Ag Today January 17, 2018

Illegal meetings in Delta tunnels case, opponents claim

A state agency that is supposed to independently judge the merits of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed Delta tunnels has simultaneously been holding meetings illegally with project proponents, critics allege in a pair of motions filed this week.

The State Water Resources Control Board on Thursday is scheduled to resume lengthy public hearings that could result in a permit that would allow the $17 billion project to move forward.

Behind closed doors, however, board staff, as early as 2015, have been conferring with representatives of the state Department of Water Resources, the agency leading the tunnels effort.

A water board attorney denies that the meetings were illegal. Project opponents, however, say the meetings violated so-called “ex parte” rules that require all of the participants in the public hearings to be included in discussions that are central to the case.

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