Rep. Mike Thompson slams Republican Continuing Resolution impact on Calif. water resources

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According to a press release from Congressman Mike Thompson’s Office:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-1), a senior member of the House Committee on Ways & Means, today condemned the impact of the House Republican continuing resolution on Northern California’s economy and water resources. If passed, H.R. 1 would strip funding for important state water initiatives, including the federal regulations protecting salmon. The economic impact in California’s 1st District would be catastrophic: thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity could potentially be lost.
“The majority party’s continuing resolution contains reckless language that could potentially destroy the recreational and commercial salmon fishing industry in my district,” said Rep. Thompson. “By defunding the biological opinions protecting salmon, this bill threatens not only local stocks, but thousands of fishing families across our district, the rest of the state, and Oregon.”
“We know that with the right tools and careful water management, we can meet our water needs in a cost-effective way and restore salmon runs and coastal economies,” Rep. Thompson continued. “We need to continue reaching for balanced solutions to California’s water challenges. This bill undermines that effort.”

Earlier this week, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA.), Chair of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, publicly condemned the House’s continuing resolution for potentially exacerbating California’s water problems. During a floor speech earlier this afternoon, Rep. Thompson joined Senator Feinstein in urging House Republicans to rethink cuts to key water initiatives in California, particularly those affecting commercial salmon fisheries. A copy of the Congressman’s full remarks is available below:
“Mister Chairman, I rise in strong opposition of H.R. 1, the Fiscal Year Continuing Appropriations Act for FY2011.
“There is bipartisan agreement that Congress needs to create jobs, grow our economy and live within its means.  The bill before us today goes too far with irresponsible and arbitrary cuts that will threaten the economy and cost more than 800,000 private and public jobs.
“Included in today’s bill is reckless language that will cost thousands of jobs in coastal communities in my district and Oregon by destroying the recreational and commercial salmon fishery.
“Over the years, my district has been hit hard by ill-informed water management decisions that have resulted in dramatic declines in salmon stock.  For example, in the Central Valley we witnessed a peak of 768,000 Fall Run Salmon in 2002, followed by a collapse to an historic low of only 39,500 fish in 2009. These declines have lead to an estimated $1.4 billion in lost economic activity in both 2008 and 2009 and 23,000 lost jobs.
“In these two years, the commercial fishery was completely shutdown.  Last year only 14,500 salmon were caught by the California salmon fishery, which is about 20 percent as many as were caught during the 2006 disaster.  This only exacerbates the economic crisis facing fishing families and communities in my district.   These fishing families have been put out of work in my district and up through and into Oregon. They have lost their homes, their savings, and their livelihoods.
“Water management decisions in the collapsing Bay-Delta ecosystem need to be based on science – not politics.  In 2002, the science on minimum flows in the Klamath was ignored resulting in the death of 80,000 salmon and loss of countless fishing jobs.  Today’s bill does the same thing, by waiving federal protections which put at risk fishing industry jobs.  And, by defunding the biological opinions, this bill also threatens water supplies for Southern California farmers and cities by placing the burden to comply with the California Endangered Species Act solely on the State Water Project.
“We know that with the right tools and careful water management, we can meet our water needs in a cost-effective way and restore salmon runs and coastal economies.  We need to continue the ongoing negotiations aimed at reaching balanced solutions for California water challenges.  This bill undermines that effort.
“For these reasons, I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this reckless piece of legislation that hurts jobs, hurts the economy and hurts my district.  Thank you and I yield back the balance of my time.”
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and portions of Sonoma and Yolo counties. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and sits on the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.

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