Republican Spending Bill Threatens Sacramento Delta, Puts Water Supply for Entire State of California at Risk, Garamendi Cautions

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and the former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Interior Department, today expressed his grave concern that language authored by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare, CA) in the House Republican spending bill, H.R. 1, jeopardizes the San Joaquin River settlement and the restoration of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the hub of California's water system.

"Developing California water policy requires careful planning and reasoned debate. The language authored by Rep. Nunes instead throws into complete chaos a compromise developed after nearly two decades of litigation," said Congressman Garamendi. "This reckless proposal, buried in an omnibus spending bill, would harm the fragile Delta and potentially disrupt the water supply of farmers and communities throughout California."

Section 1475 of the Continuing Resolution will harm the California economy and harm the state's ability to determine its own water future. Section 1475 disregards 18 years of litigation that successfully brought an end to a longer conflict over water rights at the San Joaquin River. A settlement was reached that is agreed to by almost everyone, including local officials, fisherpersons, farmers, environmental leaders, and water districts.

The Continuing Resolution also defunds critical biological opinions that are important elements of the plan to provide California with a balanced water strategy. To disrupt the legal process now could once again force judicial action related to the Endangered Species Act and fish in the Delta, halting statewide water distribution and imperiling thousands of California jobs, including agriculture jobs, dependent on reliable access to water.

Garamendi added, "The people of California have great expectations for their leaders and expect them to govern, not to unleash chaos and uncertainty. I will do all I can to stop this dangerous plan."

Congressman Garamendi, with original co-sponsors Reps. George Miller (D-Martinez, CA), Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento, CA), Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton, CA), and Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena, CA), have introduced the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area Establishment Act H.R. 486 to protect the culture, history, and economy of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta estuary. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have introduced companion legislation in the Senate. To learn more about this historic legislation, please visit: /legislative-work/sacramento-san-joaquin-delta-national-heritage-area.