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San Francisco Chronicle Insight:
Billionaires’ influence felt in state’s water policy
Barbara Barrigan Parrilla
Sunday, April 27, 2014
To track the outsized influence of Stewart and Lynda Resnick is tough because they have so many subsidiaries and so much money. There are Paramount Farms, Westside Mutual Water Company, a subsidiary of Roll International called Roll Global, which exports almonds – the list goes on and on.
The influence of the Resnicks and their cohorts in the Westlands and Kern water districts has been brought to bear so heavily on the governor’s office during the past three administrations that the fix is basically in on building the peripheral tunnels.
The Resnicks made $270,000 in contributions to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, $350,000 to support Gov. Gray Davis, and $102,000 to Gov. Jerry Brown. As a result of the political influence of billionaires who receive taxpayer-subsidized water, the state Department of Water Resources functions almost as a subsidiary of the water exporters.
The outsize influence of delta water exporters can be seen in the recent “drought relief” action by state and federal regulators, which undid with the stroke of a pen Endangered Species Act protections for fisheries that were the result of a decade-long legal challenge. In addition to the requirements set in the biological opinions for delta fisheries, there are three sets of water quality standards arrived at through legal processes that already take into account critical dry-year situations. Two sets of water quality standards are being waived as part of drought emergency measures – one set to protect fisheries, another set to protect water quality for delta family farms. …
To read the entire opinion click or go here: http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Billionaires-influence-felt-in-state-s-water-5430496.php