Today, during a Natural Resources Committee markup, Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) spoke out against H.R. 1837, a Republican water bill which would override California's state water rights, undo water settlements that were decades in the making, and roll back environmental protections that protect California salmon and other species.
"This federal legislation would take precedence over the water rights of Californians, undoing years of negotiations and setting up a new round of water wars," Napolitano said. "That will mean more employment for lawyers, but not much for anybody else. This attempt to jump to the head of the water delivery line would be disastrous for all of California and set a dangerous precedent for other states."
The bill, authored by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Republican Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), would undo a settlement reached by the state of California, cities, fishermen, farmers and other users of water from the San Joaquin River that was decades in the making. The bill would instead open up water rights to the highest and most-favored corporate bidders, making water a Washington-controlled corporate commodity instead of a California community asset.
Before the markup, Napolitano and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee, released a report entitled "Cutting Off the Headwaters", which details the damage this bill would do to California's environment, economy, and water settlements.