The Sacramento Bee reports that two leading Democrats, Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, are joining forces with Kevin McCarthy, the most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives, to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for California water projects.

Feinstein and McCarthy are aiming to extend expiring provisions in the 2016 Water Infrastructure for Improvements for the Nation Act, on which they collaborated before President Barack Obama signed it into law. Their expected gambit: Fold the extensions into the federal spending bill that Congress must pass this month.

Portrait of California Gov. Jerry Brown

“I support the 7-year extension of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, including important provisions that House Majority Leader McCarthy and Senator Feinstein have proposed that enable California water users to participate in voluntary agreements and help improve river flows to restore fish populations.” — Gov. Jerry Brown

The WIIN Act, which Obama signed over the objections of environmentalists, provides the federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project more operational flexibility to increase water deliveries at certain times of the year. It also includes funding for water storage, desalination, and water recycling projects.

Brown blessed the McCarthy-Feinstein effort Friday, Nov. 30, saying in a news release:

“I support the 7-year extension of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, including important provisions that House Majority Leader McCarthy and Senator Feinstein have proposed that enable California water users to participate in voluntary agreements and help improve river flows to restore fish populations.”

Portrait of Doub Obegi

“This appears to be a quid pro quo where the governor trades away our salmon and thousands of fishing jobs for his stupid Delta tunnels.” — Doug Obegi, a lawyer with NRDC

Doug Obegi, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, assailed Brown’s endorsement, telling The Bee: “This appears to be a quid pro quo where the governor trades away our salmon and thousands of fishing jobs for his stupid Delta tunnels.”

The push for the WIIN Act extensions comes before the State Water Resources Control Board is scheduled to vote Dec. 12 on a plan that would keep more water in the lower San Joaquin River watershed. The board’s aim is to help endangered salmon and smelt. The proposal has triggered widespread protests from growers.

Read the complete story at this link.

 

 

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