Statement on Introduction of Western Water Bill from House Republicans
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a former Deputy Secretary of the Interior Department, released the following statement on the introduction of H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, a bill from House Republicans that would significantly impact western water law:
“A great title does not make great legislation. This 176 page bill covers a multitude of issues important to Western water supply and environment.
“There is good language in the legislation that may be good policy, such as the use of science to determine the viability of aquatic species.
“There is policy in the legislation that appears to be bad, such as the pumping requirements in the Delta.
“Everyone familiar with Western water law knows that every word of law is backed up by court decisions. It is evident that this bill changes law and established legal precedent and could therefore have a profoundly negative effect on agriculture, the environment, and communities.
“As I have said before, the only way to achieve legislation that results in good water policy is to have every stakeholder at the same table at the same time. The authors of this bill did not do that. No representative of the Bay Delta region was given the opportunity to participate in the development of this legislation. Therefore, it is a safe bet that this lengthy and complex legislation will have negative effects on the Delta. As I have said many times, I am more than willing to work with anyone who wants to achieve a true bipartisan solution to California and Western water problems.
“As a starting point for a discussion, I recommend that we take a look at the Governor’s California Water Action Plan and my Water Plan for All of California. These proposals present similar solutions to California’s short-term and long-term water problems, creating as much as 5 million acre feet of new usable water without the devastation wrought by the Twin Tunnel plan.”