WATER

We are already seeing the beginnings of reform in water policy. CA Congressman David Valadao has introduced HR 23 in the 115th Congress. You can read the text here.  You can also follow the progress of this bill and see a summary of the bill here.

We will be watching as this bill goes into Committees and is "marked up". We will bring you updates and let you know if this bill stays as a good policy for California.

For a decade now we have been working to bring water policy ideas and legislation to your attention. We have ammassed a stockpile of information and worked some of the leading people and non-governmental organizations on this subject. We encourage you to learn all you can on this very important issue not to just California but to the whole country.

 

One of the premier organizations in this fight are the CA Farmer owner and led group Families Protecting the Valley. If you want more information  about them , check our thier website here.

 

Dead Harvest- the Central Valley, California Water Crisis

Orville Dam Spillway February 2017

Trump executive order scraps EPA water rule

By JOHN SICILIANO  2/28/17 5:00 AM

President Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday scrapping a controversial Environmental Protection Agency rule that expanded the agency's jurisdiction over the nation's waterways during the second term of former President Obama.

The regulation, known as the Waters of the U.S. rule, broadened the definition of the type of water body that would fall under EPA's formidable clean water enforcement powers, making everything from streams to ditches and watering holes subject to the EPA's and Army Corps of Engineers' oversight.

The rule has been a top target for the GOP on Capitol Hill for more than two years, with Republicans and some Democrats opposing the regulation, which was renamed the Clean Water Rule after being made final by EPA. Trump vowed to repeal the regulation during his campaign. The executive order is meant to be a sign that he intends to keep his promises to supporters, who want to rein in the Obama administration's overreaching rules.

The executive order makes the legal argument that the rule oversteps the agencies' statutory authority, and therefore must be remanded back to the agencies and reconsidered, White House officials told reporters. the latest developments from nation's capital and beyond with curated News Alerts from the Washington Examiner news desk and delivered to your inbox.

 

 

"Decisions in the Supreme Court over time have been somewhat confusing, but it's pretty clear that the jurisdictions that oversee this issue should be shrinking," not expanding, one official said. "The problem with the Obama rule is that it vastly expands federal jurisdiction into state and local jurisdictions."

The executive order will instruct the EPA and the Army Corps to go back to the drawing board and review and reconsider the rule, according to the officials.

It will also instruct the agencies, acting with the Justice Department, to petition the federal 6th circuit court of appeals to halt the regulation while the agencies conduct their review and reconsideration. The court is reviewing a major lawsuit against the regulation.

Meanwhile, a non-binding resolution was introduced in the House Monday evening by Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, and 36 cosponsors expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Waters of the United States rule be withdrawn. The resolution is supportive of Trump's order, although it does not expressly reference it.

"Since the Obama Administration first proposed their WOTUS rule, I've heard from farmers, small business owners, county and township officials, and state environmental officials who have been strongly opposed" to the regulation, said Gibbs.

 

"This resolution expresses just how important it is to rescind this EPA power grab and start from scratch, working with stakeholders to create a sensible rule that protects water quality and preserves the federal-state partnership of the Clean Water Act," said Gibbs. "Farmers in Ohio and across the nation cannot afford more costly and burdensome regulations from a Washington bureaucracy that thinks it knows best."

The environmental community, in anticipation of the executive order being issued this week, issued statements denouncing the presidential directive as a major step backward for the nation's environment.

"Without the Clean Water Rule's critical protections, innumerable small streams and wetlands that are essential for drinking water supplies, flood protection, and fish and wildlife habitat will be vulnerable to unregulated pollution, dredging and filling," said Bob Irvin, the president of the American Rivers group.

Board Ignores Concerns

 

The article below explains the difficulty a water district has implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act when they don't have much to say about their surface water situation.  No one disputes there is a critical over-drafting of groundwater and it needs to be addressed, but groundwater can only be recharged when surface water is available.  

The board goes on the tell water districts that if they don't get their groundwater situation under control, the board will take over the responsibility.  So the board tells water districts they have to get their groundwater under control, but at the same time takes more of their surface water that they need to make it happen.  

Water districts are in an impossible situation that's being exacerbated by the water board, and the board says they will take over if the districts can't do it.  It's the board that is making it impossible to comply.  The article below by Stockton East Water District could have been written by any and all water districts.

Stockton East Water District: State water board ignores everyone but themselves

The Corps of Engineers and EPA want to federalize the “Waters of the United States”

 

 The Obama Administration has imposed a new Clean Water Act (CWA) dictate that threatens to unleash a flood of federal regulations over people's land and their lives, from one end of the continent to the other. This breathtaking power grab takes the form of an open-ended new definition of the "waters of the United States" that are subject to the Act. The rule is so broad and vague that federal regulators would be licensed to micro-manage property owners who are far away from genuinely navigable waters such as rivers, lakes or the ocean. PLF is preparing to fight back. We're already known for our precedent-setting victories against CWA overreach -- including the 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Rapanos v. United States, which set clear boundaries on the regulators' reach.

 

Because the Obama Administration isn't obeying Rapanos, or the clear limits set by the Constitution and the CWA itself, our response now is simple and blunt: "We will be seeing you in court!" PLF Principal Attorney M. Reed Hopper, who successfully argued the Rapanos case at the Supreme Court, notes that it specifically said isolated waters and "tributaries" to navigable waterways are beyond the control of the CWA. "But these are the very waters that the new rule purports to regulate!" Hopper notes. "The new edict expands federal regulatory power to an unprecedented extent -- violating clear legal and constitutional principles, and undermining the rights and responsibilities of the states to control local land and water use," said Hopper.

 

"It is filled with ill-defined terms that add even more arbitrariness to the regulatory scheme," he pointed out. "All this vagueness allows federal officials to make subjective decisions and to assert the broadest possible interpretation of their jurisdiction. The result will be an environment of uncertainty that undermines property rights, economic growth, and liberty."

To learn more about the new rule and PLF's detailed analysis of it, visit: www.pacificlegal.org. Listen to our podcast on the issue. PLF attorneys are hard at work developing our legal challenge to this ominous assault on freedom. We will alert you when we file our lawsuit -- and keep you posted along the way, as we vigorously prosecute the litigation, up to the Supreme Court if necessary.

                                  

DO YOU HAVE A WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES CASE?

Simply click the link below to request PLF's legal assistance.

SUBMIT YOUR CASE

 

The Truth

Congressman Devin Nunes held a water forum  where he began by showing a PowerPoint presentation called 'Drought by Design:  Current Water Outlook for the San Joaquin Valley.'

The information in the presentation gives us a no-holds-barred look at where we are with the current state of affairs in water policy in California.  Here are some of the highlights (or lowlights):

Average Annual Water Flow into the Delta:  25M Acre Feet(MAF)
19MAF Sent Out to the Ocean (76%)
1.5MAF Used in Delta (6%)
4.5MAF Exported to Bay Area and South-of-Delta (18%)

Irrigated Land by Acres:
Madera:  292,274
Fresno:  879,727
Kings:  407,417
Tulare:  557,361
Kern:  729,958

If we don't act, hundreds of thousands of acres will be forced into retirement:  

Westside:  404,000 acres
Kings:  60,000 acres
Tulare Lake:  145,200 acres
Tule:  61,600 acres
Kern:  268,950 acres
Madera:  39,600 acres
Chowchilla:  32,000

The Problems:  
Endangered Species Act 1973 - 9.6 million acre feet flushed to the ocean since January...19.2 million acre feet since 2014

Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) 1992 - Dedicates 1.4 million acre feet to the environment

San Joaquin River Settlement 2006 - 93,000 acres to be retired when fully implemented

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA/State Law) - DWR estimates 1.5-2 million acre feet overdraft in Central Valley

These are all federal and state laws and they need to be changed to solve the problems.

Solutions:

Build Water Storage:

Raise Shasta Dam (increase storage 256,000AF)
Expand San Luis Reservoir (increase capacity 130,000AF)
Expand Los Vaqueros Reservoir (increase capacity 1,750,000AF)
Build Temperance Flat (create capacity 2,260,000AF)
Build Sites Reservoir (create capacity 1,400,000AF)

Devin concludes:  Legislators have refused to act, so the people must.  You can do this by supporting initiatives that prioritize state action on the water crisis.  He also urges you to urge agricultural groups and water agencies to support these core policies:

Reform Endangered Species Act through federal legislation

Reform the CVPIA through federal legislation

Fix the San Joaquin River Settlement through federal legislation

These are real solution that anyone can see would work.  We don't claim that they can be achieved because people like Senator Dianne Feinstein continue to press for tweaks to the system.  
In her latest op/ed Senator Feinstein again pushes for "a more flexible pumping system"...and making sure "the White House, Gov. Jerry Brown and their respective agencies were involved to ensure it would not violate the Endangered Species Act or the biological opinions."

We don't need to tweak the system, and if the ESA isn't reformed we can't solve the problem.  That's the truth.


 

Truth About the Drought

California leaders continue to focus on climate change as the major problem facing the state.  We continue to believe that man-made policies regarding water use are the biggest problems facing us.  As a reminder, we are republishing an article written by Congressman Devin Nunes last year in Investor's Business Daily.  Here's a clue:  "Their goal was to remove 1.3 million acres of farmland from production. They showed me maps that laid out their whole plan."  No matter what you hear about climate change or the drought, keep this article in mind:

Man-Made Drought: A Guide To California's Water Wars

Solving the Smelt Problem

If the State of California was serious about solving the smelt and salmon problem in the Delta, they would look serusly at solutions other than reducing water deliveries to farmers at the pumps.  As we all know, adjusting water pumping over the years hasn't helped the fish populations.  

There are other things that could be done.  One solution would be to reduce the striped bass population.  Striped bass are not endangered.  They eat endangered smelt and endangered salmon.  The daily bag limit for the bass is 2.  Back 
in 2011 there was a proposal to increase it to 6.  It was rejected by the Department of Fish and Game.  

There was another effort this year to again increase the daily bag limit.  Backers of the plan pulled their petition Tuesday when they were told they would only be allowed 10 minutes to make their presentation.  If saving the smelt, the salmon and the Delta are so important, how is it that it's only worth 10 minutes?  

We are of the opinion that this is a real solution that would help smelt and salmon numbers increase.  Let's think this through:  If striped bass eat endangered salmon; and if striped bass eat endangered smelt; and if there are too few smelt and salmon; and if there are plenty of striped bass; doesn't it make sense to reduce the population of striped bass so we could increase the population of salmon and smelt?  

Where is the flaw in our thinking?


 

Backers drop plan to allow Delta anglers to keep more striped bass

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