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Browsing the archives for the San Joaquin River category.

Senate panel approves water bill with provisions for California farmers

California Rivers, Congress - Senate, Federal gov & land grabs, San Joaquin River

By Michael Doyle | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — The Interior Department would prepare new plans to boost water deliveries and storage in California’s Central Valley, potentially under streamlined environmental reviews, under a funding bill approved by a key Senate panel Tuesday.

A six-month study, to be updated annually, would examine myriad ways to increase the amount of water that farmers in the region between Chico and Bakersfield get from the federal Central Valley Project. Separately, the Senate bill calls for expeditious completion of feasibility and environmental studies for potential new reservoirs.

The provisions, along with others targeting California, are included in a $33.3 billion energy and water spending bill that may carry special significance this year. With lawmakers from both parties voicing concern about California’s water needs, the annual appropriations measure could become the likeliest train going down the track.

“I think it addresses the water infrastructure … challenges facing the nation,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

The California water provisions set to be approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday stop well short of what the Republican-controlled House passed earlier this year as part of a separate legislative effort. Unlike the House bill, the Senate energy and water package leaves a San Joaquin River restoration plan intact, keeps irrigation contracts the way they are and abides by existing state and federal environmental laws.

Other, more aggressive measures could always pop up later. For now, though, Feinstein has used her chairmanship of the Senate energy and water appropriations subcommittee to move discretely rather than dramatically.

“Overall, I believe we have developed a well-balanced and responsible bill,” Feinstein said.

Some disagree.

On Tuesday, Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama objected to how the Senate bill redirects harbor maintenance funds for the Army Corps of Engineers. Currently, some busy West Coast ports including Los Angeles and Long Beach generate a lot of the fees that go into the harbor maintenance fund; under the Senate bill, these regions that produce more fees would receive more back in harbor maintenance aid.

“The biggest winner, by far, would be California,” Shelby noted, promising a fight if the proposed new policy isn’t revised.

However it looks in the end, the Fiscal 2013 energy and water spending bill is must-pass legislation because it helps keep the federal government operating. By contrast, a House bill chiefly authored by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, Calif., covers more ground but is strictly optional. Tactically, this means a key question has been what House provisions might get folded into the energy and water bills, or other bills that have unstoppable momentum.

“If they don’t like the bill, present us your own,” Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, Calif., urged the Senate during House debate, “but don’t just ignore Valley farmers.”

The House’s California water bill would replace an ambitious San Joaquin River restoration program with something much smaller. The House bill calls for about 100,000 acre-feet of water to flow below the dam annually, less than half of what the current law demands; the result would be hospitable for some fish species, but not salmon.

Feinstein led the way for the original San Joaquin River restoration plan and has made clear she isn’t interested in rewriting it unless farmers and environmentalists agree on making changes.

The House bill also would return federal irrigation contracts to 40 years, rather than the 25-year limit imposed in 1992, and it specifically preempts state laws that might impinge on increased irrigation deliveries.

Kettleman City, in western Kings County, California, catches a break with special language in both bills designed to encourage water deliveries that would make up for the area’s contaminated groundwater.

The Senate bill includes language meant to expedite water transfers, and it orders a study of potential forest management practices in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that might increase water yield.

Mostly, though, the Senate bill approved with minimal debate provides money, including $36 million for restoration of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This is a $4 million decrease from 2012.

Read more here:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/04/23/146545/senate-panel-approves-water-bill.html#storylink=cpy

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Bill to determine water plan’s true cost clears

Agriculture - California, California Rivers, California water, Politicians & agencies, San Joaquin River, State gov

SF Gate

Wyatt Buchanan

04/25/12

Sacramento

A Central Valley Republican wants to mandate that officials determine the total cost before constructing a canal or tunnel to move water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

The bill, AB2421, by Bill Berryhill, R-Ceres (Stanislaus County), cleared an Assembly committee Tuesday with bipartisan support.

