Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

RE: 'Meeting held on Santa Margarita project' [Village News, 11/6/08]

The Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project (SMRCUP) September 29 meeting, chaired by W. Steele, US Bureau of Reclamation, was “to update the public on this project and obtain input on issues that should be studied in the EIS/EIR (environmental) process. Many attendees, including me, are members of the Sierra Club.

Mr. Steele presented a brief SMRCUP timetable from the 1920s to 2005. Following discussions involved environmental issues and costs only. Mr. Steele firmly disallowed other issues/topics. Joe Naiman’s description of this meeting (Village News 11/6/08) was disappointing. Most of his report was not discussed at this meeting, or was disallowed by Mr. Steele.

SMRCUP’s total costs were estimated to be $140 million and FPUD’s cost of $60 million was verified by GM Lewinger. However, Mr. Steele stated both cost estimates were just a start.

Disputes over the quality of Camp Pendleton’s water were settled when I produced proof, in writing, of Camp Pendleton bad drinking water, which fact was also verified by Mr. Steele during private conversations. Daniel Lizzul, director, Camp Pendleton Water, briefly mentioned his seawater desalination investigation as possible Camp Pendleton drinking water alternatives.

Four California environmental permits and two biological studies required by House Resolution 29 were verified. FPUD/Camp Pendleton’s stated intention to move wildlife from Camp Pendleton to mountainous open spaces was unacceptable to Sierra Club members. Mr. Steele stated the SMRCUP will be terminated by the 1951 Indian Tribal Council district court case, unless future Indian Tribe negotiations prevail.

Archie McPhee


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