In two separate sessions on Capitol Hill, one held for House Republicans and one held for House Democrats, California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird briefed members of the state's congressional delegation on the touchy subject of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, or BDCP.
The ambitious plan, which includes construction of two tunnels to divert water from the Sacramento River and to reduce pumping from the south Delta, is favored by Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno as well as some big water districts in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. It also faces considerable skepticism from House members whose congressional districts include portions of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. More than 15 Democrats, including Reps. Doris Matsui, Mike Thompson, John Garamendi and Jerry McNerney attended the late afternoon briefing, many of them skeptics.
"I was pleased to have the attention of Governor Brown's administration today and look forward to our meeting tomorrow; however, I will only be satisfied when I see concrete results," McNerney said.
Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, called the meeting a "very good exchange," and no shouting could be heard from outside the room during the hour-plus meeting. The enduring differences were clearly present, though, when Costa and BDCP skeptic Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, entered into a spirited and spontaneous hallway debate following the session.
PHOTO: Looking southwest with Mt Diablo in the background, an aerial photo of waterways between Staten Island, left, and Tyler Island, right, on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton