TUESDAY: House Natural Resources Hearing On Westlands Water Settlement

ADVISORY for Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 10:30 AM ET
Contact:
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected]

 

TUESDAY: House Natural Resources Hearing On Westlands Water Settlement

Stockton, CA – On Tuesday, May 24, 2016, at 10:30 AM ET the U.S. House Congressional Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans will hold a legislative hearing on proposed water settlement bills. Link here for details on the hearing and video.

Today, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta issued the following statement:

“U.S. Taxpayers, and Californians in particular, should be alarmed that bills H.R. 4366 (Rep. David Valadao, R-CA), and H.R. 5217 (Rep. Jim Costa, D-CA) are moving forward. These bills would affirm the agreement between the United States and Westlands Water District, San Luis Water District, and Panoche Water District on a drainage resolution settlement. The settlement agreement reached in September 2015 between the Obama Administration and these large industrial agricultural, special-interest water districts, will result in a $300 million taxpayer giveaway without addressing or solving the extreme water pollution these irrigation districts discharge into the San Joaquin River, and ultimately, the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. It is exactly these type of taxpayer giveaways to corporations that have incensed voters in both parties this election year.

“Years ago, the California Department of Water Resources attempted to articulate numerous state concerns about this proposed drainage settlement that didn’t ensure a solution to the polluted water discharge problem and that didn’t include a full review under the National Environmental Policy Act. (See the attached 2007 letter from State officials to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials.) But there is a deafening silence from Governor Brown’s Administration on this settlement agreement and other federal legislation that will bring harm to the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.

“Whether it’s a free pass on allowing the discharge of selenium, salt, and numerous pollutants back into the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary, or Senator Feinstein and Congressman Garamendi’s companion bills to over pump the Bay-Delta estuary for the benefit of these same irrigation districts, the Brown Administration has failed to weigh in on needed protections for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.  Governor Brown continues to sell the Delta Tunnels to the public as benefitting the Bay-Delta estuary; if he cares about the health of the estuary, then why isn’t he advocating for the Delta’s interests with the Federal government?

“It is heartbreaking to the people of the Delta that so many of our elected officials are willing to sacrifice the health of the Bay-Delta estuary for the benefit of a limited number of special interest irrigation districts that make up only 0.3% of the state’s GDP. Adding insult to injury, they are all comfortable with American citizens footing the bill for these big polluters.”

Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington, DC watchdog group added: “We just don’t think this is the best or even a good deal for taxpayers.”

1 comment

Sacramento Superior Court Ruling: A Bullet In The Heart

For Immediate Release: May 20, 2016
Contact:
Michael Jackson, President, California Water Impact Network, 530-283-1007
Bill Jennings, Executive Director, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, 209-464-5067
Osha Meserve, Senior Counsel, Local Water Agencies of the North Delta, 916-425-9914
Bob Wright, Senior Counsel, Friends of the River, 916-442-3155 *207
John Buse, Senior Counsel/Legal Director, Center for Biological Diversity, 323-533-4416
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053

 

Sacramento Superior Court Ruling: A Bullet In The Heart
Of The Delta Plan

Stockton, CA — Contrary to the Delta Stewardship Council’s claim that the Sacramento Superior Court upheld the Delta Plan except for two needed refinements, Superior Court Judge Kenny put a bullet in the heart of the Delta Plan.

Judge Kenny ruled that the Delta Plan failed to include quantified or otherwise measurable targets associated with achieving reduced Delta reliance, reduced environmental harm from invasive species, restoring more natural flows, and increased water supply reliability, in accordance with the Delta Reform Act.  He also ruled that the Delta Plan failed to provide a flow policy that includes "quantified or otherwise measurable targets" and failed to promote options for water conveyance and storage systems.

While the Stewardship Council talks vaguely about “quantifiable performance measures,” the Decision specifically says, “A measurable target would therefore be a numeric goal that can be identified. Accordingly, to satisfy the requirement of ‘quantified or otherwise measurable targets’ the Court finds that any analysis of the Delta Plan must be informed by numeric goals that will be evaluated at a date certain to determine compliance or the measure of progress that has been accomplished. This is also consistent with the legislative direction that the Delta Plan be ‘legally enforceable’.”

