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What's Their Solution?

Instead of solving problems during the wet years we continued to kick the can down the road and now we're in for a rough water year.

Feb 17, 2012

 

Families Protecting The Valley Newsletter
VOLUME 4 ISSUE 2

FEBRUARY 17 2012

 

:: IN THIS ISSUE
» WaterWar
» HetchHetchy
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Board of Directors

Denis Prosperi
Chester Andrew
Bob Smittcamp
Russ Waymire
John "Dusty" Giacone
Joe Marchini
Mark Watte
Kole Upton
Piedad Ayala
Tom Barcellos
Jim Walls

 
What's Their Solution?

Congressman Devin Nunes is moving a water bill through the House to solve California's long-standing water problems. After two years of heavy rainfall we're right back where we started before the rains came. Instead of solving problems during the wet years we continued to kick the can down the road and now we're in for a rough water year. At least Congressman Nunes is trying to do something. What does the opposition to Nunes have to say?

Congressman John Garamendi: "It simply imposes the federal will on the state. The bill adds to the conflict without solving the underlying problems, and that's unfortunate." Does Garamendi have a plan?


California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird: The bill "continues to undermine California's ability to address its serious water challenges and will erase years of progress toward a collaborative solution." Years of progress? Show me what that is.
Feinstein and Boxer: Attempts to provide more water to the valley "without accounting for where the water will come from or what the impacts will be." How are they planning to provide water?

Year after year, farmers have their water allocations cut, not even getting 100% in a year like last year. The politicians like to talk about fixing things, but they deny farmers their water while they talk. How about farmers get their water while the talk goes on? Then you can talk forever.

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/16/2724722/house-committee-hearing-on-california.html#storylink=cpy

 


Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/16/2724722/house-committee-hearing-on-california.html#storylink=cpy

 


Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/16/2724722/house-committee-hearing-on-california.html#storylink=cpy

House committee approves California water bill

By Michael Doyle / Bee Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON WASHINGTON San Joaquin Valley farmers would secure more water and an ambitious river restoration plan would be curtailed under a far-reaching California bill approved by a key House panel Thursday night.


It's still a long way to becoming the law the Senate must also sign off on the water plan, and both of California's senators oppose it. So does the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown.But following months of negotiations designed to ease Sacramento Valley concerns, bill supporters insist they're on the right course.


"Up and down the Valley, throughout the state, water districts have been able to come together," said Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock. "This bill restores water rights, so we can solve our economic problems, together."


After brushing off Democratic amendments, the GOP-controlled House Natural Resources Committee approved the water bill by a 27-17 margin. Only two Democrats, Jim Costa of Fresno and Dan Boren of Oklahoma, voted for it.


Denham, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and chief author Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, say their revised 51-page package is a way to improve farmers' water supply reliability.


The legislation returns federal irrigation contracts to 40 years, rather than the 25-year limit imposed in 1992. It eases water transfers, pre-empts strict state law and restores environmental standards set in 1994.


"It simply imposes the federal will on the state," said bill opponent Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove. "The bill adds to the conflict without solving the underlying problems, and that's unfortunate."


In a particularly controversial move, the bill ends a San Joaquin River restoration program and replaces it with a less ambitious plan. The current program designed to return both water and salmon below Friant Dam was authorized by Congress in 2009, putting into effect a lawsuit settlement reached between farmers and environmentalists.


"It's the biggest boondoggle in the history of California water," Nunes said of the current San Joaquin River program, calling his effort to replace it "the linchpin of this bill."


But curtailing the San Joaquin river restoration effort is also politically problematic. Friant-area farmers on the San Joaquin Valley's east side have supported the current program as preferable to letting a judge make water decisions.


Senate rules and traditions also give Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Senate's author of the original San Joaquin River restoration plan, considerable clout in blocking home-state bills. In a joint letter delivered Thursday, Feinstein and Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer reiterated their "strong opposition" to the House bill they called "troubling."