In addition to requiring a total cost determination, the bill would also require that officials explain who would pay for the project.

Berryhill called the bill a “simple, modest, good- government measure offering an additional measure of transparency on what could be the largest public works project since the State Water Project.”

According to initial documents for the water proposal, known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, building two large tunnels under the delta to move water at up to 15,000 cubic feet per second would cost nearly $17 billion.

That includes construction and the cost to operate and maintain it for 50 years. Including interest on the bonds for the project, the total construction cost would near $40 billion. Officials also could choose a smaller project.

Berryhill wants an independent group to analyze the project.

“It’s outside the process, it’s fair, it’s balanced, it’s something we can all hang our hat on. It should give us a good determination,” Berryhill said.

State water officials have not taken a position on the measure, but note that an economic review will be part of the environmental impact document. Many opposed to the project don’t think that it will go far enough.

Supporters, however, said the bill would add burdensome requirements late in the process. Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration will declare a “proposed alternative” this summer that could be finalized by the end of the year. The project has many more regulatory hoops to jump through before construction could begin.

Wyatt Buchanan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. wbuchanan@sfchronicle.com

This article appeared on page C – 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Read more:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/24/MNA31O8HDT.DTL#ixzz1t7PktiJ0

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San Joaquin Water Officials Ready To Declare Water Emergency

Air, Climate & Weather, California Rivers, San Joaquin River

Lonnie Wong FOX40 News

March 12, 2012

MANTECA—

The rainstorms predicted for the valley this week aren’t preventing the South San Joaquin Irrigation District from declaring a water emergency.

The district provides water to 40,000 acres of agricultural land just north and south of Highway 120 through Manteca. District officials are wary of forecasters.

“They haven’t been very accurate this year. We’ve seen several of these fronts come through and haven’t materialized with a lot of precipitation.” said Jeff Shields, District General Manager.

In addition, the district provides drinking water to the cities of Manteca, Lathrop and Tracy.  The cities have backup groundwater supplies but it comes at a cost.

“”The cost of pumping and the cost of treating whereas we provide the treated surface water to them,” said Shields.

The district believes deliveries will be cut by about 30 percent. The Board of Directors will vote on the emergency declaration at its next meeting. Shields says it’s important for customers to know what to expect.

Growers must decide whether or not to dig wells, overhaul water pumping equipment or decide whether to plant a particular crop in a particular field.

“No water, no crops. Sometimes, it’s as simple as that,” said Shields.

Despite the weather forecasts, too much is at stake for the district not to expect the worst.

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Army Corps Budget Hearing Held, Bay Delta Request is $51.5 Million

Agriculture - California, California water, Federal gov & land grabs, San Joaquin River

PNP comment: This agency needs its budget cut drastically. The budget and its officials are out-of-control. — Editor Liz Bowen

Association of California Water Agencies

Submitted by Kristin Goree on Fri, 03/09/2012 – 3:30pm

The House Energy and Water appropriations subcommittee on March 7 held a hearing to examine President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request for the Army Corps.

Testifying for the Corps was Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy.  The President’s request includes $4.731 billion in discretionary appropriations which represents a reduction of $271 million, or about 5 percent, from the 2012 enacted level.

Within the $4.731 billion recommended appropriations, $1.47 billion is for projects in the Construction account, and $2.398 billion is for activities funded in the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) account.

Of the $51.5 million requested for Bay Delta restoration activities, $100,000 is for Yuba Fish Passage, $100,000 for CALFED Coordination, $200,000 for San Pedro Watershed, $1,020,000 for Sac-San Joaquin Delta Island and Levee Study, $300,000 for Sac-San Joaquin Comp Study, $7,500,000 for Hamilton City, $8,000,000 for American River Common Features, $3,000,000 for Sac River Bank Protection, $3,000,000 for Success Dam Remediation, and $28,300,000 for Operations and Maintenance activities.