Judge Kenny also discusses reduced reliance on the Delta and increased water supply reliability: “Section 85021 provides that California’s policy is to reduce reliance on the Delta in meeting California's future water supply needs through a statewide strategy of investing in improved regional supplies, conservation, and water use efficiency."  In other words, improved water reliability is not simply a matter of better conveyance in the Delta; it is improving the water supply in local areas in order to reduce the need for water from the Delta.

The Court also found that, because the Delta Plan was inadequate, the Court did not need to address the adequacy of the environmental documents supporting the inadequate Delta Plan.  In addition, the Court ruled that the state and federal contractors did not prove their allegations against the Delta Stewardship Council.  The environmental plaintiffs agree with the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) that the contractors’ arguments against the authority of the DSC to regulate the state and federal projects in the Bay/Delta were unfounded.

Statements by Plaintiffs:

Michael Jackson, CWIN:

While the Court found that it didn’t need to rule on the massive inadequacies in the existing environmental documents, it should be remembered that the Delta Independent Science Board found the Recirculated DEIR/SDEIS “sufficiently incomplete and opaque to deter its evaluation and use by decision-makers, resource managers, scientists, and the broader public.”  And the recent Independent Panel Report for the WaterFix Aquatic Science Peer Review concluded that “best available science for the greater Delta area is inhibited by important knowledge gaps and that science often provides only piecemeal and quantitatively uncertain projections of future environmental conditions in the Delta area and of fish responses to those conditions” and, consequently, “the substantial uncertainties of nearly all Biological Assessment are the dominant theme of the Panel’s findings.”  A grossly inadequate environmental document and substantial uncertainties of nearly all Biological Assessment analyses are a poor foundation for a massively expensive project to re-plumb an estuary.

Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance:

Judge Kenny put a bullet into the heart of the Delta Plan and didn’t even have to address the myriad inadequacies of the environmental document because the absence of specific numerical targets to reduce exports, lessen environmental harm, restore natural flows, increase conservation and reuse to improve water reliability, coupled with the failure to consider alternatives to the tunnels, rendered the Delta Plan inconsistent with the Delta Reform Act.  These failures go the heart of the Delta Plan and its supporting analyses and will require preparation of a new Plan and environmental document, which will further demonstrate the financial and environmental infeasibility of the WaterFix tunnels project. 

Osha Meserve, LAND:

The Delta Stewardship Council was unfortunately more interested in promoting the Delta Tunnels than carrying out the statute under which the Council was formed.  For the Council to regain any credibility, it must address these flaws.  If the Council chooses instead continue to bow to those that are intent on destroying the Delta by taking out its remaining fresh water, the Council serves no legitimate purpose and should be dissolved.

Bob Wright, Friends of the River:

The court is sending the Delta Plan back to the Delta Stewardship Council to revise the Delta Plan to do what the Delta Reform Act requires it to do. It is time for the government agencies charged with protecting the Delta to follow our laws instead of trying to ignore or evade our laws.

John Buse, Center for Biological Diversity:

The Delta Plan was supposed to address the Delta’s ecological crisis and protect endangered fish and wildlife.  This ruling recognizes that it has failed.

0 comments

Delta Flows: May 20, 2016

8 Reasons We Don’t Support the Garamendi/Feinstein Bills
By: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla

As our readers are well aware Senator Dianne Feinstein’s drought bill (SB 2533) now has a companion bill in the House of Representatives. Congressman John Garamendi introduced HR 5247 this week which completely mirrors Senator Feinstein’s legislation. What our readers do not know is that Congressman Garamendi has attempted a full court press on Restore the Delta to support this legislation beginning back in February.

Congressman John Garamendi speaking at Restore the Delta rally in 2012.

Congressman John Garamendi speaking at a Restore the Delta rally in 2012.


