Friday, September 20, 2013

Distilled critique of DWR’s latest escapade at its public transparency charade

By Patrick Porgans, Solutionist

Dan Bacher’s article regarding “First Amendment Project: barring public from filming a BDCP public meeting is illegal”, makes interesting reading, along with the First Amendment Project’s legalese as to whether a person can video-tape a public meeting.

The Department of Water Resources' (DWR) Public Information Officer, Nancy Vogel, did precisely what she is paid to do -- damage control. DWR's hyperbole, it is all about “transparency”, is simply public-relation rhetoric. When it comes to accepting meaningful public input DWR officials have a long track record of operating in a vacuum. Anyone that has had dealings with DWR officials see right through Vogel’s and her predecessor’s revolving-door 1970s “pantyhose one-size-fit-all” stretch the truth phenomenon; i.e., if one simply ignored the historical facts and DWR's lack-luster performance, and is mindful that to government employees like Vogel, it is just a job that pays the mortgage, then, perhaps this critique will assist in clarifying the department’s interpretation of transparency.

DWR's blatant disregard for meaningful public input is a well established fact; it is all a matter of public record. A classic example of how DWR welcomed public input was exemplified in the County of Butte, the major source of the SWP supply, wherein DWR officials and their water contractors treatment of citizens that opposed DWR's SWP Oroville facilities relicensing program was despicable. During those proceeding DWR told public participants that they were legally required to sign a “confidentiality agreement” that they would not discuss certain issues pertaining to its relicensing project. Planetary Solutionaries and Porgans & Associates were participants in the relicensing process, and challenged DWR to provide the legal basis for such a requirement. As it turned out, DWR just made it up.

It is general knowledge that DWR is rife with conflicts of interest, as a water purveyor and as a trustee of the public’s water project, and the manner in which it conducts the public's business and disdain for meaningful public input has and remains DWR’s modus operandi (MO). DWR will undoubtedly continue its MO, unless, someone steps up to the plate and take action to hold it accountable, which is exactly what Planetary Solutionaries have and will continue to do.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

by Dan Bacher 
On March 2, 2012, California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird and Deputy Secretary of Interior David Hayes committed themselves to making sure that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels was an “open and transparent" process. 

“Our agencies are taking actions to ensure a fair, open and transparent process, and the opportunity for input by all interested parties in the development of this plan to address the future of California’s Bay Delta and water supply,” they wrote in a letter to then State Senator Michael J. Rubio, who in February resigned from office in order to take a “government affairs” position at Chevron. (

Yet, the Brown and Obama administrations have gone in the exact opposite direction from the one they committed to on that date, going so far as to bar members of the news media from recording a public meeting to answer Delta residents’ questions and concerns about the controversial project to build twin peripheral tunnels. 

Restore the Delta on Friday released a video shot by a business reporter who attended the BDCP "office hours" the Brown administration held at the Brentwood Library on September 3. 

The "office hours" were public meetings advertised as an opportunity to get answers to Delta landowners’ concerns, according to Restore the Delta (RTD). For more information, go to

Friday, September 6, 2013

State Water Boards and Health Department runs afoul of Clean/Safe Water Acts
by Patrick Porgans and Lloyd Carter
Wednesday Sep 4th, 2013 5:35 PM
The following is Part Two of a story posted at on May 22. This part concerns California's abysmal efforts to meet goals set by the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. For more information, contact Patrick Porgans pp [at]
Forty-one years ago, a united Congress overrode President Nixon's veto of the Clean Water Act (CWA), which ordered states to limit pollutants in the nation's waterways. Coupled with subsequent amendments, the CWA required all states to assess and establish Total Maximum Daily Limits (TMDLs) of pollutants for lakes, creeks, rivers, estuaries and ocean shorelines. If the states wouldn't do it, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “could” step in and impose safety limits.

Some 41 years down the road and California still has a long ways to go in assessing and establishing TMDLs statewide. EPA’s latest published report indicate that only 16 percent of the State’s rivers and stream were assessed; 84 percent classified as “water-quality impaired”. Ten percent of those rivers and streams were classified as “good”, the remainder 90 percent impaired.

“California has some of the most magnificent rivers, lakes and coastal waters in the country. However, of its 3.0 million acres of lakes, bays, wetlands and estuaries, 1.6 million acres are not meeting water quality goals, and 1.4 million acres still need a pollution clean-up plan, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). Of the 215,000 miles of shoreline, streams and rivers, 30,000 miles are not meeting water quality goals, and 20,000 miles still need a TMDL. The most common contaminants in these waterways are pesticides and bacteria, followed by metals and nutrients,” according to EPA. [Refer to Part I: Dirty little secrets about CWA.]

Indeed, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) and the state Department of Public Health (DPH), based on their performance and track-record, are playing Russian-Roulette with citizens' lives, given that dangerous toxins and poisons continue to plague public drinking supplies and the waters of the state, decade after decade. Getting all of California's rivers, lakes, estuaries and ocean shorelines clean enough to drink or swim in may be decades away.

The goal of the CWA was to make U.S. waterways fishable and swimmable by 1983 and to achieve “zero” discharge of pollutants to waterways by 1985. The historical records and the current status of the widespread pollution of the public’s streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and ground water basins are a testament to the manner in which both the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972 and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDA) of 1974 are “managed” by California water officials.

Four decades and an estimated expenditure of $40 billion of federal taxpayer funds and state borrowed money under the guise of “Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking water supply”, California’s waterways remain contaminated, and, according to the data, the problem is getting worse.                                                                                                                                                             

Trends in toxicity have increased by 170 percent since 2006

Increased water monitoring data shows the number of rivers, streams and lakes in California exhibiting overall toxicity have increased 170 percent from 2006 to 2010. Source:

More of California’s waterways are toxically polluted/water quality impaired than previously known, according to a list of polluted waterways submitted by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and finalized by the agency. The data indicate an increase in toxicity and listing of water impaired bodies will continue to rise. The State Board and regional water boards administer the provisions of the CWA under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Read more.