READ more:

http://www.acwa.com/news/federal-budget/army-corps-budget-hearing-held-bay-delta-request-515-million

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Feinstein Waves White Flag in Water War

Agriculture - California, California water, Politicians & agencies, Salmon and fish, San Joaquin River, Threats to agriculture

Cal Watchdog

Your eyes on California government–

MARCH 12, 2012

By WAYNE LUSVARDI

In California’s historical water wars force and fraud typically prevail during battle. The consent of the governed only emerges when there is a necessity for peace and compromise.

On March 9. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., signaled she would seek a deal rather than keep fighting H.R. 1837. That’s the San Joaquin River Valley Water Reliability Act sponsored by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Clovis.  HR 1837 would have repealed Feinstein’s three-year-old H.R. 146, the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act of 2009.  Forget the similar sounding titles to these opposing pieces of legislation.

Feinstein’s H.R. 146 took water from Central Valley farmers to redistribute to commercial and recreational fishing interests in the San Joaquin River; raised water rates for Central Valley farmers to subsidize fishing and recreational “restoration”; and required that renewal of agricultural water contracts had to go through an environmental review for distribution of mitigations to special interests.

The Republican-backed H.R. 1837 would undo all this.

The problem that Feinstein faces is that two of her own generals in the Central Valley Water War defected to the enemy Republicans. The defectors are her fellow Democrats Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno and Dennis Cardoza of Atwater), both representing agricultural parts of the Central Valley of California.

And six other Democratic water warriors in the House representing agricultural areas in other states voted for the Republican bill: Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Larry Kissell of North Carolina, Jim Matheson of Utah and Colin Peterson of Minnesota.

Even Democrat Rep. Jason Altmire, who authored the amendment that broke the stalemate on the Omnibus Lands Act of 2009, voted for the Republic-sponsored H.R. 1837.  Feinstein’s H.R. 146 passed in 2009 as a rider bill on the Omnibus Lands Act.

Unsignable Bill Becomes Signable

Up until last week, falsehoods and political posturing mainly framed the issue of the San Joaquin River in the media. And the mainstream newspaper press bit into the water issue literally and figuratively by hook, line, and sinker.

As recently as Feb. 12, Sen. Feinstein twittered that she opposed H.R. 1837.

On Feb. 17, Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., issued a press release stating, “H.R. 1837’s potential for harm to our state cannot be overstated.” But was it harmful when Feinstein took water from farmers in 2009 under HR 146 to give it to fishing, recreational and real estate interests?

The green Bay Institute wrote on Feb. 29 a bulletin entitled, “It’s Back! Extremists Push Legislation in Congress to Gut the Bay Delta Project.” Hmmm.  Only Republicans are “extremists”?

Dan Bacher, editor of Fish Sniffer Magazine, called H.R. 1837 “the Salmon Extinction Bill.”  No mention was made of what land or water rights — riparian, appropriative or “area of origin” — that fishing interests held to demand environmental mitigations for their supposed losses. They wanted water rights created out of legislation and political favoritism. And Feinstein’s H.R. 146 would have given them water rights for fishing and recreation that would have trumped agriculture even during a drought!

Water Grab

Instead of buying land or water rights, fishing and recreational interests want politicians to give it to them in the name of environmental restoration. Environmentalism is just a cover for California’s water wars.  Feinstein’s HR 146 would have created no new water — just redistributed agricultural water to other voting interests and had farmers pay the tab on top of that with higher water rates.  Paraphrasing an Arab proverb: It would have been wiser for Sen. Feinstein to bring some water when going out to redistribute water. But her political party is based on dividing water, not creating new water resources.

Democratic Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Creek, asserted that H.R. 1837 was starting a “water war.”  But that water war had begun three years earlier when Feinstein grabbed water from Central Valley farmers for redistribution to fishing, recreational and real estate interests in the San Joaquin Valley

On Feb 28, President Barack Obama vowed to veto H.R. 1837.

