Making the Connection: Sound Science and Good Delta Policy

08.15.2011
Western Water

Nossaman Partner Paul Weiland is quoted extensively in the Western Water article "Making the Connection: Sound Science and Good Delta Policy," about the importance--and difficulty--of integrating science into policy decisions surrounding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

"We are now at the point where no serious scientist is making the case that any single stressor is driving the system," said Mr. Weiland, who represents farmers and public water agencies, at the Association of California Water Agencies' (ACWA) spring conference. "We have to understand the various pieces of the puzzle to ultimately solve the puzzle."

"I think it is incorrect to infer that studies funded by corporations are impure while studies funded by others are not," he continued. "Certainly, in general, a study funded by an advocacy group such as the Bay Institute is just as likely or unlikely to be subject to undue influence by that entity as a study funded by a corporation."

The bias extends to government agencies as well, Mr. Weiland said. "To the extent the implication is that the federal and state governments are independent, I would submit that such a claim cannot withstand scrutiny. Certainly, the federal government acts very much as a stakeholder in disputes over issues like wolf management, climate change and the need for a certain flow regime in the Delta."

Predation by invasive species such as striped bass and black bass "has frankly not been addressed until recently," he said. "The system for decades has been managed to benefit them and the state agrees that changes are needed. The Fish and Game Commission ultimately makes the changes and they are a politically appointed body."

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