Voluntary Agreements

Governor Newsom presents this last framework as new, but what would be really new is to allow the State Water Resources Control Board to do its job: updating the water quality standards for the Bay Delta, based on the best available science, free from political pressures from powerful interests, in an open and transparent process, as required by law. Instead, this process has been repeatedly delayed in favor of negotiating voluntary agreements behind the scenes that appear to have led to a deeply flawed proposal, based on political science and not biological science, and which is actively compromised by the Trump administration`s biological advice and the resulting CESA authorization for DWR to operate the state water project. However, as part of a parallel process to avoid regulatory action, a group of interested parties negotiates what is known as a voluntary agreement, often conducted in confidential meetings (requiring public authorities, local hydraux districts and other parties to sign a confidentiality agreement to participate in the discussions for years, whatever the requirements of the Public Registration Act). . . .