When Congressman Garamendi released his draft legislation, he approached Restore the Delta to support the bill. After reading the bill and being in conversation with environmental experts, fishery experts and Delta water district attorneys, we concluded that HR 5247 was another bad water extraction bill aimed at delivering water from the Delta to just 3 of California’s 58 drought stricken counties. This acceleration of water extraction for the Delta negates the conservation elements touted by Congressman Garamendi and Senator Feinstein.

However, because we believe in collaboration and dialogue, Restore the Delta organized a call between Congressman Garamendi and local Delta water attorneys, county water experts, retired elected officials, environmentalists, and fishery experts. Our concerns over the bill were conveyed clearly, and suggested language changes were submitted to Congressman Garamendi. About a week after the meeting, I personally reached out to his staff to see what would happen next. I was told that the Congressman had the suggested language changes and would be handling the legislation.

From that first week in March, until the Congressman announced the release of HR 5247 on May 16th, we never heard another word from the Congressman or his staff.

Monday morning, Restore the Delta completed a rapid read of the bill and doubled back with our environmental colleagues to confirm our findings. HR 5247 is a mirror copy of Senator Feinstein’s S 2533. Our concerns were not addressed; and a respected Congressional leader from the Delta has taken on the cause of accelerated water extraction from a collapsing Bay-Delta estuary.

Since the release of the bill, we heard directly from the Congressman himself and several of his staff members. We appreciate their efforts to resume discussion of the bill and believe firmly that sometimes you have to talk your way through a disagreement. However, Restore the Delta has been told by the Congressman verbally and more recently in writing that we are not serious about solving California’s water problems if we fail to support his position. He is wrong about that, but we anticipate he will release a letter with a statement referring to groups that don’t want solutions.

This is where the metaphorical boxing gloves come off.

We cannot and will not support Congressman Garamendi or Senator Feinstein’s bills for increasing water extraction from the Delta for the following reasons:

1) We are entering the fifth year of drought and Delta water quality protections were rolled back 15 times over the last two years. Water quality standards for the Delta are already violated on a regular and continuous basis.

2) The State Water Resources Control Board and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have failed to update the Delta Water Quality Control Plan in a timely manner. They are 20 years behind with updating standards, and litigation is now moving forward, spearheaded by our Bay Area environmental colleagues.

3) All Delta fisheries are in serious decline due to 30 years of over pumping compounded by five straight years of drought. Remember, the pumps were never shut off one day during these last five years. Pumping was slowed down only 3% of the time to protect fisheries in 2014 and 2015. Low pumping levels were set in place because the estuary was dangerously close to becoming salted up due to lack of inadequate outflows into the San Francisco Bay, threatening water quality for Metropolitan Water District of California. Fishery management agencies are enforcing pumping restrictions more closely this year because they are on the verge of rendering species extinct.

4) The Pacific Fisheries Management Council review of the Feinstein/Garamendi bill lay to rest the assertions of Congressman Garamendi that their bills are scientific and protective of salmon.

5) The complex provisions of Title 3 of the bill are likely to legislatively override existing Endangered Species Act biological opinions protecting salmon, Delta smelt and other endangered species.

6) Congressman Garamendi’s asserts to us that “monitoring equipment” can determine if Delta smelt are near the export pumps. This is inaccurate. Fishery experts have made it clear to the Congressman that no equipment can access with scientific certainty as to whether Delta smelt can be tracked due to their perilously low numbers. Remember Westlands Water District and Metropolitan Water District were busy in Washington D.C. in 2015 attempting to delist the Delta smelt in an attempt to lift Delta pumping restrictions. The Delta smelt—that tiny, tiny fish—is our region’s protection from full water exports that will destroy water quality beyond repair for every other commercial, business, human, wildlife and recreational use.

7) The Independent Science Panel recently completed a rigorous analysis of the Biological Assessment for California WaterFix. Their findings apply to the Congressman’s bill: the scientific findings on the outcomes of diverting more water from the Delta are very uncertain. To pass this legislation off as based on sound science is simply disingenuous. Fishery experts are clear that we cannot determine with accuracy if Delta smelt are near the pumps. Moreover, the Congressman’s overall plan for the Delta and water management will fill the proposed Delta tunnels with the 1.3 million additional acre feet needed to make them financially viable for the water contractors extractors.

