Washington, DC) – In response to the House passage of H.R. 23, which would undermine existing environmental protections for the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) issued the following statement:
“Every two years we debate this legislation and every two years it is the same argument. This year, though, an additional conflict has arisen.
“Yes, this is the same bill that would weaken environmental laws that protect our vital resources – specifically the Endangered Species Act, which has long been a target of the Republican Party. It pits Northern and Southern California against each other, harming those in my district and the northern part of the state to benefit a few wealthy farmers in the south. And it does nothing to create any new water.
“However, this time, the person who would be charged with overseeing the implementation of this legislation has a clear conflict of interest. David Bernhardt, who has been nominated as Deputy Secretary of the Interior, previously lobbied for the Westlands Water District and negotiated the controversial deal that ended with the Department of Interior paying out $350 million to the water district. This is the nation’s largest water district and, if Mr. Bernhardt is confirmed and this legislation enacted, he would have the power to pump even more water into the area at the expense of everyone that depends on fresh water from the Delta.
“But, this doesn’t have to continue to be a battle between north and south or Democrat and Republican. There are solutions to solve California’s water sustainability problems, and they don’t have to come at the expense of one region over another. I’ve introduced legislation that would authorize funding for 23 water recycling projects, which would bring more stability to the region’s water supply. Additionally, there are a number of other solutions I hope my California colleagues will join me in exploring, including environmentally sound water storage, early leak detection, conservation and data collection.
“There are forward-thinking solutions to this problem that would benefit California as whole, and I invite my colleagues to work with me on this issue so that we can proactively invest in California’s long-term water stability.”
Additionally, Congressman McNerney spoke on the House floor in opposition to the bill.
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Rep. Jerry McNerney proudly serves the constituents of California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney