California Representatives vote no on drought legislation

By on July 22, 2015
California Water Legislation Coming Soon

Last week, the House of Representatives voted on H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015. The legislation was passed 245-176. Under the newly passed legislation, water policies will be modernized, meaning the federal regulators would be able to capture water during periods of greater precipitation. This water could then be used to increase California’s water supply, which would help provide relief during future droughts. Major water supply projects that have been approved for more than a decade received a major green light.

Four members of Congress, who represent California, voted no on the legislation: Congressman Raul Ruiz (D-San Jacinto), Congressman Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands), Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Thousand Oaks) and Congressman Mike Thompson (D-Napa).

“The legislation we’re debating today redefines the standard by which the Endangered Species Act is applied. This will weaken the law, increase the risk of species extinction and lead to countless lawsuits and costly litigation. It’s as if the majority is holding wildlife responsible for our lack of rain,” Congressman Mike Thompson (D-Napa) said on the Congressional floor. “You will hear the other side talk about a little fish, the Delta Smelt – and how we’re protecting fish at the expense of people. The truth is, as the gentleman from California mentioned, that protection of the smelt hasn’t prevented one drop of water from being pumped south since 2013…And I’m not insensitive to the supply and demand reality of California’s water. I understand the concerns of Central Valley farmers. I’m a farmer myself – but if my well runs dry, the solution isn’t to steal the water from my neighbors.”

The offices of Congressmembers Ruiz, Aguilar and Brownley could not be reached for comment.