8) The courts agree with Restore the Delta and our partners, not Congressman Garamendi, regarding what the Delta needs. Yesterday, contrary to the Delta Stewardship Council’s claim that the court upheld the Delta Plan except for two needed refinements, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny put a bullet in the heart of the Delta Plan. Judge Kenny ruled that the Delta Plan failed to include quantified or otherwise measurable targets for reducing Delta reliance, reduced environmental harm from invasive species, restoring more natural flows, and increased water supply reliability, in accordance with the Delta Reform Act. He also ruled that the Plan failed to provide a flow policy that includes “quantified or otherwise measurable targets” and failed to promote options for water conveyance and storage systems. In other words, Congressman Garamendi’s drought legislation is seeking to undo what was described as necessary in a California court this week – flow policies that reduce Delta reliance!

For ten years, Restore the Delta, the Environmental Water Caucus, and the broader environmental community have written extensively about California reaching the end of an economic era based on water extraction. It is common knowledge that the Delta watershed is oversubscribed five times before we factor in extended drought from climate change.

To place our recommended solutions all in one easy-to-find place, the Environmental Water Caucus has published its findings for over eight years, calling for water recycling, conservation, storm water capture, groundwater cleanup, cistern development, and watershed restoration. The Pacific Institute is the international leader on the soft path of water management for dealing with declining watersheds in a changing climate. They criticized proposals from Congress to wipe out decades of progress on sustainable water management with these drought bills.

Our partners at Friends of the River have written numerous letters on behalf of the Environmental Water Caucus and other environmental groups to CA WaterFix, the Resources Agency, Federal agencies, and the State Water Resources Control Board, insisting that they evaluate alternatives to California water management in lieu of the Delta tunnels.

NRDC has written extensively on the possibilities of creating millions of acre feet of new water in California through these same conservation, water technology practices.

Restore the Delta, in a more humble way, has pushed its Better Solution video and platform to government agencies, elected officials, and the press since 2012. In fact, our 2013 documentary Over Troubled Waters, covers the conservation alternatives to excessive Delta exports and the Delta tunnels.

Yet, despite our coalition’s repeated requests, state officials have never evaluated these alternatives in good faith. And now it galls us thoroughly that one of our own Delta Congressmen not only ignores our years of extensive work putting forward constructive and genuine solutions, but threatens to paint us as not offering a solution because we refuse to fall in line with his bad legislation.

California is reaching the end of an economic era based on water extraction. Congressman Garamendi, Senator Feinstein, and Governor Brown have been surrounded by advisors and supporters who fail to grasp that water is a limited resource. In order for California to achieve a sustainable economy and environment, water management can no longer be based on extraction. The old way of doing things will not hold, and our leaders of the last forty years sadly cannot seem to adapt to this changing world.

5 comments

Action Alert: These Drought Bills Need Your Attention!

Dear friends,

We are deeply disappointed that Congressman Garamendi, a resident of the Delta, and longtime ally, would partner with Senator Feinstein to support legislation that is detrimental to water quality, the aquatic food web, and the fisheries that we are fighting so hard to save. Their bills are SB 2533 and HR 5247.

It’s time for Delta area supporters to tell Congressman Garamendi and Senator Feinstein that you oppose these bills as written because they are sacrificing Bay-Delta fisheries It’s time to tell them to STOP catering to Westlands Water District and other Big Ag interests that will not be satisfied until they can pump the Bay-Delta estuary dry.  It’s time to tell them remember where they come from and who they represented first.  Do they really want the destruction of the Delta and the San Francisco Bay as part of their legacies as they near the finish of their political careers?

Here are their phone numbers, e-mail addresses and Twitter handles:

* * When you are done with taking action, please fill out the form in the bottom, we want to have 10,000 actions taken against this drought bill by the end of June! * *

Congressman John Garamendi: (202) 225-1880
| E-mail Congressman John Garamendi Twitter: @RepGaramendi
Senator Dianne Feinstein: (202) 224-3841
| E-mail Senator Dianne Feinstein Twitter: @SenFeinstein

Click here to send a direct message to Senator Feinstein and Congressman Garamendi on these bills.

8 Reasons to Oppose the Drought Bills/Talking Points for Senator Feinstein & Garamendi:

1) We are entering the fifth year of drought and Delta water quality protections were rolled back 15 times over the last two years. Water quality standards for the Delta are already violated on a regular and continuous basis.

2) The State Water Resources Control Board and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have failed to update the Delta Water Quality Control Plan in a timely manner. They are 20 years behind with updating standards, and litigation is now moving forward, spearheaded by our Bay Area environmental colleagues.

3) All Delta fisheries are in serious decline due to 30 years of over pumping compounded by five straight years of drought. Remember, the pumps were never shut off one day during these last five years. Pumping was slowed down only 3% of the time to protect fisheries in 2014 and 2015. Low pumping levels were set in place because the estuary was dangerously close to becoming salted up due to lack of inadequate outflows into the San Francisco Bay, threatening water quality for Metropolitan Water District of California. Fishery management agencies are enforcing pumping restrictions more closely this year because they are on the verge of rendering species extinct.

4) The Pacific Fisheries Management Council review of the Feinstein/Garamendi bill lay to rest the assertions of Congressman Garamendi that their bills are scientific and protective of salmon.

5) The complex provisions of Title 3 of the bill are likely to legislatively override existing Endangered Species Act biological opinions protecting salmon, Delta smelt and other endangered species.

6) Congressman Garamendi’s asserts to us that “monitoring equipment” can determine if Delta smelt are near the export pumps. This is inaccurate. Fishery experts have made it clear to the Congressman that no equipment can access with scientific certainty as to whether Delta smelt can be tracked due to their perilously low numbers. Remember Westlands Water District and Metropolitan Water District were busy in Washington D.C. in 2015 attempting to delist the Delta smelt in an attempt to lift Delta pumping restrictions. The Delta smelt—that tiny, tiny fish—is our region’s protection from full water exports that will destroy water quality beyond repair for every other commercial, business, human, wildlife and recreational use.

7) The Independent Science Panel recently completed a rigorous analysis of the Biological Assessment for California WaterFix. Their findings apply to the Congressman’s bill: the scientific findings on the outcomes of diverting more water from the Delta are very uncertain. To pass this legislation off as based on sound science is simply disingenuous. Fishery experts are clear that we cannot determine with accuracy if Delta smelt are near the pumps. Moreover, the Congressman’s overall plan for the Delta and water management will fill the proposed Delta tunnels with the 1.3 million additional acre feet needed to make them financially viable for the water contractors extractors.

8) The courts agree with Restore the Delta and our partners, not Congressman Garamendi, regarding what the Delta needs. Yesterday, contrary to the Delta Stewardship Council’s claim that the court upheld the Delta Plan except for two needed refinements, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny put a bullet in the heart of the Delta Plan. Judge Kenny ruled that the Delta Plan failed to include quantified or otherwise measurable targets for reducing Delta reliance, reduced environmental harm from invasive species, restoring more natural flows, and increased water supply reliability, in accordance with the Delta Reform Act. He also ruled that the Plan failed to provide a flow policy that includes “quantified or otherwise measurable targets” and failed to promote options for water conveyance and storage systems. In other words, Congressman Garamendi’s drought legislation is seeking to undo what was described as necessary in a California court this week – flow policies that reduce Delta reliance!

Let us know you took action! Did you call, tweet or e-mail Congressman Garamendi and Senator Feinstein?

I made a phone e-mail, sent an e-mail and/or tweeted to Senator Feinstein and Congressman John Garamendi about the federal drought bills that will devastate the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary. I oppose SB 2533 and HR 5247!

[signature]

36 signatures

Share this with your friends:

   

More background on this bill.

Delta Flows Newsletter: 8 Reasons We Don’t Support the Garamendi/Feinstein Bills

Opposition Statements by Restore the Delta and Coalition of House Democrats

Salmon Industry Oppose S. 2533

LA Times: Congress is about to wipe out decades of progress in sustainable water use by Peter Gleick

Press Democrat Editorial: Another threat to fishing communities

Sierra Club: Senator Feinstein’s Water Bill Seriously Flawed

Trinity Journal: Water plan offers no protection for Trinity

Pacific Fishery Management Council letter to Senator Huffman and Senator Thompson analysis for S. 2533

Conservation Groups: American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife, EarthJustice, Endangered Species COalition, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club – Letter to Oppose S. 2533

American Sportfishing Associations (ASA) opposes S. 2533

Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations opposes S. 2533

###

State Natural Resources Secretary John Laird  “aims to debunk myths while aiming to describe hard, even allegedly inescapable truths. Instead, he reveals the essential truthiness of the California Water Fix (also referred to here as “Tunnels”) project.” Truthiness is not truth. Read our reply to Resource Secretary John Laird’s recent hard pitch for the Delta tunnels at the Capitol Weekly Water 2016 conference via Maven’s Notebook. 

3 comments

Fed Drought Bills: Opposition Statements by RTD & House Dems

For Immediate Release: May 18, 2016
Contact:
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053

Statement of opposition regarding Senator Dianne Feinstein’s SB 2533 and Congressman John Garamendi’s HR 5247

Stockton, CA — Restore the Delta’s executive director, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, made the following statement today regarding the proposed drought legislation by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman John Garamendi:
 
“Both Senator Feinstein and Congressman Garamendi are talking a great deal about a science based solution regarding Delta water exports to the growers of the San Joaquin Valley. Their proposed mirror bills, SB 2533 and HR 5247, unfortunately ignore the depth and breadth of scientific findings that constitute the biological opinions for management of San Francisco Bay-Delta fisheries.
 
“Fishery experts from a broad range of science based organizations warn that the provisions in Title 3 of the bill are likely to legislatively override existing Endangered Species Act biological opinions protecting salmon and other endangered species, despite “certain savings clauses” in the bill.  Several provisions in this section of the legislation would authorize operations of the state and federal water export pumps in a manner that is inconsistent with protections for salmon runs and other endangered fish species.
 
“Congressman Garamendi has attempted to make the case to Restore the Delta that the science behind the biological opinions is dated.  Sadly, he has forgotten that in recent years Senator Feinstein forced a federal review of fishery science to see if additional water could be pumped for agricultural water exporters in the San Joaquin Valley. That review reaffirmed the biological opinions and the need for flows through the Delta.  Moreover, hearings in front of the State Water Resources Control Board in 2010 affirmed that the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary needs more water flowing through it — not less.
 
“Restore the Delta maintains that if Congressman Garamendi and Senator Feinstein believe that additional water can be extracted from the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary to large industrial growers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley at the expense of our collapsing fisheries, then they have forgotten that they also represent the millions of Californians who live in the Bay Area and Delta regions – whose environmental and economic well-being are tied to healthy Bay-Delta waterways.
 
“If Congressman Garamendi and Senator Feinstein care about the fate of the estuary, they should be urging the California State Water Resources Control Board and the Environmental Protection Agency to move forward now in an accelerated manner with the Water Quality Plan Update for the Delta, which is twenty years overdue.  When that is completed, then we can talk about sustainable export levels based on the most current scientific findings.” 

###

For Immediate Release: May 17, 2016
Contact:
Alexa Shaffer, 202-236-3421

Coalition of House Democrats from Three States Respond to Garamendi Drought Companion Bill

Huffman: “I cannot in good faith cosponsor a bill that will be twisted and distorted in this political process to harm my constituents.  I will continue to work with Congressman Garamendi, Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and the rest of my colleagues to promote new investments in water infrastructure and modernize outdated systems, wherever possible, to find a common ground and real solutions.”

Washington, D.C. – House Democrats from California, Oregon, and Washington issued the following joint statement in response to Rep. John Garamendi (CA-03) introducing companion legislation to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s drought bill that was heard in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources, Water and Power Subcommittee today. The House members included in this joint statement are: Reps. Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Michael M. Honda (CA-17), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Jim McDermott (WA-07), and Kurt Schrader (OR-05).
 
“Members from the California, Oregon, and Washington delegations have concerns about any legislative proposals that would harm the water quality and supply of our states, disadvantage our local farmers and fishermen, or violate tribal trust responsibilities. While we are pleased that the Garamendi bill includes language from bills that we have offered, the price our states and ecosystems may pay in exchange for longer-term provisions within the proposed legislation is too high. This legislation’s modification of environmental laws not only sets a troubling precedent, but also pressures federal and state agencies to increase diversions from an increasingly damaged ecosystem that is close to a devastating collapse. 

“Furthermore, House Republicans have indicated that they are looking to conference the Senate version of this bill with Representative Valadao’s H.R. 2898 ­­­– a piece of legislation that we overwhelmingly oppose. Any legislation that emerges from a conference would not be acceptable to many of the diverse stakeholders in our home states.

“We understand the immense pressure that severe drought conditions place on water allocations. That is why we have put forth and advocated for policy alternatives that promote greater regional resiliency and more efficient management of our water supply. We remain committed to working together to advance policies that will move us toward a sustainable water future and build the regional self-sufficiency this drought and future droughts require.”

The following are statements from individual House Members and Delegations:
 
California
 
“While I appreciate the work of my colleague Congressman John Garamendi, I remain concerned that this legislation continues to micromanage operations in the Bay-Delta to the detriment of fisheries and ecosystems. Sadly, based on the past actions of House Republicans to insert their radical rider into last year’s appropriations bill, I fear this bill too will be hijacked and used to push for more extreme water legislation that will harm California communities and jobs that depend on healthy fisheries,” said Congressman Huffman. “I cannot in good faith cosponsor a bill that will be twisted and distorted in this political process to harm my constituents.  I will continue to work with Congressman Garamendi, Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and the rest of my colleagues to promote new investments in water infrastructure and modernize outdated systems, wherever possible, to find a common ground and real solutions.”
 
“My district contains a majority of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the heart of California’s water system. I remain deeply concerned with any legislation, including H.R. 5247, that tries to dictate California water policy, especially when it will have detrimental effects on our environment by diverting more water away from the families, farmers, and economies of the Delta. This could also set a dangerous precedent for how we manage our water supply for years to come. I’m committed to working with all stakeholders throughout the state and Congress to build drought resiliency and self-sufficiency in regions across the Nation. This can be achieved by making smart investments in innovative and efficient strategies that will create more water and a sustainable water future for us all,” said Congressman McNerney.
 
“We cannot set the needs of one Californian against another in our efforts to find a solution to the state’s drought crisis,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Sacramento sits at the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers, which are directly impacted by Delta operations.  I have concerns that the legislation as proposed will negatively impact our region’s economy, drinking water supply, and ecosystem.  As our discussions continue, I will do everything I can to address California’s immediate and long term water infrastructure needs, while balancing that goal against Northern California’s needs.”
 
“No part of our state has been immune to the devastating impacts of the drought. Communities have seen their resources stretched thin and ecosystems have been pushed to the edge,” said Congressman Thompson. “This bill is not the solution. Without appropriations from Congress, local communities will never see the infrastructure investments promised in this proposal. In effect, we will be left with a bill that is dangerous and shortsighted. It will undermine water managers’ ability to balance needs across regions, and jeopardize the long-term stability of the Delta. Now is not the time to bend the rules that protect our state’s water system. Instead, Congress should get serious about effective, long-term solutions to the ongoing drought.”
 
Oregon

“This bill will have serious implications for the thousands of coastal families whose livelihoods depend on the ocean and waterways of Oregon. We support commonsense solutions to deal with the effects of California’s drought, but not if they come at the expense of Oregon’s fishing industry. Our fisheries and coastal communities cannot afford another setback,” said Oregon Representatives DeFazio, Blumenauer, Bonamici, and Schrader.

###

DroughtBillAlert

3 comments