Rep. David Valadao’s H.R. 5781 Throws Out Protections for Fisheries, Farms & Humans; Turns Up the Pumps for Westlands Growers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546;; Twitter: @shopcraft; @MrSandHillCrane; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

Delta Tunnel Opponents: Rep. David Valadao’s H.R. 5781 Throws Out Protections for Fisheries, Farms & Humans; Turns Up the Pumps for Westlands Growers
Central Valley Congressional Representatives seek to smother Endangered Species Protections, and Overrule Delta Smelt Biological Opinions

Stockton, CA- Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build Peripheral Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today criticized Representative David Valadao for trying to push through a “drought relief” measure that would allow more water for Westlands’ and Kern Water Districts’ mega-growers in the midst of a severe drought. “Congressman Valadao’s bill is more of the same from this Congress which is bent on circumventing state water rights and stopping state and federal agencies from determining and implementing safe water export levels for San Francisco Bay-Delta fisheries, Delta farms, and Delta communities” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta.

“The sponsors of this legislation, Reps. David Valadao (CA-21), Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), Ken Calvert (CA-42), Jim Costa (CA-16), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), and Tom McClintock CA-04), favor big industrial growers who have planted tens of thousands of acres of almonds and other permanent crops in the midst of the drought, and those who seek to profit from selling water to the detriment of Northern California rivers, groundwater supplies, and the Bay-Delta estuary,” added Barrigan-Parrilla.

Members of Congress are manipulating the impacts of drought conditions to serve wealthy special interests. They’re framing the bill as non-controversial, and bipartisan, but it would smother Endangered Species Act protections, overrule the Delta smelt biological opinions, and increase pumping from the Delta, when fisheries need flows presently to recover from the drought. “These same Congressional Representatives never consider what will be the economic impacts on the Bay-Delta economy as water quality and fisheries continue to deteriorate from decades of over pumping the Delta. They continue to exclude the 4 million residents of the Delta region, even though their economic and environmental well-being is tied to the health of the region. We are tired of their ongoing political assault on our communities,” concluded Barrigan-Parrilla.

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