But according to the Fresno Bee newspaper, by March 9 Feinstein was in meetings with Republican Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock to negotiate a halt to the propaganda and water grabbing war.

‘Fire, water and government know nothing of mercy.’

Feinstein and Boxer and their voting block in the U.S. Senate could have killed H.R. 1837, could have rewritten their own bill to send back to the U.S. House or could have done nothing.

But this is an election year.  Feinstein herself is up for re-election. Democrats may not have the votes needed to shoot down H.R. 1837 in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate.  Or Democrats may need bipartisan support to pass other legislation for jobs bills in their home districts to “bring home the bacon” before the election.

Thus, consent of the governed is emerging only because of political necessity, not out of any concern for a phony Delta “democracy.”  Up until Feinstein offered to call a truce and negotiate a new treaty, the only “democracy” that had emerged was a kleptocratic democracy (a government characterized by rampant greed and corruption).

“Fire, water, and government may know nothing of mercy,” runs a proverb. But hopefully Democrats and Republicans will come to an agreement of the “consent of the governed” in negotiating new terms to California’s historic water social contract between farmers and other interests in California’s perpetual water wars.

Read it:

http://www.calwatchdog.com/2012/03/11/feinstein-waves-white-flag-in-water-war/

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Denham, Feinstein seek deal on Calif. water bill

Agriculture - California, California Rivers, California water, Federal gov & land grabs, Politicians & agencies, San Joaquin River

Michael Doyle – Bee Washington Bureau

Friday, Mar. 09, 2012 | 11:23 PM

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers have quietly begun laying groundwork for a California water bill that could pass the Senate and become law.

If it happens, it will be less ambitious than one passed recently by the Republican-controlled House. It’s likely to avoid dramatically rewriting a San Joaquin River restoration plan. And, it’s going to demand some give-and-take from all sides.

“I think we have to be able to work across the aisle to help the San Joaquin Valley,” Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, said, “and we also have to be able to work across both houses [of Congress].”

In recent days, Denham met with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her Senate office to discuss the California water legislation and other common concerns. Significantly, there will be more meetings to come.

Following next week’s congressional recess, Denham said he will privately be convening again with Feinstein along with Reps. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater. Costa and Cardoza were among a handful of Democrats to vote for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act on Feb. 29.

The bill would lengthen irrigation contracts to 40 years, rather than the 25 years currently in place. It would override state law, would increase deliveries to farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and would significantly revise a San Joaquin River restoration plan.

Even as they voted for the controversial House water bill, Costa and Cardoza had stressed the need to collaborate with Feinstein in order to make long-term progress.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to reach some level of consensus on how we can move forward,” Costa said.

Two House members who aren’t scheduled to join the Feinstein meeting are the bill’s chief House author, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, and the chairman of the House water and power subcommittee, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove.

Nunes has not endeared himself to Feinstein, as he has regularly denounced her for being allied with those he calls “radical environmentalists” and members of the “hippie generation.” Last year, he sponsored ads attacking her alleged “hypocrisy” on water issues.

“We have to work together,” Feinstein said, “but it’s difficult when you’re being trashed.”

Nunes, in turn, stresses that he has other, conservative allies in the Senate with whom he can work.

McClintock has not talked to Feinstein about water legislation in the year that he has led the House water and power panel, the senator said, but the congressman’s press secretary, Jennifer Cressy, said in an email that McClintock “respects the independent role of the Senate.”.

“Congressman McClintock is looking forward to participating in the conference process once the Senate has acted,” Cressy said.

The House bill’s provision to change San Joaquin River restoration plans appears to face the stiffest Senate opposition.

