Assembly Member Richard Bloom has put into play a gut and amend bill, AB2649, which would repeal the required Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) hearing for oversight of the State Water Project contracts and the Delta tunnels, replacing the meeting with an even WEAKER oversight process!
We need your help calling Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, JLBC Chair, Senator Holly Mitchell Assembly Member Bloom, Speaker of the Assembly Rendon, and Assembly Member Richard Bloom.
Bloom’s bill would repeal the existing Water Code (Section 147.5). This is not good because the existing Water Code (Section147.5) if followed properly and enforced effectively, could provide real oversight. Bloom and his staff are telling callers that his bill would increase regulatory oversight, but that is not true because it would repeal existing standards, including a public well-noticed meeting and public evaluation over the State Water Contract extension amendments. (Yeah, we know this is really in the weeds for everyday folks. It’s even hard for legislative wonks.)
While it is true that AB2649 adds some oversight elements like documentation of costs and inclusion of additional amendments for California WaterFix for review, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee could and should just demand that information right now. It is already within their authority to do so under the existing Water Code (Section 147.5). They do not need legislation that changes oversight requirements that would require Governor Brown’s signature. Remember Governor Brown is NOT going to sign anything that requires effective oversight over California WaterFix.
The entire problem has been that the JLBC is NOT asking for detailed information to provide proper oversight over the State Water Contract in relation to the Delta tunnels. They wanted to allow a hearing to be rushed in which the State Water Contractors were NOT supplying fully detailed information.
We and our partners fighting the tunnels have asked for a complete cost accounting of the State Water Project, including Oroville Dam repairs, for over a year now. The State Auditor highlighted that California WaterFix does not have an adopted financial plan or cost benefit analysis in keeping with Department of Water Resources guidelines. Yet, the WaterFix financing authority is already applying for Federal WIFIA loans.
THESE DEFICIENCIES COULD BE REMEMEDIED right now with a letter from Senator Mitchell, Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon, and Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins.
Here’s how you can make a difference:
Call Senate President Atkins, Senator Holly Mitchell, and Speaker Anthon Rendon and ask them to insist that the Department of Water Resources provides the JLBC with this fundamental financial information before the next scheduled JLBC hearing and tell them there must be ample time for public review of DWR’s provided materials and ample notice for the next hearing.
- Senator Holly Mitchell, Chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee:
- Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4030
- Los Angeles Office: (213) 745-6656
- President pro Tempore of the State Senate Toni Atkins:
- Sacramento Office: (916) 651-4039
- San Diego Office: (619) 645-3133
- Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon
- Sacramento Office: (916) 319-2063
- Lakewood Office: (562) 529-3250
“Numerous NGO’s have asked for a complete cost accounting of the State Water Project, including Oroville Dam repairs, for over a year now. The State Auditor highlighted that California WaterFix does not have an adopted financial plan or cost-benefit analysis in keeping with Department of Water Resources guidelines. Yet, the WaterFix financing authority is already applying for Federal WIFIA loans. This is why the JLBC must seek fundamental financial information before the next scheduled hearing. AB 2649 will not solve this problem and should be dropped. And the next hearing must allow for amply public notice and public review of documents provided by DWR. Tell them we are not against extension of the State Water Contract; it has to be done. We are for thorough and accurate oversight.”
- Assembly Member Bloom
- Capitol Office: (916) 319-2050
- Santa Monica Office: (310) 450-0041
Tell Bloom that AB2649 does not provide meaningful oversight and instead he should be following the course described above.
Please keep calling. And know that we at Restore the Delta have so much appreciation for the ongoing help we receive from our supporters. We are truly grateful!
Yours in Service,
Restore the Delta