Tulare County Farm Bureau Board of Directors made their support known this week for H.R.3964 and S.2016, the two current federal legislative proposals that address drought relief in California.
“Both bills are critically important to advance, we applaud the work of our local Congressional Leaders, David Valadao, Devin Nunes, and Kevin McCarthy to quickly advance H.R.3964, and assemble strong support from the entire California Congressional Delegation on this bill,” stated TCFB President Steve Godlin. “Equally important is having a vehicle in the U.S. Senate to also move important language to a conference committee, and we applaud Senators Feinstein and Boxer for crafting S.2016 to do just that.”
The two bills differ significantly but both focus on a variety of solutions, some which provide immediate relief from the drought, authorize federal dollars to assist drought stricken communities, and other components that focus on long term solutions. Farm Bureau has drafted and sent a letter of support for both bills as a result of board action taken on Feb. 20.
Tulare County Farm Bureau supports the House Bill 3964 as we believe it is prudent and warranted to update and modify the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and other laws to eliminate out of date federal and state protections for invasive fish species; restore certainty for Central Valley Project water supply contracts; facilitate water transfers; establish a stakeholder oversight panel for the CVP Restoration Fund; strengthen requirements to enhance CVP water yields; and provide a common-sense framework for environmental protections in the delta.
Senate Bill 2016 also includes many important elements, but falls short of addressing many critical issues including long term solutions, relief from the Endangered Species Act, and new forms of storage. Farm Bureau strongly encourages the Senate to consider the following important components as they advance a bill. Storage must be in both bills, new storage including the Temperance Flat site; enhanced storage including raising dams and expanding reservoirs where possible; and also building new conveyance and storage infrastructure statewide to capture rain and snow melts.
A comprehensive solution should including the following key provisions:
In the Short Term:
- · Immediate relief from the Endangered Species Act
- · Resume pumping at the Tracy pumps and operate the State Water Project and Central Valley Project with maximum discretion and flexibility
- · Cessation of restoration flows on the San Joaquin River until such a time as the necessary improvements have been completed and surplus water exists beyond the needs of communities and industry
In the Long Term:
- · Increase storage capacity within our existing reservoir systems
- · Construct new reservoirs throughout the entire state
- · Re-evaluate the current managements plans to allow improved operational flexibility of our water projects
- · Reform the Endangered Species Act
- · Revise the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement
Tulare County Farm Bureau supports a bipartisan effort from the House and the Senate to craft a comprehensive solution for immediate relief and long term solutions, thereby securing a reliable water supply for all of California, and to protect the number one industry in the state, agriculture. Tulare County Farm Bureau represents over 2,000 farm and ranch families.
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