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Committee to Act on Plan to End California's Man-Made Drought and Restore Water Supplies and Jobs

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) and California Representatives Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, Tom McClintock and Jeff Denham today announced that comprehensive legislation, H.R. 1837, will be considered and amended in Committee to end future man-made droughts, bring job and water supply certainty to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys in California and decrease reliance on foreign food sources.

The bill is a comprehensive solution that would restore water deliveries that have been cut-off due to federal regulations and environmental lawsuits, ensure a reliable water supply for people and fish, secure water rights, and save taxpayer money by ending unnecessary and dubious government projects.

The bill could protect up to 30,000 jobs, generate millions in expedited federal revenue, and save American taxpayers and ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars. During Committee consideration, a comprehensive amendment to the bill will be introduced. The bill, as amended, will now secure northern California's property rights and offer unprecedented protections for senior water rights holders.

"I've traveled to California and heard firsthand how the man-made drought severely impacted farming communities in the San Joaquin Valley. The Pelosi-led Congress sat idly by and did nothing, while we are delivering on a package now that delivers real relief to parts of northern and southern California. I applaud my California colleagues in finding a fair compromise on this important legislation," said Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04).

"I am pleased that after four years of inaction by Democratic super-majorities in Congress, we are now - under Republican leadership - able to move forward with this important legislation. We have crafted a good bill that not only restores the flow of water but will ultimately make unnecessary the construction of a $12 billion canal to bypass the Bay-Delta," said Rep. Devin Nunes (CA-21).

"There are over 2 million unemployed Californians right now, yet the government continues to put a tiny, non-native fish above the job creation possibilities of flowing water. We need to get our priorities straight and put Californians first. That's what this bill does, and I'm proud to stand on the side of California families and job creation," said House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA-22).

"We have been striving for a resolution that fully protects Northern California water rights and I believe we have accomplished that with the revisions to this measure. The amendment will extend the full protection of federal law to all Northern California senior water rights holders, while assuring that surplus water is put to productive use creating jobs for Californians. California is a unique case of conflicting federal and state jurisdictions in the management of its water resources. This agreement, achieved through the active participation of water districts across Northern California, assures that their priority water rights will be forever secure and inviolable," said Water and Power Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (CA-04).

"For decades, there has been more talk than action in dealing with California's water crisis. H.R. 1837 provides a plan for a reliable and sustainable water supply for families, farmers, and communities throughout California. Our great nation's economy continues to struggle and record numbers of people remain unemployed, the best opportunity we have to put people back to work is utilizing our natural resources," said Rep. Jeff Denham (CA-19).

Background:

In 2009, federal regulations to protect a 3-inch fish - the Delta smelt - led to the deliberate diversion of over 300 billion gallons of water away from San Joaquin Valley farmers. This cost thousands of farm workers their jobs, inflicted up to 40 percent unemployment in certain communities, and fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile farmland.

The Pelosi-led Congress did nothing to reverse the plight of the San Joaquin Valley and reportedly obstructed Republican actions to reverse the situation. H.R. 1837, as amended, reflects Republican promises to avoid another man-made drought.

The bill:

Restores water deliveries to communities by codifying the historic, bipartisan State/Federal agreement known as the "Bay-Delta Accord."
Reforms punitive federal laws, the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, in order to provide fairness to ratepayers, promote transparency and accountability, and save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Allows water users to pay off federal debt early.

Protects and secures private property and senior water rights.


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