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Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to this jobs killer act that ignores more than 20 years of established science.

Tens of thousands of people depend on the Bay-Delta for their livelihoods, including many farmers, fishermen, and sportsmen who contribute billions of dollars to our economy every year.

Sadly, the sponsors of this bill are using the legislation to create winners and losers by preempting California State law. This bill would take water from folks in northern California for use in California's Central Valley. This means even less water to sports fishermen and to commercial fishermen, the basis of two thriving industries in our State.

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations strongly opposes the bill. They estimate that over 25,000 jobs were lost in the salmon fishing industry due to the 2008 and 2009 closures.

The American Sportsfishing Association shows that California's economy suffers $1.4 billion in loss each year that the salmon fishery season is
closed. If this bill becomes law, these jobs would be lost forever, and the economic losses would be permanent.

Appropriate amounts of water are also critical to support the economies for wildlife-associated recreation. In California, 7.4 million sportsmen contribute over $8 billion to the economy every year. Without water, many of these hunting, fishing, and wildlife-watching activities will be lost.

More than 200 sportsmen's organizations have written to express their opposition to this bill. These men and women recognize the extreme consequences of this measure.

Mr. Chairman, I'd like to insert this letter that I have signed by those over 200 organizations into the Record.

February 26, 2012.
Speaker of the House, House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.
Minority Leader, House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.

DEAR SPEAKER BOEHNER AND MINORITY LEADER PELOSI: The California Environmental Water Caucus, and the numerous environmental, environmental justice, recreational and commercial fishing groups, legal and advocacy groups, and Indian tribes, whose logos and names are attached to this letter, would collectively like to express our strong opposition to the ill-conceived and regressive legislation contained in H.R. 1837, the misleadingly entitled ``Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act.'' We do not believe that this bill merits a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives.

In summary, this radical legislation preempts state water law, eliminates environmental protections for salmon and other commercially valuable species, guts the 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act, and overturns the broadly supported, court approved settlement to restore the San Joaquin River. As a result, this bill threatens thousands of salmon fishing jobs and communities in California and Oregon, water quality in the Bay-Delta, and the reliability of California's water supplies.

H.R. 1837 would overturn the fundamental Congressional principle which requires the federal government to follow state water law whenever possible. This principle has been a bulwark of rights reserved to the individual states and should not be violated by this kind of legislation. Even more specifically, this radical legislation would preempt the public trust doctrine as defined in the California Constitution and eliminate the implementation of a bipartisan package of water policy reform legislation adopted by the State of California in 2009.

H.R. 1837 would defeat efforts to restore fish populations in the Delta. Science-based protections for salmon and other endangered species are required under both California state law and the Endangered Species Act. In order to support recovery of endangered fish species, the State of California has consistently opposed legislation that would weaken the Endangered Species Act in the San Francisco Bay-Delta and Estuary. H.R. 1837 would strip those protections.

H.R. 1837 would gut the Central Valley Project Improvement Act of 1992, which corrected numerous deficiencies built into the federal Central Valley Project. The Act requires compliance with state law, encourages water conservation, makes modest reforms to reduce water subsidies, and contributes water for the recovery of endangered fish species.

H.R. 1837 would overturn the 2009 court approved San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act which ended twenty years of litigation on the San Joaquin River. The Settlement and the Act were supported by all parties to the litigation and numerous water districts in the San Joaquin Valley and across the State, along with Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. H.R. 1837 attempts to preempt state law that requires river restoration, and eliminates flood protection and water supply projects for farmers that were approved as part of the Settlement and Act.

H.R. 1837 would reduce water quality and water reliability for Delta communities and Delta farmers. It seeks to ensure water flows to agribusiness in the western and southern San Joaquin Valley at the expense of smaller Delta family farmers. The recently released Economic Sustainability Report authored by the Delta Protection Commission shows that Delta agriculture is worth $4.2 billion annually and provides tens of thousands of jobs. Delta agriculture and jobs should not be sacrificed to benefit water users in other parts of the state, some of whom do not even use that water for agriculture. This legislation would further aggravate the water supply divide within the state and would help perpetuate the destructive ``water wars'' which characterize water rules in California.

