Last week we voiced our concern about a last minute addition of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s nearly 90-page “rider” into the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA), also called the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN). While the WIIN Act took positive steps towards improving water infrastructure projects across the United States, the backroom deal introduced a separate controversial California water bill to the fast moving and popularly supported WIIN Act. The rider went on to pass in the Senate, despite a filibuster attempt by Sen. Barbara Boxer, and was signed into law last week by President Obama.
With the passage of the WIIN Act, we will soon see the effects of the controversial water infrastructure bill in action. For CalTrout this bill truly represents a mixed bag for drought relief in California:
Some of the positives:
Some of the negatives:
In signing the bill President Obama voiced a similar concern over the potential ESA protections. While lauding the water infrastructure projects that the bill authorizes, Obama stressed that the provisions relating to the increased pumping measures “require continued application and implementation of the Endangered Species Act, consistent with the close and cooperative work of federal agencies with the State of California to assure that state water quality standards are met.”
For a closer look at the WIIN Act and what it means for the ESA, read Wired Magazine’s post below where author Marley Walker states WIIN, “could also weaken the Endangered Species Act altogether, opening it to legal attacks from anyone who prioritizes resource extraction over the existence of thousands of currently listed critters.”
CalTrout will continue to monitor the WIIN Act’s effects on the California water picture going forward.