ADVISORY for Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 10:30 AM ET
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected]
TUESDAY: House Natural Resources Hearing On Westlands Water Settlement
Stockton, CA – On Tuesday, May 24, 2016, at 10:30 AM ET the U.S. House Congressional Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans will hold a legislative hearing on proposed water settlement bills. Link here for details on the hearing and video.
Today, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta issued the following statement:
“U.S. Taxpayers, and Californians in particular, should be alarmed that bills H.R. 4366 (Rep. David Valadao, R-CA), and H.R. 5217 (Rep. Jim Costa, D-CA) are moving forward. These bills would affirm the agreement between the United States and Westlands Water District, San Luis Water District, and Panoche Water District on a drainage resolution settlement. The settlement agreement reached in September 2015 between the Obama Administration and these large industrial agricultural, special-interest water districts, will result in a $300 million taxpayer giveaway without addressing or solving the extreme water pollution these irrigation districts discharge into the San Joaquin River, and ultimately, the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. It is exactly these type of taxpayer giveaways to corporations that have incensed voters in both parties this election year.
“Years ago, the California Department of Water Resources attempted to articulate numerous state concerns about this proposed drainage settlement that didn’t ensure a solution to the polluted water discharge problem and that didn’t include a full review under the National Environmental Policy Act. (See the attached 2007 letter from State officials to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials.) But there is a deafening silence from Governor Brown’s Administration on this settlement agreement and other federal legislation that will bring harm to the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.
“Whether it’s a free pass on allowing the discharge of selenium, salt, and numerous pollutants back into the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary, or Senator Feinstein and Congressman Garamendi’s companion bills to over pump the Bay-Delta estuary for the benefit of these same irrigation districts, the Brown Administration has failed to weigh in on needed protections for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. Governor Brown continues to sell the Delta Tunnels to the public as benefitting the Bay-Delta estuary; if he cares about the health of the estuary, then why isn’t he advocating for the Delta’s interests with the Federal government?
“It is heartbreaking to the people of the Delta that so many of our elected officials are willing to sacrifice the health of the Bay-Delta estuary for the benefit of a limited number of special interest irrigation districts that make up only 0.3% of the state’s GDP. Adding insult to injury, they are all comfortable with American citizens footing the bill for these big polluters.”
Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington, DC watchdog group added: “We just don’t think this is the best or even a good deal for taxpayers.”
Westlands Water District does not need any money from the US taxpayers. They have already benefited enough from getting cheap water from us over the past many decades. Our first priority is to protect our precious water resources and our Delta wetlands, including SF Bay. Please do not approve these bills! Thank you.
The water belongs in the delta before it is sent downstream. The ecosystem of the delta is a fragile environment and should not be exploited by Big Agricultural or anyone else!