In summary, H.R. 1837 is an unprecedented assault on a state's ability to enact and support its own water laws, and it is an undisguised water grab in favor of one district to the detriment of other parts of the state, all engineered by the federal government.

For all of the above reasons, we oppose H.R. 1837 and request that you withdraw the legislation.



The following 190 organizations are signatories to this comment letter:

Bill Jennings, Executive Director, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance; Dave Britts, President, Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations; Carolee Krieger, Executive Director, California Water Impact Network; Jonas Minton, Senior Water Policy Advisor, Planning and Conservation League; Ron Stork, Senior Policy Advocate Friends of the River; Jennifer Clary, Water Policy Analyst Clean Water Action.

David Lewis, Executive Director Save the Bay; Joan Clayburg, Executive Director, Sierra Nevada Alliance; Deb Self, Executive Director, San Francisco Baykeeper; Jim Metropulos, Senior Advocate, Sierra Club California; Chris Wright, Executive Director Foothills Conservancy; John Merz, President, Sacramento River Preservation Trust.

Conner Everts, Executive Director, Southern California Watershed Alliance; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla Executive Director, Restore the Delta; Caleb Dardick, Executive Director, South Yuba River Citizens League; Barbara Vlamis, Executive Director AquAlliance; Caleen Sisk-Franco, Spirtual Leader & Traditional Chief Winnemen Wintu Tribe; Victor Gonella, President, Golden Gate Salmon Association.

Geoffey McQuilkin Executive Director Mono Lake Committee; Huey D. Johnson, President, Resource Renewal Institute; Adam Scow, California Campaign Director Food and Water Watch; Linda Sheehan, Executive Director Earth Law Center; Leda Huta, Executive Director, Endangered Species Coalition; Capt. Roger Thomas, President, Golden Gate Fishermen's Association.

Mondy Lariz, Director, Santa Clara County Creeks Coalition; Larry Collins, President, San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association; Leaf G. Hillman, Director, Karuk Department of Natural Resources, Karuk Tribe; Lloyd Carter, President, California Save Our Streams Council; Eric Wesselman, Executive Director Tuolumne River Trust; Don Rivenes, Conservation Chair, Sierra Foothills Audubon.

Esmeralda Soria, Legislative Advocate, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation; Mark Rockwell, Co-Conservation Director, Northern California Council Federation of Fly Fishers; Dan Bacher Editor, Fish Sniffer; Alan Levine, Director, Coast Action Group; Zeke Grader, Executive Director, Institute for Fisheries Resources; Siobahn Dolan, Director, Desal Response Group.

Andrew J. Orahoske, Conservation Director, Environmental Protection Information Center; Scott Greacen, Executive Director, Friends of the Eel River; Mati Waiya Executive Director Wishtoyo Foundation, Karen Schamback, California Field Director, California Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility; Rich Cimino, President, Alameda Creek Alliance; Milo Vukovich, President, Sonoma County Abalone Network.

Jeff Miller, Conservation Advocate, Center for Biological Diversity; Bill Wells, Executive Director, California Delta Chambers & Visitors Bureau; Dave Steindorf, California Stewardship Director American Whitewater; Bill Ferrero, Owner, President, Mokelumne River Outfitters; Lorna Elness, President, San Joaquin Audubon; Carol Perkins, Water Resources Advocate Butte Environmental Council.

Michael Warburton, Executive Director, The Public Trust Alliance; Sylvia Kothe, Chairperson, Concerned Citizens Coalition of Stockton; Frank Egger, President, North Coast Rivers Alliance; Luke Breit, Legislative Advocate Forests Forever; Marily Woodhouse, Director, Battle Creek Alliance; Jeremy Terhune, Coordinator, Friends of the Calaveras.

Don McEnhill, Riverkeeper, Russian Riverkeeper; Tim Little, Co-Director, Rose Foundation; Steve Shimek, Chief Executive The Otter Project, Greywolf, Jeff Kelly Chief, Modoc Nation; Alan Harthorn, Executive Director Friends of Butte Creek; Larry Hanson, Manager, Northern California River Watch.