Read more here:

http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/03/09/2753980/house-senate-search-out-agreement.html#storylink=cpy

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California water bill that favors farmers clears the House

CA. Congressman Tom McClintock, California water, Politicians & agencies, San Joaquin River

By Michael Doyle
mdoyle@mcclatchydc.com

Published: Thursday, Mar. 1, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Thursday, Mar. 1, 2012 – 10:41 am

WASHINGTON – The House on Wednesday approved an ambitious California water bill that favors farmers, splits the state and pressures the U.S. Senate.

In a highly partisan vote, the Republican-controlled House approved the legislation that would lengthen irrigation contracts, override state law and boost deliveries to farms south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Most dramatically, the bill replaces one San Joaquin River restoration plan with something far less ambitious.

“Flushing water into San Francisco Bay is not helping to recover species, and people are suffering needlessly,” said bill author Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, adding later that his bill “gives (water) reliability, not only to farms but to the environment.”

Approved 246-175, the bill marked one of the few times the full House has confronted California’s water woes. The nearly five-hour debate, though, also underscored how the bill has magnified rather than ameliorated regional and personal differences.

“This is a power grab,” said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove. “It’s a water grab, and it’s an imposition of the federal government over the state.”

The bill faces an uncertain future. Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer both oppose the legislation, as does the Brown administration in Sacramento, and the Obama administration has threatened a presidential veto.

“Senator Boxer and I will do everything we can to make sure it won’t pass,” Feinstein said in an interview Wednesday, “and I don’t believe it will pass.”

At the same time, Feinstein said she would “look at it and see” if individual provisions might merit separate consideration. Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno, one of only 10 House Democrats to vote for the bill, stressed that Feinstein’s participation will be essential for anything to happen.

Joined by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, Nunes introduced the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act last year in response to repeated severe cutbacks in irrigation water deliveries south of the Delta.

The legislation returns federal irrigation contracts to 40 years, rather than the 25-year limit imposed in 1992. It eases water transfers and preempts strict state laws that might impose stricter environmental standards.

Though the water is California’s, the controversy crosses borders. In a rare floor speech, House Speaker John Boehner praised the legislation, a sign it could have political legs. From the other side, suggesting broader resistance, Colorado, Wyoming and Oregon state officials warned about the dangers of pre-empting state laws.

“This direct weakening of the deference to state water law is unacceptable,” Wyoming State Engineer Patrick Tyrrell wrote. “It poses a threat to water rights and water administration across the Western United States.”

In hopes of reassuring Western officials, lawmakers included extraordinary language declaring the federal pre-emption of state laws in California would not be a precedent elsewhere. Skeptics doubt this language can make the precedent simply disappear.

Following extensive negotiations, from which House Democrats say they were excluded, GOP lawmakers further included language intended to assure Sacramento Valley residents that they won’t lose water to San Joaquin Valley farms.

“This bill places senior water right holders in a safe and secure position,” insisted Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, the chair of the House water and power subcommittee.

Read more here:

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/03/01/4302080/california-water-bill-that-favors.html#storylink=cpy

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In dry season, San Joaquin River restoration a sore point among farmers

Agriculture - California, California Rivers, California water, San Joaquin River, Threats to agriculture

By Mark Grossi – The Fresno Bee

Monday, Feb. 20, 2012 | 07:52 PM

This is the year east Valley farmers have dreaded. It’s one of the driest seasons in the past 100 years, and they must share precious water with the federal government to restore the San Joaquin River.

It’s a tender subject among the 15,000 farmers who irrigate with the San Joaquin. For 18 years, they fought a losing legal battle against restoring the dried river and finally agreed to cooperate in 2006.

Every year of the legal fight and every year since the agreement, they have worried about this kind of dry year during the restoration. The snowpack is a third of what it should be, and their livelihood is at stake.

“Yes, it will be hard this summer,” said Cathie Walker, who farms 600 acres of citrus in Tulare County with her brother, Kevin Riddle. “These trees can’t go without water.”

Neither can the river restoration project, which is scheduled to reintroduce salmon into the river in late December. The restoration began in fall 2009 with experimental flows of water released from Friant Dam. By 2010, the dried portions of the river had been refilled.

