Delta Tunnels Hearing Delayed due to Allegations of Illegal Meetings
Today, the California State Water Board announced that it would take two weeks to investigate allegations of illegal meetings and unlawful ex parte communications between the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Board’s CA WaterFix (Delta Tunnels) hearing team, thereby postponing the first tunnels hearing of 2018 to February 2.
Protestants San Joaquin County, Sacramento County, City of Stockton, City of Antioch, and Local Agencies of the North Delta jointly prepared and filed a motion asking the State Water Board to stay the WaterFix Hearing for 90 days, requesting they review ex parte communications between DWR and the State Board’s WaterFix hearing team on Tuesday January 16, 2018.
Tom Keeling, attorney at Freeman Firm noted in a recent press release that, “The unlawful ex parte communications in this case are substantive and concern issues at the heart of the ongoing evidentiary proceeding. These ex parte communications violate constitutional due process requirements, California law, rules of the Board itself, and other ethical guidelines that apply in such proceedings.”
BACKGROUND: The most critical approval needed for Governor Brown’s twin Delta tunnel legacy project is that of the State Water Resources Control Board. The approval process was initiated by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in August 2015, by their filing of a Petition for Change. The State Board’s approval of that Petition is essential for construction of the proposed project.