Steve Shimek, Program Manager Monterey Coastkeeper; Steve Pedery, Conservation Director, Oregon Wild; Melanie Winter, Founder & Director, The River Project; Larry Glass, President, Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment; Lynne Plambeck, Executive Director, Santa Clarita for Planning and the Environment; Marie Logan & Jessie Raeder, Co-Presidents, SalmonAid Foundation.

Karen Schambach, President, Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation; Rain Ananacel, Executive Director, Northcoast Environmental Center; Michael Schweit, President, Southwest Council Federation of Fly Fishers; Chris Poehlmann, President, Friends of the Gualala River; Brenda S. Adelman, Chairperson, Russian River Watershed Protection Committee; Nate Rangel, President, California Outdoors.

Chet Ogan, Conservation Chair, Redwood Regional Audubon Society; Susan Robinson, Board Member, Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch; Bob Dean, President, Upper Mokelumne River Watershed Council; Trevor Kennedy, Executive Director, Fishery Foundation; Dan Silver, Executive Director, Endangered Habitats League; Jane Humes, Chair, Waldo Holt Conservancy.

Michael Garabedian, Friends of the North Fork American River; Mike Hudson, Small Boat Commercial Salmon Fisherman's Association; Allison Boucher, Project Manager, Tuolumne Conservancy; Michael Martin, Ph.D., Director, Merced River Conservation Committee; Beth Werner, Baykeeper, Humboldt Baykeeper; Kelli Gant, President, Trinity Lake Revitalization Alliance.

Rick Coates, Executive Director, Forest Unlimited; Sue Lynn, Secretary, Cascade Action Now; Larry Glass, President, South Fort Mountain Defense Committee; Seymour Singer, President, Pasadena Casting Club; Dick Harris, President, Santa Clarita Casting Club; Ken Javorsky, President, Tri-Valley Fly Fishers.

Jim Cox, President, West Delta Chapter, California Striped Bass Association; Jackson Chapman, President, Sacramento Chapter, California Striped Bass Association; Roger Mammon, President, Lower Sherman Island Duck Club; Larry Dennis, Conservation Chair, Mission Peak Fly Anglers; Henry Sandigo, Conservation Chair, Granite Bay Flycasters; Jim Tolonen, Conservation Chair, Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen.

Tom Bartos, President, Foothills Angler Coalition; Bill Carnazzo, President, Spring Creek Guide Service; Grant Fraser, President, Auburn Flycasters; Mark Allen, General Manager, Adventure Connections, Inc.; Greg King, Siskiyou Land Conservancy; Jim Yarnall, President, Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers; Joesph Vaile, Campaign Director, KS Wild.

Ron Forbes, Conservation Chair, Delta Fly Fishers; Denise Boggs, Executive Director, Conservation Congress; Kim Glazzard, Executive Director, Organic Sacramento; Bill O'Kelly, President, Sierra Pacific Flyfishers; Cindy Charles, Conservation Chair, Golden West Women Flyfishers; Ted Shapas, Conservation Chair, Diablo Valley Fly Fishermen.

Darrell Tichurst, Chairman, Coastside Fishing Club; Steve Burke, Spokesperson, Protect Our Water; Lillian Light, President, Palos Verdes Audubon Chapter; John Weisheit, Conservation Chair, Living Rivers/Colorado Riverkeeper; Spreck Rosenkrans, Restore Hetch Hetchy; Don Schmoldt, President, Sacramento Audubon Society; Diane Hichwa, Conservation Chair, Madrone Audubon.

Stephen Fuller-Rowell, Co-Founder, Oregon Waterwatch; Tom Chandler, Editor, Trout Underground; Will Harling, Executive Director, Mid-Klamath Watershed Council; Don Gillespie, President, Friends of Del Norte; Randa Solick, Co-Chair, Santa Cruz WILPF; Ken Franke, Executive Director, Sportfishing Association of California.

Jim Martin, Recreational Fishing Alliance; Sep Hendrickson, Executive Director, California Inland Fisheries Foundation; Aaron Newman, President, Humboldt Fisherman's Marketing Association; Mark Micoch, Co-Chairman, Northern California Guides Association; Dan Blanton, Chairman, StriperFest; Mike Augney, Co-Owner, USA Fishing.

