SACRAMENTO -- Five Congressional Democrats have demanded the resignation of a top official in Gov. Jerry Brown's administration for comments the official allegedly made about the future of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
The controversy surrounds Jerry Meral, deputy director of the state Natural Resources Agency, who allegedly told officials that Brown's water plan was never about saving the delta and that in fact the delta could not be saved.
That contradicts statements made by Brown who has said his plan would include measures to restore the delta, the confluence of the two rivers and the San Francisco Bay, which serves as the primary source of drinking water for most of the state's residents.
Brown administration officials were not immediately available for comment.
The region is at the heart of a controversial $23-billion plan by Brown to build two massive new tunnels that would divert water around the delta to Southern California. Democrats and Republicans around the delta have criticized Brown's proposal, saying it would jeopardize the future of central California's water in order to benefit residents in the southern half of the state.
Democratic members of Congress from Central California issued joint statement blasted Meral's alleged comments and demanded his political hide.
"Director Meral's comments suggest the Brown administration has violated the public trust," said Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez). "The administration needs to be forthcoming as to whether they intend to honor their stated goal to restore the region's already struggling habitat or whether this is simply a water grab which will drive the Bay-Delta to ruin."
Other Democrats who signed the statement include Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento), Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) and Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena).