State bills we are watching

AB 550 is Assemblymember Alyson Huber’s bill that would prohibit construction of a peripheral canal unless expressly authorized by the Legislature. It would also require the Legislative Analyst’s Office to complete an economic feasibility analysis before the enactment of a statue authorizing construction of a peripheral canal. That would include the cost of the environmental review, planning, design, construction, and mitigation, as well as the impact on taxpayers, water ratepayers, and the General Fund.

The definition of “peripheral canal” covers a tunnel, too. The bill includes protections for water supplies, water rights, and water quality in the Delta watershed.

Huber introduced this bill in last year’s session, but it died in committee. We’re glad she has reintroduced it.

SB 200 is Senator Lois Wolk’s bill imposing requirements on the Department of Water Resources in connection with preparation of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Our feeling is that the more scrutiny the BDCP receives, the better, and we’re in favor of carefully defining every word in it.

SB 571, the California Water Financing Reform Act, also authored by SenatorWolk, would task the California Water Commission with developing a master plan for water, identifying appropriate funding mechanisms for the plan, and ultimately, managing and allocating funding made available from various potential sources.

We see this as giving the CWC something useful to do while they wait to see if the 2012 Water Bond passes. The bond was supposed to provide their funding to oversee planning for “operational improvements” (Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat). Right now the CWC is like a head without limbs. And incidentally, where is their funding coming from in the meantime?

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