Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) today rebuked the U.S. Department of the Interior in a letter to Secretary Ken Salazar for seeking a stay on Judge Oliver Wanger's Aug. 31 ruling on Interior's Delta smelt plan (fall X2). Judge Wanger found "there is essentially no biological evidence to support" the department's plan and halted its full implementation.
"The simple fact is that time and time again federal courts have rejected the discredited science used to justify a plan to flush hundreds of thousands of acre feet of water out of the Delta that could otherwise be made available to the rest of the state. Rather than engaging in another futile attempt to implement a flawed plan, Interior should focus its efforts on working work with us on a long-term solution to our water challenges like the Bay Delta Conservation Plan," Costa said.
In his letter to Secretary Salazar, Costa highlighted the legal battles and misguided federal regulations that have cost the San Joaquin Valley more water than any other region of California.
"[F]or nearly twenty years, the Valley has seen water diverted as a result of [the Central Valley Project Improvement Act], court decisions, and regulatory actions that use flawed science and cost us decreased and unstable water supplies, while no other region of the state has been similarly impacted But notwithstanding all of the criticisms, Interior insists on charging forward in the courts, relying on discredited science," Costa wrote.
Costa also offered to meet Secretary Salazar during his visit to San Francisco next week.
"I'll gladly make the three-hour drive to San Francisco to meet the Secretary so we can discuss real world alternatives that better serve water users across California," Costa said.
Judge Wanger is expected to rule on Interior's motion to stay Friday.