Representatives speak out against water bill saying it would devastate Bay-Delta economy & environment

According to a joint press release from a group of U.S. Representatives, dated Feb. 29, 2012:
Today, a leading group of U.S. Representatives who support the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta voted against the passage of H.R. 1837, the so-called Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act. As written, the legislation would divert additional water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta to south-of-Delta water users, running counter to established economic thought, environmental policies and leading scientific research.  The legislation passed the House by a vote of 246-175, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The lawmakers responded today after the vote:
“The fact that this legislation passed the House shows that some Representatives are more concerned with satisfying well-funded south-of-Delta water contractors than protecting state laws and finding science-based solutions to California’s water challenges,” said Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-1). “This bill puts politics ahead of established science, guts environmental protections and kills local jobs. The Senate should reject it, and solutions to California’s water challenges should be based on sound science so that wildlife is protected, and our fishers, farmers, families and businesses that depend on the Delta for their livelihoods are not harmed.”

“This bill would only help a few well-connected water agencies, to the detriment of everyone else in California,” Rep. George Miller (CA-7) said of the legislation. “It is a selfish and extreme approach that would end all productive efforts to solve water problems in California. If this bill were ever enacted, it would unravel legal settlements, defy Supreme Court precedent, and pose a serious threat to water management all across the West. HR 1837 is bad for the Bay, bad for the Delta, bad for California’s environment, and bad for our economic future. By asking Congress to override state water law – against the state’s wishes — and by ending the collaborative work that’s taking place in California, the special interests and water exporters who are supporting this bill are playing a very dangerous game.”

“This bill is a blatant attempt to steal water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  It would undermine existing state and federal laws and forever harm the millions of people who live from Sacramento to Stockton to Brentwood in the Delta region.  This bill was crafted without any input from the Delta communities, farmers, and businesses that will be devastated by its enactment, and it should not move forward.  It is a bad bill that robs Peter to pay Paul.  To steal from one community for the benefit of another, while creating a worse problem for everyone, is completely shortsighted and unacceptable.  I will continue to stand up for the farmers, families, and small business owners who rely upon a healthy San Joaquin Delta for their livelihoods.  My colleagues who pushed this bad piece of legislation forward will have to answer for playing games with the precious water supplies in California,” said Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA-11).

“In Northern California, we have balanced our watershed to the benefit of our cities, farms, and habitat. However, this legislation will throw our work out the window, along with the ability of California to make its own decisions on its water resources. H.R. 1837 is an unprecedented and unacceptable water grab, and California cannot afford for it to pass – the stakes are simply too high,” said Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-5).

“This is not the time to reignite the California water wars of the past. This is not the time to pit Californians against each other,” said Rep. John Garamendi (CA-10). “This is the time to focus on meeting the coequal goals of water supply and ecosystem protection. We must focus on responsible, science-based water management, with conservation, storage and recycling playing a prominent role. That is the solution to California’s water needs. H.R .1837 takes us in the opposite direction.”
"On leap day, House Republicans are telling California and other states who want to manage their own water to take a flying leap. This bill is the ultimate in Washington power grabs, telling the states that we don’t trust you to manage your own water for your people and your farmers," said Ed Markey (MA-7), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

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