CSPA and Allies Oppose Proposed SFPUC General Manager and City of San Francisco’s Lawsuit Against State Water Board

CSPA has joined a letter opposing the prospective appointment of San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera as the new General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC).  The SFPUC is the water supply agency for the City of San Francisco.  In total, eleven environmental and fishing groups joined the May 24, 2021 letter to San Francisco Mayor London Breed and SFPUC Commission President Sophie Maxwell.

The opposition to Mr. Herrera’s appointment stems largely from a lawsuit against the State Water Resources Control Board that Mr. Herrera filed on May 14, 2021 on behalf of the SFPUC and the City of San Francisco.  The opposition also stems from statements that Mr. Herrera made to the press regarding the lawsuit, and in particular his statement that going to court “is our only option to protect San Francisco’s water supply.”

The City’s lawsuit contests the State Water Board’s Water Quality Certification for the relicensing of Turlock and Modesto irrigation districts’ Don Pedro and La Grange hydroelectric projects.

The opposition letter objects not simply to the act of filing suit, but to the lawsuit’s scorched earth legal arguments about the State Water Board’s Water Quality Certification.  The City’s lawsuit argues that implementing the flow requirements in the Certification would violate the California Constitution’s prohibition of “waste or unreasonable use” of water.  The City’s lawsuit also invokes the Trump Administration’s 2020 Rule on Section 401 of the Clean Water, which rolled back almost all of the kinds of conditions states can place on new federal licenses.[1]

The opposition letter concludes by saying: “We urge you to reject Mr. Herrera and conduct a national search for a more qualified candidate to lead the SFPUC.”

[1] For further discussion, see: http://calsport.org/news/hydropower-reform-coalition-opposes-another-trump-administration-attack-on-the-clean-water-act/See also: http://calsport.org/news/wp-content/uploads/2019-10-21.HRC_.401_Comments.pdf.



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