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Action Alert: These Drought Bills Need Your Attention!

Dear friends,
We are deeply disappointed that Congressman Garamendi, a resident of the Delta, and longtime ally, would partner with Senator Feinstein to support legislation that is detrimental to water quality, the aquatic food web, and the fisheries that we are fighting so hard to save. Their bills are SB 2533 and HR 5247.
It’s time for Delta area supporters to tell Congressman Garamendi and Senator Feinstein that you oppose these bills as written because they are sacrificing Bay-Delta fisheries It’s time to tell them to STOP catering to Westlands Water District and other Big Ag interests that will not be satisfied until they can pump the Bay-Delta estuary dry.  It’s time to tell them remember where they come from and who they represented first.  Do they really want the destruction of the Delta and the San Francisco Bay as part of their legacies as they near the finish of their political careers?

Here are their phone numbers, e-mail addresses and Twitter handles:

* * When you are done with taking action, please fill out the form in the bottom, we want to have 10,000 actions taken against this drought bill by the end of June! * *
Congressman John Garamendi: (202) 225-1880
| E-mail Congressman John Garamendi Twitter: @RepGaramendi
Senator Dianne Feinstein: (202) 224-3841
| E-mail Senator Dianne Feinstein Twitter: @SenFeinstein
Click here to send a direct message to Senator Feinstein and Congressman Garamendi on these bills.

8 Reasons to Oppose the Drought Bills/Talking Points for Senator Feinstein & Garamendi:
1) We are entering the fifth year of drought and Delta water quality protections were rolled back 15 times over the last two years. Water quality standards for the Delta are already violated on a regular and continuous basis.
2) The State Water Resources Control Board and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have failed to update the Delta Water Quality Control Plan in a timely manner. They are 20 years behind with updating standards, and litigation is now moving forward, spearheaded by our Bay Area environmental colleagues.
3) All Delta fisheries are in serious decline due to 30 years of over pumping compounded by five straight years of drought. Remember, the pumps were never shut off one day during these last five years. Pumping was slowed down only 3% of the time to protect fisheries in 2014 and 2015. Low pumping levels were set in place because the estuary was dangerously close to becoming salted up due to lack of inadequate outflows into the San Francisco Bay, threatening water quality for Metropolitan Water District of California. Fishery management agencies are enforcing pumping restrictions more closely this year because they are on the verge of rendering species extinct.
4) The Pacific Fisheries Management Council review of the Feinstein/Garamendi bill lay to rest the assertions of Congressman Garamendi that their bills are scientific and protective of salmon.
5) The complex provisions of Title 3 of the bill are likely to legislatively override existing Endangered Species Act biological opinions protecting salmon, Delta smelt and other endangered species.
6) Congressman Garamendi’s asserts to us that “monitoring equipment” can determine if Delta smelt are near the export pumps. This is inaccurate. Fishery experts have made it clear to the Congressman that no equipment can access with scientific certainty as to whether Delta smelt can be tracked due to their perilously low numbers. Remember Westlands Water District and Metropolitan Water District were busy in Washington D.C. in 2015 attempting to delist the Delta smelt in an attempt to lift Delta pumping restrictions. The Delta smelt—that tiny, tiny fish—is our region’s protection from full water exports that will destroy water quality beyond repair for every other commercial, business, human, wildlife and recreational use.
7) The Independent Science Panel recently completed a rigorous analysis of the Biological Assessment for California WaterFix. Their findings apply to the Congressman’s bill: the scientific findings on the outcomes of diverting more water from the Delta are very uncertain. To pass this legislation off as based on sound science is simply disingenuous. Fishery experts are clear that we cannot determine with accuracy if Delta smelt are near the pumps. Moreover, the Congressman’s overall plan for the Delta and water management will fill the proposed Delta tunnels with the 1.3 million additional acre feet needed to make them financially viable for the water contractors extractors.
8) The courts agree with Restore the Delta and our partners, not Congressman Garamendi, regarding what the Delta needs. Yesterday, contrary to the Delta Stewardship Council’s claim that the court upheld the Delta Plan except for two needed refinements, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny put a bullet in the heart of the Delta Plan. Judge Kenny ruled that the Delta Plan failed to include quantified or otherwise measurable targets for reducing Delta reliance, reduced environmental harm from invasive species, restoring more natural flows, and increased water supply reliability, in accordance with the Delta Reform Act. He also ruled that the Plan failed to provide a flow policy that includes “quantified or otherwise measurable targets” and failed to promote options for water conveyance and storage systems. In other words, Congressman Garamendi’s drought legislation is seeking to undo what was described as necessary in a California court this week – flow policies that reduce Delta reliance!
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More background on this bill.
Delta Flows Newsletter: 8 Reasons We Don’t Support the Garamendi/Feinstein Bills
Opposition Statements by Restore the Delta and Coalition of House Democrats
Salmon Industry Oppose S. 2533
LA Times: Congress is about to wipe out decades of progress in sustainable water use by Peter Gleick
Press Democrat Editorial: Another threat to fishing communities
Sierra Club: Senator Feinstein’s Water Bill Seriously Flawed
Trinity Journal: Water plan offers no protection for Trinity
Pacific Fishery Management Council letter to Senator Huffman and Senator Thompson analysis for S. 2533
Conservation Groups: American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife, EarthJustice, Endangered Species COalition, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club – Letter to Oppose S. 2533
American Sportfishing Associations (ASA) opposes S. 2533
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations opposes S. 2533
State Natural Resources Secretary John Laird  “aims to debunk myths while aiming to describe hard, even allegedly inescapable truths. Instead, he reveals the essential truthiness of the California Water Fix (also referred to here as “Tunnels”) project.” Truthiness is not truth. Read our reply to Resource Secretary John Laird’s recent hard pitch for the Delta tunnels at the Capitol Weekly Water 2016 conference via Maven’s Notebook. 

Leave a Comment

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Alwilda Lucero
    May 17, 2016, 8:28 pm

    Please save the delta which i live on…it’s called political integrity…i just voted for you in the primary…i hope i don’t regret it…my family would go thru imminent domain as we are on the map…paradise lost !!!

  • Constance Jackson
    May 18, 2016, 6:10 pm

    Stop the Rape if the Delta by special interest groups only loyal to moneyed interests & their own bottom line.

  • May 20, 2016, 10:18 pm

    Altho now retired from my position with Friends of the Eel River so I can not speak for the organization but will continue to do so as a continuing member. My heart breaks to watch as our aging government representatives align themselves with money interest instead of being strong leaders in protecting our beautiful San Francisco Bay, it’s estuary and health of it’s fisheries and rivers. This time water is running downhill to money. To make up for this water theft leaves all our northern rivers in jeopardy as water from these more northern rivers will be used to try and reduce impacts down the chain of where the water flows. May the northern population stand strong against this corrupt water grab and successfully stop this terrible water grab.