Bay Delta Conservation Plan Proponents in 'Pay to Play' Scandal
Written By EGN on Saturday, February 15, 2014 | 02:30
By Dan Bacher |February 15, 2014 |
An opinion piece by Robert Gannon, co-editor of the East Bay Express, reveals that in the current Sloat and Higgins lobbying scandal, one of Sloat’s clients has been the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, a strong proponent of Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels.
Sacramento lobbyist Kevin Sloat, founder of the Sloat Higgins Jensen & Associates lobbying firm, recently set a new record when he reached an agreement with the state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) to pay a fine of $133,500, the largest ever for violating state laws that regulate lobbyists.
Gannon reported, "...Another of Sloat's clients is the powerful Metropolitan Water District, which supplies water to much of Southern California. In the past decade, Metropolitan has paid Sloat's firm $1.89 million, and in the past few years, his primary job on behalf of the district has been to lobby for the construction of two giant water tunnels in the Central Valley that would ship Northern California river water to the south.”
To read Gannon's article, “Pay to Play in the State Capital,” Feb. 12, 2014, here.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, responded today to Gannon's relevation.
“This connection to the pay to play relationship between Sloat’s firm, Metropolitan Water District, and Governor Brown may very well explain why Gov. Brown refuses to meet with leaders from the Delta community regarding the Bay Delta Conservation Plan," she stated.
“It may also help explain why Gov. Brown recently said that he has asked President Obama to have Federal scientists ‘cooperate’ with moving the project forward, even though the Environmental Impact Report reveals that it will not protect Delta fisheries or make any additional water for Californians. And it may explain why the governor has failed to call for a comprehensive cost benefit analysis that will show who will pay vs. who will benefit from the project," Barrigan-Parrilla said.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California describes itself as "a consortium of 26 cities and water districts that provides drinking water to nearly 19 million people in parts of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties." The district, along with the Westlands Water District, Kern County Water Agency and Santa Clara County Water District, is lobbying for the construction of the fish-killing peripheral tunnels.
Restore the Delta on Monday revealed that just two San Joaquin Valley agricultural contractors, Westlands Water District and Kern County Water Agency, used more water than Metropolitan Water District and Santa Clara Valley urban users combined.
Those four agencies together used an average 3,272,699 acre feet of water per year. Of these four water district proponents of the peripheral tunnels, the urban users get 45% of the water they share, while huge agribusiness in the Westlands and Kern County get 55% of water exports.