FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546; [email protected]; Twitter: @shopcraft; @MrSandHillCrane; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053 [email protected]; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta
The move to push forward legislation by Congressman Devin Nunes, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and Congressman David Valadao, with the support of House Speaker John Boehner, to allow the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pumps to operate “as long as water is available” in a drought is nothing more than a blatant, short-sighted water grab, fueled by years of political contributions from huge growers in the Westlands Water District and the Kern County Water Agency to these Central Valley Congressional Representatives.
Furthermore, we find it ironic that these Congressional representatives, who claim to be in favor of reduced Federal government intervention into state affairs, are looking for a way to bypass State and Federal water quality and quantity regulations, which will be violated if pumping restrictions are removed in the Delta. They are playing the anti-regulation card to dictate economic winners and losers among California’s farm and fishing communities.
By declaring a drought emergency, Governor Brown has set up opponents of the Endangered Species Act to be able to strip away water quality protections for Bay-Delta fisheries, Delta family farms, and Delta urban communities. The Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Water Resources allowed the overpumping of the Delta by 800,000 acre feet last year in order to appease the leaders of the Westlands Water District and the Kern County Water Agency. The mega-growers in those two water districts have used more exported water combined than the Metropolitan Water District and the Santa Clara Valley Water District over the last ten years. While water conservation is of the upmost importance for California, which experiences drought a third of the time, Metropolitan Water District officials have made recent statements that they have enough water in storage for the next three years. Taking more water away from the Delta and California’s rivers during a drought, one made worse by State and Federal water resource mismanagement, proves that even more of the same would happen if Governor Brown’s plan to build the peripheral tunnels comes to pass.
What does it say that Governor Brown and Speaker Boehner are on the same side of championing the decimation of the Bay-Delta estuary, all to appease a few hundred growers who contribute less than .3% to the State’s economy? It indicates to the people on the ground in the Delta that our political leaders are poised to squander the most important and largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas for an unsustainable future that will further enrich a few big political contributors to Central Valley Congressional races, and recent California ballot initiatives.