HR 1837 Passes House- A Political End Run Around State Water Rights and National Environmental Protections

UPDATED!  

See the Pacific Fisheries Management Council's Analysis of the damage to salmon fisheries from HR 1837 here.  

See the April 11, 2012 letter by C-WIN, CSPA and AquAlliance to Senators Boxer and Feinstein regarding California Water Solutions.

A revised HR 1837 passed the House of Representatives on Leap Day, February 29.

See the news coverage below:

Dan Bacher- Corporate Welfare Republicans Vote to Make California Salmon Extinct http://blogs.alternet.org/danbacher/2012/02/29/corporate-welfare-republicans-vote-to-make-california-salmon-extinct/

The Hill- House Approves California Water Rights Bill http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/213469-house-approves-california-water-rights-bill

Obama Administration statement on HR 1837 including veto promise - http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/sap/112/saphr1837_20120228.pdf

Central Valley Business Times talks about probable veto by Obama should HR 1837 ever get that far - http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=20513

SacBee editorial on HR 1837 challenges Dan Lungren -http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/29/4298813/house-water-bill-needs-a-burial.html

Dan Bacher summarizes the diverse Delta opposition to HR 1837 - http://blogs.alternet.org/danbacher/2012/02/28/delta-region-unites-against-h-r-1837/

Washington Examiner runs a last minute editorial in support of HR 1837 -http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/editorials/2012/02/house-can-prevent-big-green’s-california-dust-bowl/321401

Wall Street Journal ran something similar, but you have to pay to read it - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203918304577239472081683362.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

The Contra Costa Times editorial roundly criticizing HR 1837 (also appeared in the Oakland Trib and presumably other Bay Area Newsgroup papers) - http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_20064908/contra-costa-times-editorial-damaging-water-measure-needs

Delta Counties Coalition letter of opposition to HR 1837 - http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dobegi/FINAL%20DCC%20Ltr%20Re%20HR%201837%202-24-12.pdf

CalTrout's statement and letter of opposition - http://caltrout.org/2012/02/why-h-r-1837-threatens-californias-steelhead-and-salmon/

SacBee's Capitol Alert gives a scorecard - http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/02/competing-forces-line-up-on-california-water-bill.html

Stockton Record just reports some facts about today's vote - http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120229/A_NEWS/202290326/-1/A_NEWS03

Planning fun editorial http://www.planning.org/news/daily/story.htm?story_id=169739773

The Badlands Journal tops them all with this bit of satire about the Honorable Devin Nunes - http://www.badlandsjournal.com/2012-02-28/007758

Dan Bacher recognizes John Garamendi's heroic role in opposing HR 1837, including Garamendi's "Dear Colleague" letter - http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/29/18708369.php

Congressman Ed Royce tries a little satire on the subject of water in California - http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/water-342357-california-smelt.html

OLD NEWS BELOW:

H.R. 1837 (Nunes) is scheduled for a hearing on June 2nd in the House Subcommittee on Water and Power.  A coalition of 16 environmental and fishery groups sent a letter on May 20, 2011 opposing H.R. 1837.  This bill will largely benefit junior federal water contractors—especially Westlands Water District—by giving them permanent contracts for water provided through the federal Central Valley Project where tax dollars and subsidies already have benefited these corporate irrigators for over the last 40 years.

Attached is a letter sent out from consumer, fishing and conservation groups.

The bill would provide these Westside irrigators with permanent water allocations that will impact other water users throughout the state. This publicly developed water could then be sold to the highest bidder at some later date.  Westlands et. al. would reap the windfall profits not the taxpayer who paid for the water development.

Equally the bill will eviscerate environmental and water quality protective measures to ensure a viable fishery throughout the west coast.  Additionally it will scrap millions of federal and state dollars spent to try to remedy damage by the federal Central Valley Project.  The bill will also significantly impact water conservation measures that have been critical in providing much needed water supplies especially to Southern California.

On May 16th,  Westlands and a few other water districts participated in Congressman Nunes’ press conference regarding his new bill - http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/05/16/2390160/nunes-pushes-bill-to-boost-water.html.  This appears to violate the “blood oath” that Westlands and others signed at Senator Feinstein’s request, in which water interests pledged to oppose legislation designed to block or modify the San Joaquin River restoration agreement.

Footnote #1 in the letter summarizes in brief some of the potential consequences of this bill on the BDCP, state law, the San Joaquin River, the CVPIA and other water users. For example, this bill would pre-empt state water rights, making senior water users in the Delta and upstream responsible for protecting the Bay-Delta, and capping the contribution of junior water users at the levels provided in the 1994 Bay-Delta Accord.

That agreement, of course, predates the collapse of the ecosystem, the listing of several species, recent scientific analysis and the dramatic increase in pumping by the CVP and SWP during the 2000s.

In short, this legislation would have disastrous impacts on the Bay-Delta, the salmon fishery, senior water rights holders and the prospects for BDCP and other efforts to make progress in the Delta.

Salmon Water Now has a great video on H.R. 1837 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me6qEpSgack&hd=1

If you have any questions or comments please contact C-WIN.