CA Lawmakers Announce Drought Field Hearing

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San Luis Reservoir, Central California, in drought condition in 2008, with water at 20% of capacity.  Photo by Len Wilcox

San Luis Reservoir, Central California, in drought condition in 2008, with water at 20% of capacity. Photo by Len Wilcox

Following a meeting on Thursday to help resolve the California water crisis, Republican House Members representing parts of the Central Valley and other areas reiterated that they stand ready to negotiate with the Senate on legislation to help resolve the drought through short-term and long-term measures. Such measures could include storage authorization provisions in H.R. 3964, the Sacramento–San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act which recently passed in the House of Representatives to provide drought relief.

While hopeful that the Senate can act quickly on passing legislation, the House Members announced that they plan to hold a field hearing and tour drought-impacted areas as a way to demonstrate their commitment to educating Congress on the plight of the regulatory loss of water, the need for new storage and delivering water to parched farms and cities.

Rep. David G. Valadao (CA-21) stated,“California, especially the San Joaquin Valley has been suffering from drought conditions severely exacerbated by erroneous federal regulations for several years. California Republicans in the House passed legislation to provide immediate relief and a long term solution, their second attempt in recent years to address California’s water issues.”

He continued,”Today, it is time for the Senate to act so that the both Chambers may resolve our differences, find common ground, and move bipartisan, bicameral drought legislation through Congress and to the President’s desk.”

“The House has passed legislation by a bipartisan vote of 229-191 to provide solutions to the man-made California water crisis that is devastating Central Valley farmers and families,”said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23).

“When Majority Leader Reid decides to put California water legislation on the Senate floor for a vote and Senators Feinstein and Boxer work to ensure its passage, I look forward to coming together to find areas of common ground and commonsense to finally achieve a solution that our state is so desperately in need of.”Rep. Devin Nunes (CA-22) said,

“After waiting years to take action while California communities suffered from a man-made water crisis, the Senate has finally introduced a water bill. The legislation is weak, but its passage would allow the House and Senate to finally begin negotiating a solution to this unmitigated disaster.”

“We cannot afford to once again have government devastate the valley’s economy. Valley families depend on water. The senate must act now,”stated Rep. Jeff Denham (CA-10).

“The House has twice passed comprehensive legislation to provide additional water storage, strengthen senior water rights, and assure more productive use of our scarce water resources in California,” said Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04). “I am disappointed that the Feinstein legislation has none of these provisions, but I look forward to expeditious consideration by the Senate so that we can begin the conference process without further delay.”

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) said, “The House has acted on a drought relief bill that not only contains reforms to address California’s immediate crisis, but also plans for the our state’s future by creating more water storage to support agriculture, cities and industry. However, there is no time to waste: we need the Senate to pass a proposal immediately in order to work together on a bipartisan, comprehensive solution that can be signed into law as soon as possible. Short term aid is well and good, but California will face water shortages in perpetuity unless the Senate approves a measure that supports additional storage.”