Jerry Meral will keep pushing water project, but from outside

The Sacramento BeeJanuary 2, 2014 

Jerry Meral, the chief steward of Gov. Jerry Brown's $25 billion water project while deputy secretary of the state's Natural Resources Agency, is going to work for an environmental group supporting the controversial plan.

The San Francisco-based Natural Heritage Institute said Meral, who retired from the state at the end of December, will direct its California water program, including work on Brown's plan to build two tunnels to divert water around the Delta to the south.

Meral said Thursday he will volunteer his time for work specifically on the project, but it is possible the institute will pay him for work in other areas.

"That's developing," he said.

The distinction is significant because of the state's "revolving door" rules for government officials. The institute said in a prepared statement that "in order to comply with state law regarding 'revolving door' issues, he will not be compensated for his time working on BDCP."

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