"Unless we're willing to work with [Feinstein], the measure will never become law," said Costa, who voted for the bill even as he complained about a "disappointing" lack of bipartisan collaboration.


Adding to the political impediments, the Brown administration's top resources officer warned that the overall House bill "wreaks havoc" with ongoing efforts to balance water use.


The bill "continues to undermine California's ability to address its serious water challenges and will erase years of progress toward a collaborative solution," California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird said in a letter sent Wednesday.


The most important differences negotiated since the bill was introduced last year deal with Sacramento Valley concerns about losing water to farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The revised bill adds several pages clarifying that the Sacramento Valley customers will get their water.


"The result is an unprecedented consensus ... that resolves long-standing disputes between Northern and Central California," said Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, the chair of the House water and power subcommittee.


Among House committee members, though, the long markup session Thursday was characterized by periodic finger pointing, blame setting and recollections of past fights some going back many years.


The chair of the resources committee, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., promised that he will do everything he can to get the bill through the House, stressing that the ball will then be in the Senate's court. And Nunes said the Republican-led House will keep passing California water legislation until the Senate relents.

  • Also Thursday, the House committee passed a Republican-led plan that explicitly ties rural schools-and-roads funding to more active logging, grazing and mining on individual national forests. The vote was 26-17.


From the website of Congressman John Garamendi:

“Following a markup of HR 1837, the so-called San Joaquin Water Reliability Act, in the House Natural Resources Committee, Congressman John Garamendi, a former Deputy Secretary of the Interior issued the following statement:

“HR 1837 turns upside down 150 years of California water law and the
allocation of water. The bill removes all environmental protections for the Delta and Central Valley rivers while allowing destructive exports of water from the Delta to San Joaquin Valley water districts.

“However, one section of the bill, Title 4, has merit in that it affirms existing water rights and area of origin rights in Northern California. Unfortunately, this section was combined with too much bad policy for the bill to receive my support. … “

Continue reading from Congressman John Garamendi by clicking here.


Senators Feinstein & Boxer have written a letter to Congressman Doc Hastings (Chair) and Congressman Markey (Ranking Member) of the House Natural Resources Committee:

Dear Chairman Hastings and Ranking Member Markey:

We write to express our strong opposition to H.R. 1837, the San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act and the proposed substitute amendment scheduled to be marked up by the committee on February 16.

When H.R. 1837 was introduced last spring, we and numerous others expressed very serious concerns about the bill to the Subcommittee on Water and Power. Unfortunately, the proposed substitute amendment only compounds the problems presented by the original version of the bill by attempting to provide guaranteed water deliveries to an even larger group of water users without accou8nting for where the water will come from or what the impacts will be. Indeed, the sweeping nature of this new revised bill (that was just made available in the last 24 hours), and its potential for harm to our state, cannot be overstated. … “

Continue reading this letter here: DF-BB_Ltr_to_House_Natural_Resources_Committee_-Rivised_Nunes_Bill_021512


From the website of Congressman Devin Nunes:

“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. … “

Continue reading from the website of Congressman Devin Nunes by clicking here.


From the website of Congressman Jeff Denham:

“Congressman Jeff Denham issued the following statement today in regards to the passage of H.R. 1837, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Reliability Act. The water crisis in California continues to be a contentious debate, but Congressman Denham is working to find areas of agreement in order to bring a reliable, sustainable water supply to the farmers and people of the Central Valley.

“The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Reliability Act will eliminate duplicative environmental requirements, provide certainty for family farms, save taxpayers $300 million, construct additional water storage, and begin to revitalize local economies and job creation in the Central Valley,” said Congressman Jeff Denham. “This legislation will restore confidence in the agriculture sector, allowing farmers to continue to hire workers and grow a safe, sustainable food supply for the country and the world.” … “

Continue reading from Congressman Denham’s website by clicking here.



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