Did BOR shift economic burden from Water Contractors to taxpayers?
From the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations:
On Monday May 3rd, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), the West Coast’s largest trade organization of small-scale commercial fishermen and women, signed on to a letter asking Representative Katie Porter (D – Ca 45th) in her capacity as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Government Operations and Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, to open an investigation into Reclamation’s manipulation of government cost accounting standards and its own longstanding criteria for allocating costs owed by Central Valley Project water and power contractors (Contractors).
The Central Valley Project Improvement Act, Public Law 102-575 Title XXIV (1992) (CVPIA) “made unprecedented changes to federal reclamation law. First, the CVPIA made environmental restoration a purpose of the Central Valley Project (CVP). Second, it mandated a comprehensive suite of environmental restoration actions, among them restoration of the rights of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in the Trinity River fishery, which the United States holds in trust, and which West Coast sport and commercial fishing enterprises, among others, have an interest. The CVPIA also established restoration measures for fisheries and wildlife refuges in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River watersheds of California’s Central Valley. Third, the CVPIA required the Contractors, not the taxpayers, to pay for restoration as their cost of doing business.”
We believe such an investigation would show the changes in accounting standards resulted in the “shift of at least $400 million in current debt from the [Central Valley Water] Contractors to Federal taxpayers.” This, in our view, results in an unconscionable financial windfall to the Contractors, whose activities continue to have severe and adverse impacts on California’s salmon populations, our members and dependent fishing communities; such impacts to be magnified under the current drought conditions.
“Reclamation’s illegal action has resulted in over promising and undercharging for publicly owned water supplies, said Mike Conroy, PCFFA’s Executive Director. “Rescinding these bloated water contracts is essential to protecting fishing jobs and food sources for communities in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. “
Additionally, “a series of Interior Department memoranda [were issued] that wrongfully and unlawfully declared the environmental restoration mandates of the CVPIA to have been fulfilled.” Clearly this is not the case.
“The Administration has the opportunity, the obligation, to immediately and thoroughly overturn the actions which stick taxpayers with past debts incurred by Central Valley Contractors. To claim that CVPIA restoration activities are fulfilled is laughable,” added Mike Conroy, Executive Director of PCFFA. “Failing to charge for this required mitigation and restoration has ensured the anadromous fish doubling goals have not been met.”
Click here to read the letter from PCL, Tribes, and conservation groups.
About PCFFA:The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations is the largest commercial fishermen’s organization on the West Coast, representing 17 local and regional associations from Santa Barbara to Southeast Alaska. As a major commercial fishing industry trade association, PCFFA represents the interests of commercial fishing families who make their living harvesting and delivering high–quality seafood to America’s tables.Media contact: Mike Conroy is available to offer opinions and comment on California’s ocean salmon fisheries and other stories relevant to fishing, ocean health, fishery management, and the impact of climate change on our local waters. Mike Conroy415–638–9730 •email@example.com