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The Revolving Door

Most of the people involved in environmental or water policy in state government come from what we know as the environmental movement, not from business, and move freely between the two worlds.

Dec 17, 2013

As the Bay Delta Conservation Plan was being released to the public, Jerry Meral, the man mostly associated with trying to get it completed has announced his retirement. Most of the people involved in environmental or water policy in state government come from what we know as the environmental movement, not from business, and move freely between the two worlds. Meral is no exception, going back to the first Brown administration with the DWR, then on to the Planning and Conservation League, followed by Friends of the River, Sierra Fund, Restore Hetch Hetchy, and finally with the Natural Resources Agency.

It's difficult to imagine Central Valley farmers getting a fair shake when most of the decision-making people are in the mold of a Jerry Meral. He led efforts for decades "against the construction of large dams" in California. How are we supposed to believe that someone who spent the greater part of his life fighting dams will have the ability to see both sides of this issue? No doubt his replacement will be like-minded.

We don't see how the BDCP can possibly work without a larger supporting storage system. Meral has a pool on the Tuolomne River named after him, but we don't think anyone making water policy in California will ever have a dam named after them. That alone tells you all you need to know.

From The Maven's Notebook: "Mr. Meral was director of the western water program of the Environmental Defense Fund in the 1970s; he served as the deputy director of the Department of Water Resources during the first Brown administration; after that he was executive director for the Planning and Conservation League until 2003. He led efforts in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s against the construction of large dams, helped to form Friends of the River and the Tuolomne River Trust, and has served on the board of the Sierra Fund and Restore Hetch Hetchy. Jerry Meral is an avid kayaker and considered a pioneer; Meral’s Pool, the start of many white water rafting trips on the Tuolomne River, is named after him."

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