Sunday, March 18, 2012

My closest approach to an "anti-environment" vote, for what it's worth

On Tuesday, the Water District considered what position it should take on H.R. 1837, a piece of ridiculous, environment-destroying legislation that would ruin the Sacramento River Delta ecosystem in favor of Central Valley farmers.  It contradicts the "co-equal goals" that have driven attempts to manage the main water supply for California, that environmental restoration and stable water supply are to be on the same footing.  Our District is fairly uniquely situated because we have a strong environmental commitment and we get a lot of water from the Delta.

The thing is, it's not going anywhere - the legislation was written without any Democratic input and has been sent to die in the Senate.  We could take an oppose position, but that would hurt our ability to work on other legislation with Republicans that is currently in the House.

The staff recommendation was to take a "watch" stance instead of "oppose".  So here's our discussion ("aqua", btw, is the ACWA Association of California Water Agencies and a heavyweight in political discussions of water issues):

(If as often happens the video doesn't work, go here, click on March 27 video, then click on the Item 3.7 on the far left.)

Essence of my position in favor of watch instead of oppose, said a little over 20 minutes in, "My best understanding is that it's symbolic, it's political theater, and I don't want to take a hit on substantive legislation just in order to make a point."

I added a few things to make us ready to oppose it if it turns out to be more than political theater.  My position won 5-2, with the two wanting to take an oppose position.  The chair and I are the known enviros and we both supported the watch position.  The three "old guard" directors split, with one of them taking our side.  An interesting split.

I just was told today that ACWA's advisory committee retained a "watch" position, so we didn't blow it there, so far.