Assemblyman Scott Wilk’s bill requiring more transparency and accountability from the State Water Resources Control Board passed unanimously Tuesday, officials said.
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Assembly Bill 1707 would require the board to post peer review studies on their website when they impose water pollution restrictions, called Total Maximum Daily Loads, on a community that result in higher costs to residents, according to a news release by Wilk’s office.
“This website clearinghouse will provide greater transparency and accountability for boards that are unelected,” Wilk said. “It’s a positive first step that moves us in the right direction.”
AB 1707 would help alleviate concerns about the assessment and accessibility of peer reviews for TMDLs, and will increase their effectiveness by making the reporting and online availability of reviews mandatory, according to the news release.
The bill emphasizes the importance of scientific evidence justifying a TMDL be demonstrated before requiring ratepayers to provide funding, and acts as a step toward accomplishing that goal, officials said.
“The original intent of the bill sparked due to the chloride issue that had taken place in the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Curtis Raulinaitis, Wilk’s legislative director, referring to a chloride limit TMDL the board placed in Santa Clarita water in October 2013 that residents were being forced to pay for. “There was really no sound scientific basis for why they were making this decision… This is going to put them on record if they’re actually doing (peer reviews for TMDLs). We’re going to be able to see… if scientific proof actually holds true.”
The Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials committee voted 7-0 in favor of the bill, officials said.
Wilk represents the 38th Assembly District, which includes Simi Valley, part of San Fernando Valley and most of Santa Clarita Valley.
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