ICYMI 11/15/23: LA Times – Environmentalists unhappy with Governor Newsom’s water policy

New poll finds that California voters disapprove of Newsom’s performance as governor– LA Times 11/7/23
A new Los Angeles Times/UC Berkeley poll found Newsom’s approval rating sinking to the lowest point of his nearly five years in office, with 44% of respondents having a favorable view of his job performance and 49% disapproving. There may be several explanations; like barnacles on a ship, negatives tend to accumulate the longer a politician stays in office.
Some on the left are disappointed with Newsom’s approach to the state’s homelessness and mental health crises. Some environmentalists are unhappy with the governor’s water policy.

Restore the Delta provides context:
Governor Newsom’s water policy inadequately included tribes and environmental justice communities. The overdue Bay-Delta Plan is still in the process of review from organizations and communities as the first public hearing on the Draft Staff Report for Phase II of the Bay-Delta Plan starts this Friday.

The Newsom administration is pushing for the “voluntary agreements” as an alternative to the Bay-Delta Plan. It is a private, incomplete, and discriminatory process – in which most Californians were left out of having a say in water allocations. A way to address this prolonged and exclusive process is to initiate water rights reform as well as reestablishing tribal water rights to better protect tribal and environmental justice communities. 

Another concerning issue that Governor Newsom has sought is utilizing SB 149 to streamline the Sites Reservoir Project which would divert water from the Sacramento River. 

Considering that “streamlining” action taken by Newsom, what does that mean for the Delta Tunnel? This raises concerns that Newsom could use the same legislation to enact and streamline the Delta Tunnel process, continuing the degradation of the Delta.

State agencies need to stray away from environmentally devastating projects that will impact tribal and environmental justice communities. Rather, there should be a focus on sustainable urban water projects that will help not hinder these communities such as floodplain and groundwater restoration. Additionally, this could also be utilized to bring supply and demand in balance for agriculture.

The Governor’s current policy decisions are not cutting it, but floodplain and groundwater restoration, sustainable urban water projects, bringing supply and demand in balance for agriculture, reestablishing tribal water rights, and water rights reform to protect tribes and environmental justice communities could put us on the right track. 

Related Posts