Jim Martin, Director, Berkeley Conservation Institute; Bob Mellinger, Vice-President, Water for Fish; Bart Hall, Producer, Fred Hall Shows; Randy Repass, Chairman & Founder, West Marine; Bruce Tokars, President, Salmon Water Now; Galen Onizuka, Owner, President, Johnson Hicks Marine.

Angelo Pucci, President, P Line; Dick Pool, President, Pro-Troll Fishing Products; Liz Hamilton, Executive Director, Northwest Sportfishing Ind. Assn.; Bob Rees, President, North West Guides and Anglers Assoc.; Peter Grenell, Manager, San Mateo County Harbor District; Ken Elie, Owner, President, Outdoor Pro Shop.

Bill Divens, Salmon King Lodge West; Paul Johnson, Owner, Monterey Fish Market; Bob Kotula, Outwest Marketing; Danny Layne, Hawkeye Marketing; Roy Gray, Owner, Roy Gray & Associates; Dan Pamel, President, Leisure Sales; Paul Johnson, Owner, Monterey Fish Market.

Michael Scaglione, Pacific Catch Fish Grill; Bill Boyce, Boyce Image, World Fishing Network; Rich Kato, Sport Sales; Jack Swanson, Sales Manager, Repala USA; Chuck Cappotto, Bodega Bay Fisherman's Marketing Assoc.; Gary Coe, Kokanee Power.

Angelo Pucci, President, G. Pucci and Sons Mfg.; Capt Brian Smith, Riptide Charters; Capt Bob Ingles, Queen of Hearts Charters; Capt Brian Cutty, Chubasco Charters; Capt Brian Guiles, Flying Fish Charters; Capt Chris Chan, Ankeny St. Sportfishing.

Capt Craig Shimokosu, New Salmon Queen Charters; Capt Dale Walters, Que Sera Sera Charters; Capt Dennis Baxter, New Captain Pete Charters; Capt Don Franklin, Soleman Sportfishing Charters; Capt Ed Gallia, New Easy Rider Charters; Capt Frank Rescino, Lovely Martha Charters; Capt Harry Necees, Checkmate Charters; Capt Jack Chapman, Lovely Linda Sportfishing; Capt Jacky Douglas, Wacky Jacky Charters; Capt Jay Yokomozo, Huck Finn Charters; Jimmy Robertson, Outer Limits Charters; Capt Joe Gallia, El Dorado III Charters; Capt John Atkinson, New Ray Ann Charters; Capt John Kluzmier, Sir Randy Charters; Capt Nick Lemons, Star of Monterey Charters; Capt Ken Stagnaro, Stagnaro's Charters; Capt Randy Thornton, Telstar Charters.

Capt Richard Thornton, Trek II; Capt Rick Powers, Bodega Bay Sportfishing; Capt Peter Bruno, Randy's Fishing Trips; Bob Sparre, Bob Sparre's Guide Service; Capt Sean Hodges, Hog Heaven Charters; George Catagnoia, Owner, Sandy Ann Charters; Capt Steve Talmadge, Flash Sportfishing Charters; Sal Vallone, Bob Sands Fishing; Capt Tim Klassen, Reel Steel Sportfishing; Vance Staplin, Vance's Tackle.

Barbara Emley, F/V Autumn Gale; Capt Chris Acacelo, Chris' Fishing Charters; Jim Cox, Owner, Jim Cox Sport Fishing Charters; Jonah Li, Hi's Tackle Box; Sunny Lampre, Owner, Sunny's Electric Marine; Ron La Force, President, United Outdoorsmen; Danny Layne, Fish'n Dan's Guide Service; Marilyn Hendrickson, Sep's Outdoors Inc.; Mike Chamberlain, Ted's Sports Center; Craig Stone, Emeryville Sportfishing.

That's 200. That's more than the 12 or 14 members of the State legislature that wrote you a letter.

In the end, H.R. 1837 is nothing more than an attempt by well-funded water contractors to steal water from other users with no regard for the fishers, sportsmen, the farmers north of the delta, the families and the businesses who depend on their delta for their livelihood. It guts environmental protections and kills local jobs. It should be rejected, and solutions to California's water challenges should be based on strong and sound science; and it should be done with all of the stakeholders at the table, not in the proverbial back room.


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