AirTalk for February 4, 2014

House GOP drought bill to have huge impact on Central Valley, CA environmental causes

California Drought Dries Up Bay Area Reservoirs

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Low water levels are visible at the Stevens Creek Reservoir on January 30, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Now in its third straight year of drought conditions, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and reservoirs throughout the state have low water levels. Santa Clara County reservoirs are at three percent of capacity or lower.

Water is at the forefront of many Californians' minds these days, but coming up with the best way to solve our current crisis has quickly turned into a political battle between competing water interests.

A drought bill backed by House Republicans is being fast-tracked for a vote tomorrow. H.R. 3964, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act authored by Representative David Valadao of Hanford (R-CA21), seeks to provide more water to farmers in the Central Valley, at the expense of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program.

California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird, a vocal opposition to the bill, has characterized the bill as favoring "some interests over others in a different part of the state, in the middle of this great water emergency … is not helpful."  Governor Brown has labeled H.R. 3964 as "divisive."

Guests:

Kitty Felde, KPCC Washington correspondent

Nick di Croce, Co-Facilitator, Environmental Water Caucus, caucus of more than 30 grassroots organizations with a common interest in CA water issues.

Patrick Cavanaugh, Broadcaster, California Ag TODAY 


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