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House Passes Bill to Address California Drought Crisis, Advance New Water Storage Projects

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 18, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) today voted for a measure he cosponsored to address the water supply crisis impacting California and across Western states. HR 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act, sponsored by Rep. Valadao (R-CA), LaMalfa, and two dozen bipartisan cosponsors, passed with bipartisan support on a vote of 245-176 and will now be considered by the Senate.

“We’ve acted on a bipartisan bill to send more water to Western homes and farms this year, protect state water laws, improve protection of endangered species, and plan for the future by advancing new water storage infrastructure,” said Rep. LaMalfa. “Even my Northern California district, which is home to the state’s largest reservoirs and shares water with communities across the state, is facing mandatory water rationing and fallowed fields. We cannot simply continue to stand by and watch as more and more families, farmers, and small businesses suffer due to inaction from Washington.”

“I’ve worked hard to ensure that this bill includes North State priorities, like moving Sites Reservoir forward, and I’m pleased that we’ve passed a bill that improves water access to all Californians,” LaMalfa added. “While opponents claim that this bill rewrites the Endangered Species Act, they can’t show where the bill does so. That’s because, even though I’d like to amend the ESA, this bill doesn’t. It actually improves ESA protections by requiring improved population monitoring and invasive species reduction, components that should be universally supported. It’s time for the Senate to work with us to send this responsible and critically necessary measure to the President’s desk.”

Major components of the bill include the following:

Strong protections for North State water rights that improve access to water in both dry and wet years.
Language requiring the Sites Reservoir surface storage feasibility study to be complete in time to compete for state bond funding. The California Department of Water Resources has reported that Sites would generate an additional 900,000 acre-feet of water during droughts, enough for 7.2 million people.
New programs to address the impact of invasive species, which federal wildlife agencies have determined kill and eat 90% of endangered salmon before they reach the Delta.
Increased flexibility to store water during winter storms, when more water can be diverted without negatively impacting sensitive species.
The House also passed two amendments LaMalfa sponsored. The first, cosponsored by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), ensures that federal water contractors in the Klamath River basin have a seat at the table during Endangered Species Act consultations that could impact their access to water. The second amendment aligns language in the bill with a Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by Sites Reservoir stakeholders and the Bureau of Reclamation, accelerating the completion.

Video of Rep. LaMalfa’s comments may be found at the following link: https://youtu.be/hPbjYVdghNs

Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties

Source: Representative Doug LaMalfa

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