The final effort to enact a new water saving act before the end of the year was rejected by Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., shortly after it was proposed last week.
The California Emergency Drought Relief and Water Storage Act of 2015, was a final effort by Representatives from California to alleviate the Golden State’s drought crisis.
Rep. Knight and many of his colleagues in the California delegation feel that the measure was the last chance Congress had to act on the water issue before the end of the legislative year, and that its dismissal had more to do with politics than policy considerations.
“We have spent a large part of this year working with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to craft a water bill that would deliver real relief to the people of California,” said Representative Knight.“Now is the time to act to ensure that Californians get the relief they need.”
Sen. Feinstein said the language of the new policy likely would have violated environmental law.
“I expect that by early next week we’ll have a bill that the state and federal government can sign off on,” Feinstein said in a statement.
The Drought Relief Act was the product of months of negotiations between Representatives and Senators from California in both parties.
If signed into law, the Act would take a multi-faceted approach to addressing California’s water crisis, including initiatives favored by Republicans such as improving water infrastructure and increasing Delta pumping, as well as Democratic priorities like increased spending on water recycling and desalinization projects.
The measure was proposed last week as an addition to the Omnibus bill, a package of spending legislation that would fund a wide range of government programs in 2016. After expressing interest in this course of action previously, Senator Feinstein announced shortly following the proposal that she would no longer support adding the drought relief language.
“I’m disappointed that politics have gotten in the way of helping our state at its time of need,”continued Rep. Knight.“For goodness sake, we are trying to fix the one issue that affects all Californians, and walking away from the table helps no one.”
View the full language of the California Emergency Drought Relief and Water Storage Act of 2015 here.