California Sues Trump Administration Over New Water Plan

Brian German Agri-Business, Water

The new water plan signed by President Donald Trump has quickly met opposition from California officials.  A lawsuit was filed in federal court the day after President Trump was in Bakersfield to sign new federal regulations that would allow more water to be pumped from the watersheds of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. The California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Natural Resources Agency are claiming the order violates federal environmental law.

new water plan

“California won’t silently spectate as the Trump Administration adopts scientifically challenged biological opinions that push species to extinction and harm our natural resources and waterways,” Becerra said in a statement.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, urging the court to declare the adoption of the new federal biological opinions as unlawful.  The lawsuit also challenges the validity of the latest biological opinions that were issued by the National Marine Fisheries Services and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last fall.  “We are challenging the federal biological opinions, which do not currently govern water project operation in the Delta, to protect highly imperiled fish species close to extinction,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.

During his address to the crowd of thousands in Bakersfield, President Trump noted that California’s water supplies have been mismanaged on “the basis of old science, obsolete studies, and overbearing regulations.” In a written statement, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who was with President Trump for the signing of the new water plan, expressed disappointment in California officials. 

“The governor and attorney general just launched a ship into a sea of unpredictable administrative and legal challenges regarding the most complex water operations in the country, something they have not chartered before,” said Bernhardt. “Litigation can lead to unpredictable twists and turns that can create significant challenges for the people of California who depend on the sound operation of these two important water projects.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West