Reactions to water bond: Legislators and interest groups respond
Here are reactions to the water bond. Given the late hour of the passage of the water bond, there will be more statements issued this morning, surely, which I will add to this post.
As always, the statements are listed in alphabetical order:
From the Association of California Water Agencies:
The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) hails the approval by the Legislature of an historic $7.5 billion water bond. If approved by voters in November, the bond will provide critical funds as the state grapples with one of the most severe droughts in its history. The bond also will allow for much-needed investments in the state’s backbone water infrastructure system – investments that have not been made in over 50 years.
“Legislative approval of a water bond in 2014 has been a top priority for the ACWA Board of Directors this year,” said ACWA President John Coleman. “The targeted monies in this bond will provide the necessary funding to move California forward in implementing a statewide comprehensive water plan that helps to secure our water future. Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tem Darrel Steinberg, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, and Assembly Republic Leader Connie Conway are to be commended for hammering out a bi-partisan compromise.”
ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn also applauded the legislative action. “This water bond is the right size at the right time for California,” added Quinn. “The bond will provide investments where we need them – in new surface and groundwater storage projects, regional water reliability, sustainable groundwater management and cleanup, water recycling, water conservation, watershed protection and safe drinking water, particularly for disadvantaged communities. It hasn’t always been a smooth road on the way to this bond, but thanks to the work of our fiscally responsible Governor, the Legislative leaders in both the Senate and the Assembly, the bill authors and many other Legislators who played key roles, this carefully crafted, targeted bond has a greatly enhanced chance of a successful outcome with voters this November.”
Speaker Toni Atkins:
“This bond meets critical need at the best cost in a way that voters will approve. It is good for the state as a whole and it is good for the state region by region. It took months of pushing and negotiating, working with the Governor and the Senate, Democrats and Republicans alike, and with stakeholders from around the state. We were successful – and this bond will be successful – exactly because we did this painstaking work together.
“In this bond we make the biggest investment in water storage in decades, we make a major investment in ensuring clean, sustainable groundwater, and we make a major investment in our rivers, streams, and watersheds that will help with our water needs, and provide important environmental benefits as well. With this bond we harness innovative technology, we anticipate the challenges that future droughts may pose, and we create jobs.
“I am proud the Legislature has stepped up and passed this important measure for California’s water future.”
From California Association of Mutual Water Companies:
Jim Byerrum, President and Chairman of the Board of the California Association of Mutual Water Companies is issuing the following statement about the $7.5 billion Water Bond signed by Governor Jerry Brown for placement in the November 2014 ballot after it was approved by the state legislature:
“We would like to congratulate and thank Governor Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Senate President Pro-Tem Daryl Steinberg and members of the California State Legislature for a water bond that is for once, relevant and helpful to California's small water systems.
Millions of Californians are served by not for profit mutual water companies and other types of small community water systems that were not eligible for significant portions of past bonds. This one is different because it is helpful in ways that can also help alleviate the state's drought condition. For example, people who live in disadvantaged communities are not water wasters. Most of the water losses in those communities take place underneath streets where old water pipelines are in need of replacement.
The bond signed by the Governor, if approved by the voters, can conserve water by helping small systems replace old infrastructure. Most meaningful is eligibility for funding that can help small systems comply with tough new California water quality regulations. While the funding isn't enough to fully address the burdens imposed by water quality standards for hexavalent chromium, arsenic, nitrates and other contaminants that small and poor communities can't afford to treat, this bond and this precedent represent great progress,” stated Byerrum.
Read the full statement here: Cal Mutual Press Release
From Assemblywoman Connie Conway:
Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare, today issued the following statement in response to Wednesday’s vote by the Legislature to put an alternative water bond measure on the November 2014 ballot:
“I am pleased that the Legislature today was able to come together and reach an agreement to place an alternative water bond before the voters this November. Today’s vote comes after nearly a decade of complex and often-difficult negotiations among many different stakeholders. I want to commend all the different parties for their hard work in reaching consensus on a water bond.
“Throughout the process, Republicans made it clear that the most important component of any water bond proposal must be storage. We successfully fought back against efforts to shortchange funding for critical water storage projects. If Republicans had not stood firm in fighting for more storage, this funding would likely have never materialized and we would be faced with more Band-Aid fixes to our severe droughts.
“As a result of strong Republican leadership, Californians will now have the chance this November to cast a ballot on a long-overdue water bond that will help meet our statewide water needs and provide a secure reliable water supply for millions of Californians for generations to come.”
From Ducks Unlimited:
Ducks Unlimited congratulates the governor and the California legislature on today’s passage of a state water bond that will directly benefit Pacific Flyway waterfowl for generations to come. The bond contains funding for the state’s cost-sharing obligations for refuges under the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, as well as funding to alleviate refuge water shortages in the Klamath basin and ease Northern California water concerns.
