U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon voted Wednesday for H.R. 3964, the Sacramento–San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act. The legislation, led by Central Valley Representatives David G. Valadao (CA-21), Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) and Devin Nunes (CA-22), provides emergency drought relief by releasing necessary water supplies throughout the state and the Central Valley.
The Sacramento–San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act restores water reliability to California communities by codifying the bipartisan Bay-Delta Accord. It also reforms onerous federal laws – such as the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act – that have severely curtailed water deliveries and resulted in hundreds of billions of gallons of badly needed water being flushed into the ocean.
U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon
“California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in a century, and the people, families and farmers of the Central Valley are facing particularly grave hardship,” said McKeon, R-Santa Clarita. “The Central Valley is an expansive area of rich farmland and when it suffers, our state and our nation suffers. The water issues in California are dire, and I applaud the leadership of Congressman McCarthy, Congressman Valadao and Congressman Nunes in bringing this critical problem to the attention of the Congress and the country.”
“The House acted on a solution to the man-made water crisis in California that has Californians suffering during the worst drought to hit our state in over a century,” Rep. McCarthy said. “It is unacceptable that vital water supplies are being forced out to the ocean instead of going to our cities. The issue demands immediate attention and today’s vote represents House Republicans’ commitment to putting California families over fish. I thank my good friend Congressman Valadao for his leadership on this issue, as well as Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings for his important attention to this pressing matter. I urge Senator Boxer and Senator Feinstein to use their seniority and influence to demand that Majority Leader Harry Reid schedule California water legislation for a vote on the Senate floor as soon as possible. Our communities understand that action, not empty rhetoric, can get water flowing to the Valley again.”
“While Californians are dealing with the brunt of the water shortage, this issue affects the entire country,” Congressman David G. Valadao said. “I am proud the House of Representatives was able to come together to pass this common-sense legislation to provide a long-term solution for families and farmers suffering from this water crisis. It is now up to the senators from California to ensure their chamber acts upon our proposal quickly.”
“The House of Representatives has stated its position loud and clear – the status quo in California is unacceptable,” said Congressman Nunes. “In light of the debilitating water crisis, regulations must be reformed that dump critical water supplies in the ocean and that prevent us from storing water to use during droughts. We don’t need more studies or bureaucratic task forces. We need a comprehensive solution to this problem, and this bill provides it.”
The legislative proposal incorporates three main actions:
• Turning on the Delta pumps this year and next year to capture future rain events
• Ending restoration flows in the San Joaquin River for this year and next year in order to stop wasting water
• Establishing a bipartisan, emergency joint committee from the House and Senate to devise a long-term legislative solution
Having passed the House, the bill now goes to the Senate, which has failed to approve a string of House initiatives to increase water supplies for California farmers and communities.