Just how powerful is the Stewardship Council?

Stockton mayor Ann Johnston told Pavley’s committee that the Delta Stewardship Council is “the Coastal Commission on steroids.” In his comments later, Isenberg disagreed, saying that the Coastal Commission has direct permitting authority, whereas the Stewardship Council does not.

They’re both right. What the Stewardship Council can do is to use its appellate authority to block local government projects that it determines are not consistent with the Delta Plan. Anyone can appeal a “covered action” to the DSC, and if the DSC agrees, they can send the matter back to the local government proposing the project, which can revise its “certification of consistency” and resubmit it. Which can then be appealed. Etc.

It isn’t “direct permitting authority,” but it is a major hurdle for local government actions.

And of course the most powerful authority the legislature gave to the Stewardship Council is the authority to make BDCP part of the Delta Plan once fish agencies have given the necessary permits.

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