MIL-OSI USA: California Republican Delegation Expresses Grave Concern Over Proposed Interim Operations Plan for the CVP and SWP

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman David G. Valadao (California)

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman David G. Valadao led the entire California Republican Delegation in sending a letter to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo expressing grave concerns with the proposed interim operations plan for the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) submitted on October 14, 2021, in the litigation challenging the 2019 biological opinions for long-term operations of the CVP and SWP and the 2020 Record of Decision on Reinitiation of Consultation on the Coordinated Long-Term Modified Operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project.

“The proposed interim operations plan is a massive blow to Central Valley water users, making it extremely difficult for farmers and communities to secure access to reliable water supplies,” said Congressman Valadao. “The 2019 Biological Opinions did more to protect the environment and endangered species of concern by allowing the operators to adaptively manage the projects to meet the real-time biological needs of the species. The most recent biological opinions also worked to maximize benefits of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s project purposes. Despite these facts, the Biden administration has decided to bow to political pressure from California politicians and environmental groups rather than listen to the non-political career staffers who spent years carefully developing a peer-reviewed operations plan based on the best available science. To say I’m angry would be an understatement.”

“Given that current biological opinions were crafted using the latest available data, the Biden administration’s intentions to impose an interim operations plan – not based on the science at hand – for the 2022 water year are clearly political,” said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. “And in rushing to move this ill-conceived plan that hurts our communities, the administration’s actions to advance this plan do not appear to follow appropriate procedures under NEPA, the Endangered Species Act, or the Administrative Procedures Act. Central Valley families and farmers deserve a government whose policies enable them to get the water they contract and pay for, rather than one which bows to radical environmentalist groups and unelected Sacramento bureaucrats bent on denying our communities life-giving water.”

“The Biden Administration is purposefully sabotaging a solution to the water crisis. But Biden should know that House Republicans will continue our fight – no matter how long it takes – to recover the water that was taken from Central Valley families,” said Congressman Devin Nunes.

“In the midst of a severe western drought, we must ask ourselves whether we want to live in an era of unnecessary self-imposed water scarcity, or restore abundance as the objective of our water policy.  Unfortunately, the Biden Administration is choosing to blatantly disregard the law and science, and the result could deprive California of desperately needed water supplies,” said Congressman Tom McClintock.

“The Biden administration’s proposed Interim Plan reeks of capitulation to special interests who have long opposed a reliable and sustainable water supply for Californians. The 2019 biological opinions were products of multi-agency consultation and adapting the best science available to develop water use policies that balance our environmental, farming, and urban water needs. It’s time for the Biden administration to put the needs of California families and farmers first,” said Congressman Ken Calvert.

“For an Administration that keeps telling Americans to ‘trust the science’, this revised water plan has zero science behind it.  This Administration is imposing a plan because it fits their environmentally driven narrative that humans and agriculture are bad and using any available water for fish, even if it doesn’t help, is good.  The 2019 Biological Opinion that was finally approved last year went through years of comprehensive scientific review. Interestingly, it was designed by long term career staff being overseen by holdover Obama officials, and the science said we could safely deliver water while protect endangered species.   This new “no science” plan was developed in two short weeks without any long term science or even input from those affected.  It will not help recover endangered species but will destroy more farms and further restrict water for families.  This isn’t science, it’s politics and control,” said Congressman Doug LaMalfa.

“The Central Valley and State Water Projects provide heavily relied on domestic and industrial water supplies for many Californians. The proposed interim operations plan for the CVP and the SWP will be detrimental to many Californians’ access to reliable water supplies,” said Congressman Mike Garcia. “Today, California entered a statewide drought emergency, and now those reliant on the CVP and SWP are unsure of their future access to water. The current operational agreement was reached through thorough consideration and is based on the best scientific and commercial data available. The Biden administration’s decision to ignore this sound scientific advice is extremely disappointing. It is my hope that Secretary Haaland and Secretary Raimondo will suspend the implementation of the interim operations plan until a proper review of the proposed changes is conducted with water contractor input.”

“California doesn’t have a water crisis; it has a water storage crisis,” said Congressman Jay Obernolte. “The previous management agreements for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project were critical to improving our water storage capabilities, protecting our environment, and ensuring reliable water supplies for our communities and the industries at the backbone of California’s robust economy. They were science-based, peer-reviewed, and already finding great success. I am extremely disappointed that the Administration has acted to reverse the great progress made under these plans, and I stand by my colleagues in calling for the reversal of this decision.”

The letter can be found here.

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