Mike Taugher of the Contra Costa Times reports that Dr. Pat Glibert of the University of Maryland was forced to resign from the National Research Council’s Committee on Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta. The National Research Council convened the committee at the request of members of the California congressional delegation, including Senator Feinstein and Representative Costa.
The decision to force Dr. Glibert off the committee, which released its first report in March 2010 and had plans to develop a second report in the coming year, is extremely unusual. Taugher reports that the National Research Council’s decision was directly responsive to the publication of a study in a peer-reviewed scientific journal this past week by Dr. Glibert, in which she concluded that increases in ammonium downstream of the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s sewage treatment plant altered the food web in the Delta and contributed to the decline of native fish.
In response, a second member of the committee and member of the Water, Science, and Technology Board that oversees the committee’s work, Michael McGuire, resigned in protest. According to Taugher, McGuire’s resignation states, "Given the fixed points of view of many of the remaining committee members and the stilling of an important alternative voice on the committee, I do not see how I can contribute to provide a meaningful contribution." The decisions of the National Research Council and McGuire are likely to raise questions about the committee and its work.