News Worth Noting, DC edition: House passes Senate energy legislation with California water provisions; Valley Republicans defeat efforts by Reps. Garamendi and McNerney to stop the twin tunnels; Senator Feinstein’s legislation will destroy sport fishing in the Delta, say fishing groups
House Passes Senate Energy Legislation with California Water Provisions
Legislation Set to Go to Conference with the Senate
From Congressman David Valadao’s office:
This afternoon, the United States House of Representatives passed an Amendment to the Senate-passed energy bill, S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016.
The House Amendment to S. 2012 includes thirty-seven energy and water related bills that have passed the House of Representatives throughout the current 114th Congress. Included in the Amendment, is drought relief legislation introduced by U.S. Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21), H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015.
“While the Senate has refused to act on the California drought, they were willing to address water issues throughout the nation, leaving California in the dust,” stated Congressman David Valadao. He went on, “Including my bill, H.R. 2898 in the House-passed legislation today will send this bill to Conference with the Senate, ensuring Congress does everything in their power to provide relief for the farmers, families, and entire communities suffering from this crisis. I urge California’s Senators to come to the table and work together toward solutions rather than eliminate constructive solutions from the bill.”
The House Amendment to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, passed the House on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 by a vote of 241 to 178.
Before the vote, Representative Valadao stressed the need for an immediate federal solution on the House Floor. Video of Rep. Valadao’s remarks can be found here.
More information on Rep. Valadao’s legislation, H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015 can be found here.
San Joaquin Valley Republicans Defeat Efforts by Reps. Garamendi and McNerney to Stop the Twin Tunnels
Defeated amendments would have barred federal funding for Governor Brown’s destructive tunnels that would the Delta
In a spirited debate with his colleagues from the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, Garamendi attacked the argument for the tunnels. “The tunnels are a deadly threat to the Delta and a wasteful boondoggle costing more than $15 billion while not creating one gallon of new water,” said Garamendi.
Garamendi also continued his attack on the legislation proposed by David Valadao (R-CA), which was amended into an energy bill passed by the Senate (S.2021). The Valadao legislation would gut the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the biological opinions that protect the Delta.
Congressman Garamendi’s floor speech on the twin tunnels can be viewed here.
Senator Feinstein’s Legislation Will Destroy Sport Fishing in The San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary
From the Allied Fishing Groups:
Federal legislation introduced by California Senator Diane Feinstein would destroy the most popular sport fisheries in the Bay-Delta estuary should Congress pass her proposed legislation, S.2533 called “The California Long-Term Provisions for Water Supply and Short-Term Provisions for Emergency Drought Relief Act”.
“The Allied Fishing Groups have urged Senator Feinstein to make urgent amendments to S.2533 to prevent the authorization and funding of programs to remove and eradicate non-native striped bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pan fish and catfish from the California Delta” stated the Allied Fishing Groups Conservation Director John Beuttler.
“S.2533 is a death sentence for sport fishing and will accelerate the collapse of all the fisheries including salmon in Bay-Delta estuary”, commented Beuttler. “It will have devastating financial impacts on the money these fisheries generate for Northern California, the Delta, San Francisco Bay and the State’s economy. A 2013 California Department of Fish & Wildlife report estimates these fisheries generate $500 million annually to the states economy.”
“These fish have been targeted for destruction due to their alleged predation on salmon. However, the peer reviewed science on predation in the estuary clearly demonstrates that predation does not have an impact on salmon abundance”, stated David Ostrach PhD., a fisheries scientist who has worked on the estuary’s fisheries for more than 30 years and is the Allied Fishing Groups Science Advisor. “This stands in sharp contrast to the bogus science on predation that has not been peer reviewed but is often cited by water districts, and Central Valley agriculture spokesmen.”
According to Ostrach, “Striped bass and salmon coexisted and thrived together in the estuary and its tributaries for more than 100 years. Both populations have collapsed since the 1960’s when the State and Federal water projects began pumping from the Delta adversely altering the estuarine ecosystem. The striped bass fishery has collapsed from an estimated 4,000,000 to less than 300,000 adult fish, while several runs of salmon have been placed on the Endangered Species List in an effort to prevent their extinction. Unfortunately, striped bass do not have that protection because they were introduced into the Delta in 1879. Non-native fish are not eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act.”
“All of California’s fisheries are owned by the pubic”, commented Beuttler. “They are an important part of our state’s natural resource heritage that our government is legally required to hold in trust for people of the state.”
“Ironically”, he commented, “the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has refused to manage the striped bass fishery due to political pressure from Corporate Agriculture and the Water Districts that supply them water. The agency has found political benefit in supporting the demise of this fishery in conjunction with the state’s agricultural industry which helped write some of the language in S.2533.”
“Losing sport fisheries that generate some $500 million annually can’t be a good thing for the people of this state and especially those who live and work in the Delta,” noted Ostrach. “Senator Feinstein’s legislation is supposed to aide drought stricken California, not drive it into further fiscal and environmental decline.”
“According to some media reports, the state’s agriculture industry set new records of financial income during the drought in 2015 while many of the fisheries of the Bay-Delta estuary fell to their lowest levels in history due to the State’s failure to protect the water needed by the public’s fishery resources”, commented Beuttler.
“The estuary’s non-native fish are being scapegoated to cover up damage the state and federal water projects have caused to the fisheries of the Delta and its tributaries,” said Beuttler. “Since the projects came on line in 1950’s and 60’s, the estuary’s fisheries have been slaughtered by the millions due to the design and operation of the Federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. The loss of revenue to the state and the businesses in California since 1963 from the decline of the striped bass fishery has cost our economy an estimated $42 million per year for a total of $2.5 billion.*
“The Allied Fishing Groups is working diligently to obtain critical amendments to this legislation to protect the estuary’s fisheries and the business that depend on them. Our requests to the Senator have falling on deaf ears due to the influence of corporate agriculture that has little regard for public’s fishery resources”, noted Beuttler.
For those who share our concern regarding these fisheries please go to our website at www.alliedfishinggroups.com for additional information.”
* Based on information from California Department of Fish and Wildlife Report No. 85-03 – Anadromous fisheries Branch
The Allied Fishing Groups are a voice for California’s two million recreational anglers. Currently we represent over 40 sport fishing organizations across the state. Our Mission is to save, protect and restore Northern California’s fisheries and their habitat. Guided by science and our many years of direct experience in fishery management, our Steering Committee is comprised of fishery professionals and dedicated anglers. We work with sport fishing businesses, government and sport fishing organizations to implement practical and lasting solutions to the serious problems facing fisheries and their habitat. www.alliedfishinggroups.com
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About News Worth Noting: News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms. If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.