H.R. 1837 is House of Representatives legislation that turns California’s water law upside down while it abandons most of the bi-partisan water reform projects currently underway.
It blatantly casts aside California’s endangered salmon and other threatened fish, and is a blatant slap in the face for everyone working to solve California’s very real water problems.
Below is CalTrout’s letter to the House:
RE: CalTrout Opposes H.R. 1837 (Nunes)
Dear Chairman Hastings and members of the Committee,
I am writing on behalf of California Trout, and our thousands of members throughout the state, to express our strong opposition to the “San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act”, H.R. 1837.
As a forty year-old organization focused on protecting and restoring wild trout, steelhead, salmon and their waters throughout California, we understand the challenges in balancing the water needs of California’s diverse constituents. This legislation, however, is based on a clear and blatant disregard for state water law, eliminates state and federal protection for California’s endangered salmon, and overturns a critical court approved San Joaquin River restoration settlement. This legislation further threatens an already pressured salmon fishing industry and its communities, the ecological integrity and water quality of the Bay Delta and the overall long-term reliability of California’s water supplies.
Our specific concerns with H.R. 1837 are many and significant.
It overturns the basic principal requiring the federal government to adhere to state water law whenever possible. And this bill will toss aside California’s 2009 bipartisan water policy reform legislation which mandated the development of a master Delta conservation plan and balances the goals of improved water quality while restoring the Bay-Delta estuary.
Endangered species protection measures for salmon, required under California and the Endangered Species Act, would be eliminated or replaced by weaker measures lacking an accepted foundation in sound science. California also has a history of bipartisan support opposing any legislative attempts to weaken the Endangered Species Act as it relates to the Bay Delta.
H.R. 1837 is masked under the premise that it will improve California water reliability and delivery. It does nothing to protect or enhance the state’s levee or delivery infrastructure, and would end the Bay Delta Conservation Plan process critical to any balanced water supply and delivery initiative.
In addition, H.R. 1837 would overturn the 2009 San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, an accord reached ultimately with bipartisan support over many, many years. The restoration of the San Joaquin River is one of the most significant and important conservation efforts not just in California, but the country. This bill would result in almost 40 miles of river with no water and eliminate any possibility of restoring the San Joaquin historic salmon population.
Countless groups representing diverse constituents with competing objectives have been working collaboratively to find an agreed-to solution for the Bay-Delta. H.R. 1837 will undermine decades of work and further threaten recovery. This will also no doubt lead to the continued decline and more frequent closures, to California’s remaining commercial salmon fishery. Communities have already lost thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars. H.R. 1837 will only increase the pressures on an already challenged industry and its communities.
We strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 1837.