Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

First groundwater ordinance hearing set
by David Smith, Siskiyou Daily News September 17, 2010
Yreka, Calif. — Members of the public can get ready for the first reading of an ordinance that would allow for the creation of Groundwater Advisory Committees in the county, after the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted to hold the hearing at its September 21 meeting.

The ordinance would allow the board to create by resolution advisory committees in each groundwater basin, with the board expressing its intent recently to start in the Scott Valley.
Scott Valley resident and member of the group Protect Our Waters (POW) Liz Bowen asked the board at Tuesday’s meeting to not pass the ordinance, which she feels is “redundant and creates another level of beauracracy.”

“I look at this as a proactive move by the county,” District 3 Supervisor Michael Kobseff stated in response, citing the groundwater issues coming to the forefront for counties statewide.

One issue involving the county directly is the Environmental Law Foundation v. State Water Resources Control Board, in which the county is named as a defendant, in a case where the plaintiffs seek to have groundwater regulation defined as a duty under the public trust.

Board Chair Marcia Armstrong noted a groundwater study that has been conducted by a student from the University of California, Davis campus that she said is heading to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board in October. She explained that she believes that local landowners have not had input on the study and that the county does not have control over the information.

The logic behind creating the advisory committees has been touched upon at previous meetings and again at Tuesday’s meeting, with Natural Resources Policy Specialist Ric Costales stating that the committee is intended to provide community input on board decisions, with committee members monitoring and tracking groundwater issues in the county. It was also noted at the meeting that the committee would have no regulatory authority.

Bowen, however, told the board that she considered the committee to potentially be a “Trojan Horse,” allowing state agencies an opportunity to wrest control of the group away from the public.

County Counsel Thomas Guarino explained that with the committees created under ordinance and resolution, a change to their structure can only be done through the public hearing process before the board.

Bowen’s final concern expressed in her discussion with the board was the potential makeup of the committee, which she believes should have members of POW involved, due to that group’s distrust of other water users groups in the valley.

Armstrong noted that anyone can apply for the committee, which by resolution would have 13 members representing various regions within the Scott River groundwater basin.

The board chose to support District 1 Supervisor Jim Cook’s motion to hold the first reading on September 21, with two readings required before the ordinance can be adopted.
Home Contact


              Page Updated: Tuesday September 21, 2010 02:14 AM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2010, All Rights Reserved