Jim Patterson Writes Letter, and You Should Too!
This is something everyone in the Valley should be able to agree on, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
Jan 10, 2014
We have been asking local elected officials to take the lead on San Joaquin Valley water issues. We know it's not something everyone wants to do and some don't understand the complexities of state vs. federal water,
How do we stop it? By getting other local elected officials to do what Jim Patterson has done. Write the president a letter like Jim's. And you don't have to be an elected official. Everyone can do it. But, you should also ask your elected officials to do the same. If those of us in the Valley won't fight for the Valley, believe us when we say the people of San Francisco and Los Angeles sure won't.
Here's a sample letter:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Senator Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Senator Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20500
Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814 the Delta smelt vs. pumps, the water bond, the twin tunnels, and San Joaquin River Restoration. But, we ask you to focus only on one of these issues right now, the issue of SJ River Restoration. This is something everyone in the Valley should be able to agree on, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. We should all request a one-year moratorium on the river's restoration. Why? Because as Patterson explains, "none of the construction projects necessary to get the river at an acceptable place to take that kind of water is there, so there's no reason to do it." He's correct. The river isn't ready for the water. Nevertheless, the bureaucracy is in motion and the water will flow unless we do something to stop it.
On behalf of the (County, City or other appropriate agency) we urgently request you take action to avert a situation that will have significant detrimental economic and sociological impacts throughout much of the Southern San Joaquin Valley in 2014.
The San Joaquin River Restoration Program was legislated by Congress and the President in 2006 as the result of the settlement of environmental litigation. The Program has two co-equal goals: (1) Attempt to restore a self-sustaining salmon fishery, and (2) Mitigate or eliminate water losses to those who have used this water for 65 years to establish and support a multi-billion dollar economy and a robust East Side society.
The first few years of the Program were intended to allow time for the river improvements necessary for the river to carry restoration flows, and did not provide for full water releases because those releases would be useless and a waste of water until the required changes were made.
Under the schedule, full restoration flows are scheduled for 2014. However, due to budgetary, regulatory and other constraints, the required improvements have not been made. Therefore, 2014 releases will result in substantial losses to the historical users without any corresponding restoration benefit. It will be particularly acute if 2014 is another dry year.
Our request is a simple one. We are not seeking to have the Program or the underlying settlement repealed or modified. We only ask that full restoration releases be deferred until they can achieve the intended goals in the river. Until then, putting full restoration flows down the river does nothing but deprive farmers and communities of water. While some may argue that the devastating impacts caused by the water losses are counterbalanced by restoration benefits in the river, there can be little debate that these losses are not justified when there are no material restoration benefits because the river is not “ready” for the water.
We request your help in getting the President to issue an Executive Order deferring the San Joaquin River Restoration Releases for 2014. Deferral is not an abandonment of the Program, it is merely recognition that the required improvements have not been completed. and that water should always be wisely and beneficially used for the public good and not wasted.
Cc: Other Valley City, County, and State Elected officials
Patterson Calls For Halt To San Joaquin River Restoration Releases
Citing a historically dry 2013, Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) is calling for the federal government to stop water releases from Friant Dam for the San Joaquin River Restoration program.
Since 2009 the restoration program has released water into the river on an interim basis in an effort to bring back salmon populations to a stretch of the channel that has been dry for decades. The restoration agreement calls for those flows to become permanent in 2014.
But in letters sent to President Obama and Congress, Patterson says those releases should be put on hold, because the infrastructure improvements to the river channel have yet to be completed.
"The only bathtub that's got water in it and we can rely on [Friant Dam] should not be unplugged and run out the channel. It does not have to be done in 2014, because none of the construction projects necessary to get the river at an acceptable place to take that kind of water is there, so there's no reason to do it," says Patterson.
The restoration settlement agreement calls for releases to vary based on the type of water year, from "wet" to "critical low."
Releases from Friant Dam are currently around 450 cubic feet per second.
Patterson is also calling on Governor Brown to issue an official drought proclamation, which he said would ease water transfers and other regulations.
"I think that the governor needs to wake up and declare that there is an emergency drought. We don't need a bureaucracy to take a look at our watch and tell us what time it is. We're living the reality of it right now," says Patterson.
Patterson says the timing is critical as many valley farmers are deciding now whether to plant crops or fallow their fields for the season.
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