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Feinstein Joins Effort for SB1 Changes Protecting Valley Water
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 5 years ago on
September 6, 2019

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Five federal legislators have submitted a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking for amendments to a proposed state law that would empower state agencies to adopt rules and regulations more stringent than their federal counterparts set after Jan. 19, 2017.


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That is one day before Donald Trump was sworn in as president.
The legislators are concerned it would create years of litigation over which environmental standard to apply to the federal Central Valley Project.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), along with congressmen Jim Costa (D-Fresno), TJ Cox (D-Fresno), Josh Harder (D-Turlock) and John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove), sent the letter asking for specific changes to Senate Bill 1.

Opposes Amendments

In its letter, the legislators oppose two sections of the bill. The first amendment would retain current scientific opinions regarding permitting decisions. The legislators are concerned this would shut out new scientific research, especially when it comes to water flow rates for rivers and its effect on wildlife.
The second opposition revolves around an amendment requiring the federal Bureau of Reclamation to comply with the California Endangered Species Act. The legislators are concerned it would create years of litigation over which environmental standard to apply to the federal Central Valley Project, the letter said.
“In the midst of such fundamental uncertainty, it will be impossible to develop any voluntary settlements of Sacramento and San Joaquin River outflow standards,” the letter said.
“We have the opportunity to work together to address California’s water problems,” Costa said in a news release. “We should be looking to the future where updated science can help us make the right decisions on how to allocate our precious water resources. Unfortunately, unless amended, Senate Bill 1 would take us in the wrong direction. I urge the Legislature to amend the bill before it reaches the governor’s desk.”
The bill is in the state Assembly and needs to pass by next Friday in order for consideration by the governor.

Dem Leader Atkins Responds

State Senate Pro-Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) authored SB 1, which has been lauded by environmental groups but attacked by the California Chamber of Commerce and other business groups as a “job killer.”
She says she is open to changes.
“As the Leader of the Senate, I am focused on protecting our communities and natural resources from harmful federal rollbacks. Senate Bill 1 puts in place critical protections to our clean water, clean air, workers’ rights, and endangered species to preserve our laws in California, regardless of what the federal government does,” Atkins told GV Wire in an email. “I will continue to work to address any concerns by the opposition.”

Read the Letter



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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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