Restoration water releases probably will be reduced this year because of the dry winter, says the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, but they won’t be eliminated.

Farmers are preparing by re-drilling old wells, arranging to buy water from neighbors and hoping to tap underground water banks. Water districts have saved as much water as they can in reservoirs.

Now everyone waits for storms in the next six weeks, hoping for nature to help them live with the agreement they made in 2006.

But farm officials still argue details of the deal with environmentalists. A clash surfaced earlier this month on a blog by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which represented environmentalists in the long-running lawsuit over the river.

Scientist Monty Schmitt of NRDC said that the restoration program has actually helped farmers by boosting their water supplies by 100,000 acre-feet since it began in 2009. That much water is equal to about a fifth of the storage at Millerton Lake.

Schmitt’s calculations include more than 300,000 acre-feet of water made available last year because of a wet winter. Farm representatives challenged the idea, saying the extra water would have been available with or without the restoration program.

Farmers have actually lost more than 270,000 acre-feet of water to the restoration since 2009, according to the Friant Water Authority, which delivers water to farmers. There are no farm water gains coming from the restoration, says Dan Vink, general manager of the Lower Tule-Pixley Irrigation Districts in Tulare County.

“The river restoration program is not some magic bean that creates something out of nothing,” he wrote as a comment on the blog.

Emotions run deep on both sides of the issue.

For six decades, the river’s water has irrigated 1 million acres across the east Valley, which blossomed into a multibillion-dollar economy from Merced County to Kern County. Rural towns, such as Reedley, Dinuba and Lindsay, found a more stable economic footing.

READ more:

http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/20/2729901/san-joaquin-river-restoration.html

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H.R. 1837 passes to stop government-made droughts

Agriculture - California, CA. Congressman Tom McClintock, California water, Federal gov & land grabs, San Joaquin River, WA Congressman Doc Hastings, Water rights

Dear Friends,

Tonight, with the passage of H.R. 1837 by the House Resources Committee, we have made significant progress in our effort to restore the flow of water to farms and rural communities (full video). See my press release below:

 

Nunes Water Bill Passes Committee – Heads to Full House

Bipartisan vote supports water security for farms and rural communities

 

Washington DC– Today, the House Natural Resources Committee approved on a bipartisan basis H.R. 1837, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act. The bill will restore the flow of water to farms and rural communities, while protecting the property rights of all Californians. It will also make unnecessary the construction of a $12 billion peripheral canal to bypass the Bay-Delta.

“I commend the hard work of Chairman Doc Hastings, Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock, and Rep. Jeff Denham. Their efforts are greatly appreciated by the people who have suffered under government-imposed water shortages,” said Rep. Devin Nunes.

 

“Today’s action sends a strong message to the people of California that House Republicans are fighting to deliver water, jobs, and security to their communities. Our work today comes after years of negligence by Democratic super-majorities and is the first step in keeping our promise to Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley residents,” Nunes continued.

 

During the prolonged committee markup, bill opponents complained about the complexity of the issue and the lack of time they had to consider it.  However, the most vocal critics of the bill were the same lawmakers who refused to offer their own plan or allow debate of the Nunes plan during Democratic super-majorities.

“This bill is a remarkable North-South compromise that will protect all water users. Those who continue to obstruct the bill are being exposed for their extreme views. This is particularly true of California’s Senators who have yet to offer any alternatives to H.R. 1837. Feinstein and her allies can kill H.R. 1837, they can write their own bill and pass it or they can continue to do nothing. Whatever they choose, they will have to defend their position to the people of California. There will be no more hiding,” said Nunes.

 

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act has broad support from throughout the state. Cities, counties, and water districts from Kern County to the Oregon border have endorsed the bill.

For more information, please visit www.nunes.house.gov/water.

Thanks for your interest in this important issue.

