Drought Bill Update: You Can't Save Delta by Pumping More Water

By Dan Bacher | December 16, 2015 | As Governor Jerry Brown resumes his campaign to build the salmon-killing Delta Tunnels after spendi...

By Dan Bacher | December 16, 2015 |

As Governor Jerry Brown resumes his campaign to build the salmon-killing Delta Tunnels after spending a week green washing his image in Paris at the Climate Summit, Congress is doing its best in Washington D.C. to eviscerate protections for Central Valley and Trinity/Klamath River salmon and steelhead.

HR 2898, an agribusiness-backed “drought relief” bill that would strip environmental protections for Central Valley salmon and steelhead and Delta smelt, is back for the third time, like a pesky zombie or vampire that just won’t die no matter what you do.
Sen. Diane Feinstein. 

Valadao’s original bill would have repealed San Joaquin River restoration, replacing it with a smaller program. It would add hatchery raised salmon or Delta smelt to be included in counts of Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta fish populations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Finally, it directed the sale of the New Melones Dam on the Stanislaus River to local water districts.

The good news is that Senator Dianne Feinstein appears to be “holding the line on Endangered Species Protections for Delta” in the drought bill negotiations, according to an update from Restore the Delta (RTD).

The bad news is that she is “looking to allow more water pumping during periods of more rain, even though we are in the fifth year of drought and the estuary is dying from 30 years of over pumping,” the group said.

“We cannot save the SF Bay-Delta estuary by delivering more water during drought to Westlands Water District. If Feinstein's new bill allow exporters to turn up the pumps, the Delta will die in the 5th drought year,” RTD stated.

I agree. I urge you to call Senator Feinstein’s office (202) 224-3841, and tell her staff: “I appreciate that Senator Feinstein is holding the line on the Endangered Species protections for the Delta, but I expect better. If the new drought bill allows more pumping, the Delta will die in the 5th year of drought. We need more flows to the SF Bay-Delta or our estuary will collapse from the drought and 30 years of over pumping.” Tweet this message!

“Solomon cannot split the baby on this one," RTD said. “Will Senator Feinstein be remembered as the Senator who saved the SF Bay-Delta estuary, or the Senator who pushed it to collapse during extreme drought for almond exports to China?”

More information about HR 2898 is available here

Learn more at the RTD website.

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