Last Friday Governor Gavin Newsom made good on his word by vetoing Senate Bill 1 (SB 1). The news was celebrated by several agricultural, water, and business groups, as being an important step to ensure that California’s voluntary agreements succeed in better managing water supplies. “While I disagree about the efficacy and necessity of Senate Bill 1, I look forward to working with the Legislature in our shared fight against the weakening of California’s environmental and worker protections,” Newsom wrote in a veto letter.
The California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019 known as SB 1, would have solidified the use of outdated biological opinions when determining restrictions for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The legislation was also described as a ‘job killer’ by the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber), who celebrated the veto. “SB 1 posed a major threat to California’s water supply and reliability, and the Governor has shown outstanding leadership in announcing his veto of this measure,” CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg said in a statement.
Agriculture groups such as Western Growers and the Western Agricultural Processors Association worked in opposition of the bill throughout the legislative process. The underlying concern was that the bill would have eliminated the cooperative work that has been done in reaching voluntary agreements among water users. “ACWA applauds Governor Newsom for recognizing that SB 1 would have derailed the ongoing Voluntary Agreement negotiations and led to unnecessary regulatory uncertainty for water agencies throughout California,” said Brent Hastey, Associations of California Water Agencies President.
Several California legislators including Shannon Grove, Andreas Borgeas, and Josh Harder have also issued various messages of support for Governor Newsom’s decision to veto SB 1. “I applaud the governor’s commitment to listening to the needs of Central Valley water users…the voluntary settlement process is our best option for ensuring our farmers have the water they need to protect their livelihoods and feed the world while also protecting vulnerable fish and wildlife, ” Harder said in a statement.