Sincerely,

Devin Nunes

MEMBER OF CONGRESS

If you would like to contact me, please visit my website at www.nunes.house.gov.

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H.R. 1837 will end future man-made droughts — bring job and water supply certainty to CA.

Agriculture - California, CA. Congressman Tom McClintock, California water, San Joaquin River, WA Congressman Doc Hastings

Committee to Act on Plan to End California’s Man-Made Drought and Restore Water Supplies and Jobs
Natural Resources Committee Scheduled to Move this Week

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 14, 2012– House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) and California Representatives Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, Tom McClintock and Jeff Denham today announced that comprehensive legislation, H.R. 1837, will be considered and amended in Committee to end future man-made droughts, bring job and water supply certainty to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys in California and decrease reliance on foreign food sources.

The markup is scheduled for Thursday, February 16th at 10:00 AM.

The bill is a comprehensive solution that would restore water deliveries that have been cut-off due to federal regulations and environmental lawsuits, ensure a reliable water supply for people and fish, secure water rights, and save taxpayer money by ending unnecessary and dubious government projects.

The bill could protect up to 30,000 jobs, generate millions in expedited federal revenue, and save American taxpayers and ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars. During Committee consideration, a comprehensive amendment to the bill will be introduced. The bill, as amended, will now secure northern California’s property rights and offer unprecedented protections for senior water rights holders.

“I’ve traveled to California and heard firsthand how the man-made drought severely impacted farming communities in the San Joaquin Valley. The Pelosi-led Congress sat idly by and did nothing, while we are delivering on a package now that delivers real relief to parts of northern and southern California. I applaud my California colleagues in finding a fair compromise on this important legislation,” said Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04).

“I am pleased that after four years of inaction by Democratic super-majorities in Congress, we are now – under Republican leadership – able to move forward with this important legislation. We have crafted a good bill that not only restores the flow of water but will ultimately make unnecessary the construction of a $12 billion canal to bypass the Bay-Delta,” said Rep. Devin Nunes (CA-21).

“There are over 2 million unemployed Californians right now, yet the government continues to put a tiny, non-native fish above the job creation possibilities of flowing water. We need to get our priorities straight and put Californians first. That’s what this bill does, and I’m proud to stand on the side of California families and job creation,” said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA-22).

“We have been striving for a resolution that fully protects Northern California water rights and I believe we have accomplished that with the revisions to this measure. The amendment will extend the full protection of federal law to all Northern California senior water rights holders, while assuring that surplus water is put to productive use creating jobs for Californians. California is a unique case of conflicting federal and state jurisdictions in the management of its water resources. This agreement, achieved through the active participation of water districts across Northern California, assures that their priority water rights will be forever secure and inviolable,” said Water and Power Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (CA-04).

“For decades, there has been more talk than action in dealing with California’s water crisis. H.R. 1837 provides a plan for a reliable and sustainable water supply for families, farmers, and communities throughout California. Our great nation’s economy continues to struggle and record numbers of people remain unemployed, the best opportunity we have to put people back to work is utilizing our natural resources,” said Rep. Jeff Denham (CA-19).

Background:
In 2009, federal regulations to protect a 3-inch fish – the Delta smelt – led to the deliberate diversion of over 300 billion gallons of water away from San Joaquin Valley farmers. This cost thousands of farm workers their jobs, inflicted up to 40 percent unemployment in certain communities, and fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile farmland.

The Pelosi-led Congress did nothing to reverse the plight of the San Joaquin Valley and reportedly obstructed Republican actions to reverse the situation. H.R. 1837, as amended, reflects Republican promises to avoid another man-made drought.

The bill:

  • Restores water deliveries to communities by codifying the historic, bipartisan State/Federal agreement known as the “Bay-Delta Accord.”

  • Reforms punitive federal laws, the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, in order to provide fairness to ratepayers, promote transparency and accountability, and save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • Allows water users to pay off federal debt early.

  • Protects and secures private property and senior water rights.

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