These investments will help provide a welcome relief for waterfowl and other migratory birds, as well as sportsmen and others concerned with the well being of California’s natural resources. Additionally, by allocating $2.7 billion towards water storage, the state’s leaders are making a significant investment in California’s infrastructure that will aid citizens and wildlife alike during future drought conditions.
“We are pleased that legislators and the governor made it a priority to provide for California’s natural resources and our partners in agriculture,” said Mark Biddlecomb, director of Ducks Unlimited’s Western Region. “This is a well-balanced bond, one that will benefit urban and rural citizens, provide our burgeoning population’s need for more storage, and provide much-needed funding for habitat restoration and water-use efficiency.”
From Senator Bob Huff:
“Republicans have consistently said that storage is essential for providing a reliable water source. We knew it was critical to make sure that any water bond on the ballot this fall will actually provide more water for all Californians. We accomplished this goal: nearly 40 percent of the bond funds are dedicated to water storage and can’t be withheld by the Legislature in the future. This means new reservoirs will be built, and that helps the rest of California’s water system work for the long term.
“This bond will cost nearly $4 billion less than what the Legislature agreed to in 2009, while providing nearly $1 billion more for water storage than what the governor proposed last week. This is an important down payment on the two large storage projects that are the backbone of any comprehensive water plan.
“The people of California expected the Legislature and the governor to come to a consensus on a water bond, and we accomplished that objective tonight. I want to thank the governor, Assembly Speaker Atkins and Senate President pro Tem Steinberg for their efforts. By coming together with a bipartisan agreement we have a bond that not only meets California’s needs, but also has strong support from voters and should pass in the November election.”
From Assemblyman Dan Logue:
North State Assemblyman and Chief Republican Whip, Dan Logue, co-authored SB 866 (Wolk), which will replace the existing $11.14 billion water bond currently on the November 2014 ballot with a $7.545 billion alternative.
“This water bond presents our first real opportunity to make real improvements to the statewide water system,” said Logue. “The passage of this water bond is long overdue, but I am glad that I was able to work with both my Republican and Democrat colleagues to come to a compromise. Today’s vote was a victory for the state of California. … The $2.7 billion for storage in this bond will be enough to fund both the Sites and Temperance Flat reservoirs. In the six years I have been in the Assembly, I have always advocated for more water storage to solve our state’s water crisis. Seeing as Sites is in my district, I am pleased that this is finally coming to fruition.”
Read full statement here: Logue Co-Authors $7.5 Billion Water Bond, Passes Assembly
From the NRDC:
“California’s drought brought a diverse set of interests together in support of a new bond that protects our environment and our economy, instead of one that creates a false choice between the two. This new water bond proposal is the right response to this drought. It invests billions of dollars in cost-effective, 21st-century water solutions that will restore ecosystems, stabilize our ailing freshwater systems, cleanup and manage our groundwater basins, and improve reliability of water throughout California.”
From Assemblyman Anthony Rendon:
“The passage this evening of the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 reflects the culmination of more than a year of work by the Assembly on crafting a water bond for the people of California that involved a groundbreaking open and transparent process.
The Assembly convened 15 water bond hearings across the state, from Indio to Eureka, to listen and learn about the true needs of California’s residents. In response, we set out landmark Principles for developing a new water bond that to emphasized fairness, accountability and transparency in state investments for critical water infrastructure projects that will provide a sustainable and reliable source of water for communities throughout the state. Tonight, we passed that water bond. It is fair, transparent and accountable to the voters.
The Legislature delivered for California. The water bond invests in the state’s top priorities for California’s water future. Today, legislators on both sides of the aisle join with the Governor in seeking voter support for this water bond. It invests in clean and safe drinking water, groundwater cleanup, water storage, water recycling, water conservation, protection for California’s rivers and coast, and critical investment in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
By investing in our water future, California will be better able to prepare for the next serious drought, and ensure a clean, safe and reliable water supply for all of California.”
From Restore the Delta:
Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build water export Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today called Governor Brown’s water bond proposal to have taxpayers buy water for future fish flows to satisfy exporter mitigation requirements “nuts.”
RTD said the governor’s bond measure is NOT “tunnels neutral,” and contains $485 million to buy water to replace what will be pumped into the tunnels. “Charging taxpayers $485 million to replace water sent through the tunnels to enrich mega-growers in Westlands and Kern Water Districts is nuts,” said RTD Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. “With that Ponzi scheme included, this bond will become a referendum on the tunnels.”
The governor’s flow language would allow public funds to be used to purchase water that could be diverted into the Delta tunnels. “The half-billion dollars in funding for purchase of water upstream of the Delta, and later diverted into the tunnels is a massive transfer of wealth from the rest of us to a few mega-growers who hog 70% of the water exported from the Delta,” said Barrigan-Parrilla. “Water transfers are needed by the BDCP for mitigation — essentially they can’t operate the new tunnels without putting more water in the River, which the BDCP will purchase – at taxpayer expense – from water districts and growers in the northern Sacramento Valley.”
