Frazier defends Delta in response to state official’s comments that it “cannot be saved,” McNerney calls for resignation

By Allen Payton

Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) released the following statement today in response to reported comments from California Natural Resources Deputy Director Jerry Meral that “BDCP is not about, and has never been about saving the Delta. The Delta cannot be saved.”

I am appalled by the reported statement from the Deputy Director. This confirms what many of us in the Delta region have long suspected: that BDCP is not about Delta restoration, it’s about Southern California water interests.

For those of us who live, work, and play on the Delta, there is no doubt that ‘conveyance’ means the decimation of the Delta as a critical resource, and a devastating impact on the communities that depend on it, including the habitat that the Delta sustains.”

However, according to an article on the Huffington Post, “The Brown administration…defended …Meral and said his words were taken out of context.

Advocates Tom Stokely and Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said Meral’s comments were made during a casual conversation with Stokely at an April 15 event.

According to Barrigan-Parrilla, head of Stockton-based Restore the Delta, Meral said that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is not about saving the Delta, and that the Delta cannot be saved. She said Friday that she was standing a short distance away when she heard the comments, and wrote them down. Stokely said Friday that her account is correct.

A Resources spokesman said Meral’s comments were taken out of context during a discussion about the ‘potentially calamitous threats’ the Delta faces from sea level rise, earthquakes and levee failures.

Both advocates said Meral had been talking about his concern that a mega-flood could someday swamp the Central Valley, as it did in 1861-62.”

In response to Meral’s comments, five Democrat members of Congress whose districts cover portions of the California Delta, including Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, who also represents most of Antioch, have called on Governor Brown for Meral’s immediate resignation.

According to an article in the Stockton Record, “It’s not surprising that opponents of the administration’s water plan would exploit and politicize out-of-context comments ‘reported’ by a longtime critic of the project,” Resources spokesman Richard Stapler said in an email. “The administration remains deeply committed to maintaining a healthy Delta ecosystem.”

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