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Wilk working on water agency project wish list

Posted: March 25, 2008 5:46 p.m.
Updated: May 26, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Lobbyist Scott Wilk is assuming a key role at the Virginia-based consulting firm hired by the Castaic Lake Water Agency to secure funding for key projects such as perchlorate cleanup and wastewater treatment.

In a letter updating the agency about its relationship with federal government agencies responsible for funding key water projects, Anchor Consulting, LLC President Harry Henderson identified Wilk as assuming a key role in those ongoing relationship talks.

The letter is among a handful of similar documents from lobbyists hired by the agency that were presented Monday night to members of the agency's governmental relations and outreach committee.

Henderson, in his letter, informed the board that Wilk will temporarily help fill any void created by longtime lobbyist Neil Siefring, who recently left the firm.

"We have yet to replace (Siefring's) position within our firm, but in the meantime, Scott Wilk and I will be the key individuals working on your behalf," Henderson said in his letter.

Topping the water agency's Washington wish list is $3.5 million worth of funding for the Eastern Santa Clara River Basin Remediation Program.

Anchor identifies "champions" in the effort to elicit necessary funds for local water projects as state Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Dianne Feinstein, who authored the California Perchlorate Contamination Remediation Act, and U.S. Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon.

According to the letter, the Anchor team along with Wilk, who two years ago served as McKeon's district director, will now "be working with Representative McKeon, his staff, and key staff of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee to ensure that once again the agency receives funding for perchlorate contamination."

The Perchlorate Remediation Act calls for $50 million in grants for cleanup and remediation of perchlorate in water sources, including groundwater wells and gives priority for cleanup grants to California water authorities such as the Castaic Lake Water Agency most affected by perchlorate contamination.

The act, introduced in February 2006, has since stalled in committee talks, last referred to the Committee on Environmental and Public Works.

Perchlorate is a cancer-causing byproduct produced in the manufacture of jet fuel, quantities of which were discovered in groundwater in parts of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Wilk, who has his work cut out for him this year working as Mayor Bob Kellar's campaign manager, continues to work hard putting local people in touch with Washington.

"I have a lot of balls in the air," Wilk told The Signal Monday, when asked about his various responsibilities.

One of his responsibilities this spring is helping lay the groundwork for a trip to Washington at the end of next month by members of the local Chamber of Commerce.

"Anchor will be working closely with the Santa Clarita Chamber of Commerce on its upcoming visit to Washington, D.C.," Henderson said in his letter. "To help establish meetings, have effective documentation and other needs."

The only other item on the water agency's Washington wish list is $1.5 million in federal funds for its Wastewater Treatment Program.


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