Read the full statement here: Tunnels Opponents: Gov. Brown’s Water Bond; Will be a Referendum on Tunnels; NOT “Tunnels Neutral”, Charging Taxpayers $485 Million to Buy Water for Tunnels is “Nuts”, Shift of Burden to Public “Illegal”
From the Southern California Water Committee:
The state legislature overwhelmingly passed a new $7.54 billion water bond yesterday with broad bipartisan support from Democrats, Republicans, the Governor and stakeholder groups across California. The new water bond will be considered by voters this November, replacing the existing $11.1 billion bond that was previously slated for the November 2014 statewide ballot.
“Southern California Water Committee is very pleased to see a slim, targeted water bond heading to the ballot this November. The new water bond would help fund urgently needed local, regional and statewide projects to increase availability of clean, reliable water throughout California. We commend the Governor and legislators for reaching consensus in the best interests of the state, recognizing that California simply must make new water supply investments to sustain itself through the current drought and beyond.”
Southern California Water Committee
From the State Water Contractors:
The California Legislature yesterday approved a $7.5 billion water bond to replace the $11.1 billion water bond previously scheduled to appear on the statewide ballot this November. The trimmed down water bond proposes investments that boost water supply reliability and quality statewide, while enhancing regional self-sufficiency by providing funding for local projects.
“Public water agencies throughout the state appreciate the hard work Governor Brown and the State Legislature put in to developing and approving a new water bond for 2014. California has a long way to go in ensuring that cities, businesses and farms have a reliable water supply, but this new water bond puts us on the right path. Voters now have an opportunity to pass a water bond that advances the state’s long-term goals of increasing conservation and efficiency, ensuring adequate infrastructure to store water, investing in local and regional water supply projects to help increase regional sustainability and improving water quality. The brutal, ongoing drought is draining cities and farms across California—we need to invest in projects that will address immediate and long-term challenges and this bond can help on both fronts.”
State Water Contractors
From Senator Darrell Steinberg:
“California Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg issued the following statement, after a strong bipartisan coalition in the state legislature approved $7.12 billion in new bonds for water infrastructure, as the state weathers relentless drought conditions:
“This fiscally-responsible bipartisan agreement is a strong solution that meets the needs of all California communities for generations to come. With sensible funding for water storage, water recycling, and clean water supplies, and with environmental and agricultural advocates standing with us, this accomplishment is illustrative of the direction that our state is heading. California is getting things done.”
“I’m very grateful to the tireless work of Senator Wolk and the Senate Democratic Caucus, Assembly Speaker Atkins and her caucus, Governor Brown and his staff, the Senate and Assembly Republican caucuses, and Senate and Assembly staff.”
From Senator Andy Vidak:
“This water bond will bring desperately-needed water to our Valley and put people back to work. Valley legislators in both houses fought hard to help the Valley and I want to thank all of them for working across the aisle on this issue. I also appreciate the governor listening to the bipartisan voice of the Valley. This historic bipartisan compromise shows what can happen when we all come together to solve a serious problem. After five waterless water bonds, we’ve finally moved in the right direction by investing in surface storage.”
From Western Growers:
“Western Growers applauds passage of legislation today by the California Assembly and Senate establishing a $7.5 billion water bond that includes $2.7 billion for storage. We are especially pleased that the storage portion of this legislation is a continuous appropriation preventing the legislature from withholding funding. Passage of this legislation is an essential first step in adding capacity to our state’s existing storage infrastructure. This legislation replaces the existing bond slated for this November’s statewide ballot. Our Association will work diligently with Governor Jerry Brown to garner support for the initiative. We commend members of both parties who came together to support compromise legislation critical not only for our growers, but for all of the state’s residents and water users. Western Growers particularly appreciates Governor Brown’s leadership on this issue. We look forward to his support of this measure as we work together to gain voter approval for the initiative this November. “
From Senator Lois Wolk:
State Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) today applauded the passage of Senate Bill 866, legislation to replace the existing $11.14 billion water bond set for the November ballot with a $7.5billion water bond crafted by the Governor and Democratic leaders in the State Legislature. The bipartisan agreement, authored by Wolk and Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), provides a comprehensive approach to meeting the state's future water needs, in addition to meeting urgent needs in all regions of the state.
“This is a very different bond than the pork-laden one currently on the ballot, which helped some regions of this state, but hurt others. This bond is good for the Delta and all of California, and it’s affordable. SB 866 not only meets the state’s greatest and most urgent water needs, it includes hard-won victories for the Delta including language to ensure this bond is BDCP neutral and includes no funding that can be used to pay for the Delta tunnels or tunnel mitigation projects. Also included are requirements that Delta communities have a voice in decisions on projects in the Delta—as well as first-ever funding for the Delta Conservancy and the opportunity for the Conservancy to demonstrate that it can deliver on the important charge it was given in 2009.
“This bond is a compromise. It isn’t perfect. But it is still a win for the Delta and the state, and it is a bond that voters can support in November.Read the full statement here: Press Release_ Wolk applauds passage of affordable, BDCP neutral water bond