No more meetings for Lahontan |

No more meetings for Lahontan

by Andy Bourelle

No more Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board meetings will be canceled this year. However, that isn’t because the board now has a quorum and can hold meetings. It’s because the state agency has decided not to schedule any more meetings until it gets another board member and, with that, a quorum.

The board has been without enough members to hold a meeting since January when newly elected California Gov. Gray Davis withdrew the nominations of 134 people picked by his predecessor to serve in an array of key state jobs.

Lahontan’s nine-member board already had four vacancies, and the governor’s action created two more. Since then, one member has been appointed, but one more seat must be filled before there is a quorum.

“Until we actually get a board member, we’re not going to schedule any more board meetings,” said Harold Singer, executive officer of Lahontan. “There aren’t any permits, at this point, being held up as a result of not having a board meeting. Clearly, there are a number of enforcement actions that are outstanding. But in most cases, and in the more serious ones, the situation has been addressed.”

Lahontan is one of nine regional boards comprising the California Water Quality Control Board. Its jurisdiction stretches 570 miles from the Oregon border to the northern Mojave Desert. The board is responsible for protecting water quality within its region.

Meetings usually happen once a month, rotating from Victorville to Lake Tahoe. They sometimes take two days, and Singer said the next one likely would require more time than that to eliminate the backlog of work that needs to be addressed.

The California Environmental Protection Agency reviews applications for the seats and forwards the acceptable ones to the governor’s office. There are a number of factors that limit who is eligible for the appointments.

“There are some limitations. You can’t just pick anyone off the street,” Singer said. “You don’t want people serving on the board who are regulated by the board in some way.”

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