Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi at Groundbreaking of Sutter-Butte Levee Improvement, Proud to be Part of Bipartisan Coalition Responsible

August 7, 2013
Press Release

YUBA CITY, CA – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today attended the groundbreaking of the new Feather River West Levee improvement at Shanghai Bend. A bipartisan coalition of area leaders was on hand to celebrate this needed local improvement by the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency (SBFCA).

“What a great day for Sutter and Butte counties! I’m glad the leaders of this community were able to come together in a unified voice to help keep our constituents safe from a preventable disaster,” Representative Garamendi said. “This is how government is supposed to work. The local community identified a critical need; the local leaders asked the appropriate agency to act; and that agency responded with appropriate urgency. I’ve never seen a Democratic or Republican levee in my life, and today was no exception.” 

The project moved forward with bipartisan advocacy from Garamendi and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA01), who coauthored a letter sent to the Army Corps of Engineers urging expedited review of the permitting needed for the Feather River West Levee project, including the Shanghai Bend. They represent Sutter and Butte counties respectively. During a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing last month, Garamendi told Gen. Walsh of the Army Corps that the Sutter-Butte Levee Project is of “utmost importance to Yuba City and the surrounding communities” and highlighted the Shanghai Bend section (video and a transcript are linked here). More information on the project is available at SBFCA’s website here.

“They say good things come to those who wait, but when it comes to improving our levees, that’s not at all true,” Garamendi added. “It is unwise to wait to improve Northern California’s fragile levees, because if our levees fail, it could wreak havoc on California’s water supply and economy and put thousands of lives and homes in jeopardy. Shanghai Bend is being resolved, but we’ve got hundreds of miles of needed improvements to go.”

The levee improvement program is expected to:

  • Increase public safety by providing 200-year flood protection to Biggs, Gridley, Live Oak, and Yuba City, and improve flood protection for the less populated areas south of Yuba City.
  • Save property owners tens of millions each year in mandatory flood insurance costs by delaying, preventing, or cutting short FEMA floodplain mapping.
  • Allow cities and counties the freedom to implement general plans, which would soon be severely restricted for any urban or urbanizing community without 200-year flood protection. This would not apply to rural communities (areas with fewer than 10,000 residents).
  • Maintain the rights of property owners to make substantial improvements to property without new state or federal land use restrictions.
  • Sustain and grow the local economy by creating construction jobs, protecting property values, and allowing for responsible residential, commercial and industrial development.