Legislators say Executive Director’s decision ‘difficult to understand’; 10,000 acre-feet already lost since order went into effect
Senator Feinstein, Congressman and Majority Leader KevinMcCarthy, along with five other California members of Congress have written a letter to State Water Board Chari Felicia Marcus asking for a reconsideration of the recent decision by the Executive Director of the State Water Board denying some elements of the Temporary Urgency Change Petition that were designed to provide additional near-term flexibility for Delta operations by the state and federal water projects.
The letter states that the decision is ‘difficult to understand’ especially in light of the concurrence of the proposed changes by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife – the agencies that have responsibility for ensuring application of endangered species act protections. As a result, since the order went into effect, as much as 10,000 acre-feet of water has been lost, and more could be lost after storm flows have subsided, they say.
“We appreciate the difficult task that has been placed in front of the Board, but we are running out of time and water because we don’t know how many more storms will hit California this year,” they write. “When five agencies – including three tasked with protecting fish – have already assessed and concurred that the export adjustment would not cause harms beyond those allowed under the most stringent statutes and biological opinions, we believe the Executive Director should not have rejected the agencies’ shared assessment and denied the export adjustment in the TUCP without a compelling rationale for taking such an extraordinary action.”
“We strongly urge you to reconsider the Executive Director’s February 3, 2015 order, and to immediately approve the project operator’s TUCP fully so they have the greatest operational flexibility at their disposal to capture water and to meet the many competing uses of water in our drought-ridden state,” the letter closes.
The letter is signed by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congress members Kevin McCarthy, Ken Calvert, Jim Costa, Jeff Denham, Devin Nunes, and David Valadao.
The State Water Resources Control Board is scheduled to take the matter up in a public hearing next week on Wednesday, February 18.