or anything at all. By the way since science matters (as long as it agrees with your de facto unchanging position that is entirely based on emotion) here is a recent post from a scientist titled “the folly of unimpaired flows for water quality management”. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    Predictably everyone will forget about this and move on to the next way to gleefully hurt people (I guess the Sacramento River is next) but maybe to inspire all of your readers you should revisit all of the concrete successes (I think I know why you haven’t done this before) that have been achieved so far in improving fish populations on the “Delta” through science based restrictions on water use and sending more to the ocean. Then comrade, in a few years you can revisit the tremendous success of this program.

    • Anonymous

      OtPR, not signing in, but here to say:

      No, we won’t “forget about this”; we’ll point to what the science has already told us. The flows should be at a minimum of 60% of unimpaired flow to have a good likelihood of fish restoration. The 40% of flow is a compromise, and may not have been nearly enough.

  9. Noel Park


    You must be doing something right when obvious shills for Big Ag are posting their spin on your blog. More power to you in the New Year.