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Council Set to Navigate OAL Process

September 2011

Continuing its process of open communication and transparency, the Delta Stewardship Council explained at a recent meeting the process by which the proposed policies in its Delta Plan will become regulations and part of state law.

The 2009 legislation that created the Council mandated that the DSC develop a “legally enforceable” Delta Plan. Part of the process to make it enforceable involves a review by the state’s Office of Administrative Law (OAL).

According to the Council’s chief attorney, Chris Stevens, all proposed regulations must be approved by the OAL and are required to be “clear, necessary, legally valid, and available to the public” before they become law.

Chart how regulations became law

“The whole idea of the state rule-making process is to involve the public,” Stevens said. “This is consistent with the Council’s transparent process.”

Stevens said that the process is not only designed to encourage public participation in the preparation of rules or regulations, but also to inform potentially regulated entities and individuals what kind of rules exist.

Council Executive Officer Joe Grindstaff made sure to clarify that the Delta Plan has a limited number of proposed regulations.

“In [the fifth staff draft of the Delta Plan], which is over 500 pages, there are only four pages of proposed regulations,” Grindstaff said.

Grindstaff stressed that the Council will not present the final proposed regulations in its plan to the OAL until an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been released and reviewed by the public for 45 days. Once that is done, the Council will submit its regulations to the OAL for a different 45-day public review.

If the OAL approves the proposed regulations set forth in the Plan, the policies are then moved to the secretary of state for final approval.

To review the current draft of the Delta Plan, click here.

State capitol

If the Office of Administrative Law approves the proposed regulations set forth in the Delta Plan, the policies would then be moved to the secretary of state for final approval.

Coequal goals

The Delta Stewardship Council was created in legislation to achieve the state mandated coequal goals for the Delta. "'Coequal goals' means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place." (CA Water Code §85054)