Sunday, February 16, 2014

McCarthy pushes to restore the principles of the 1994 Bay Delta Accord and laments that state and federal policy puts fish before people

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. 

 "Many are familiar with the fable, the Ant and the Grasshopper by Greek fabulist, Aesop. Aesop’s fable teaches us the importance of planning ahead and saving.  During summer, the ant would work to store food for the winter, knowing that in winter, food would be scarce. Not the grasshopper. The grasshopper was carefree, taking the summer day-by-day without thinking about the seasons to come. When the inevitably barren winter arrived, the ant was ready and the grasshopper went hungry. Unfortunately, when it comes to California’s water policy, this lesson remains ignored.

 "In 1994, an agreement was forged between the federal government and the state of California that established a system and process in years of rain and snowfall that would deliver water from the north of the state to the Central Valley. Once the water reached the Valley, it could be stored to help mitigate the effects of inevitable future droughts, such as the one we are facing today. This accord was agreed to by farmers, environmentalists, Republicans, and Democrats alike.

 "But this agreement has evaporated, along with the water our communities contract and pay for. Thanks to federal and state regulations, as well as California’s well-funded environmentalists, water has been diverted from California’s traditionally arid regions and instead dumped into the Pacific Ocean – where no crops are grown. Since 2007, the State Water Project has lost 2.6 million acre-feet of water because of these policies, enough water to meet the annual needs for every resident of Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago combined. If that water had been stored, we would be in a better position to withstand today’s current drought.

 "Our legislation, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Emergency Water Delivery Act, which recently passed the House, restores the principles in the 1994 Bay Delta Accord that strike an appropriate balance between protecting the delta environment and providing communities south of the delta with critical water supplies.  It simply prioritizes families over fish.

 "The President’s decision to use his visit to California as an opportunity to launch a massive spending initiative to explore the impacts of climate change will simply leave California Central Valley communities dry. Unfortunately, nothing the President proposed today changes the underlying issue that our communities are not receiving the water they have contracted and paid for; thus exacerbating the impacts of the current and future droughts. House Republicans on the other hand are continuing to work to find a bipartisan, bicameral solution to ensure our communities are not crippled by future droughts. We look forward to coming together with the Senate to find areas of common ground and commonsense to finally achieve a solution that allows desperately needed water to flow in our state.

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