California House Republicans call on Natural Resources Committee to act on California drought

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Standing in a parched bed on Lake Mendocino last week, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency… But not for the whole state of California as expected. Newsom only declared a drought emergency for two northern California counties last week, leaving the vast agricultural region of Central Valley in the dust.

While the drought conditions in California are in fact historically normal, each of the droughts in California is billed by the government and the media as the driest period in the history of rainfall in the state. Scientists studying long-term climate models in the western United States say California has been dry for much longer periods – over 200 years, The Globe reported this week.

However, water has long been gravely mismanaged and used for political football in the state of California, to the detriment of people, agriculture and wildlife.

Newsom’s drought emergency declaration covered only two counties above San Francisco – Mendocino and Sonoma, and the Russian River watershed to deal with the acute conditions in the region.

“Republican Senator Andreas Borgeas, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, had convened leaders to sign a letter to be sent to the governor asking for more water, and Wednesday’s statement was not what he hoped for “, KMJ reported. “Fresno County has joined with San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties in requesting a drought declaration.”

In the wake of Governor Newsom’s inadequate statement, the California House Republican delegation sent a letter to the House Natural Resources Committee urging them to hold a hearing on the latest drought and potential disaster in California.

However, despite the natural disaster declaration by US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on March 5, 2021, declaring 50 counties in California as “top natural disaster areas due to recent drought,” the House Natural Resources Committee has yet to take action to combat against drought in California.

As Governor Newsom declares two counties on drought emergencies and the House Natural Resources Committee does nothing, it is as if the ruling Democrats are ignoring the potential disaster to the agricultural region and the counties of California.

Representative Mike Garcia (CA-25) sent the letter in an email, in which lawmakers stressed the urgency:

“California and other parts of the West are facing a catastrophic drought that will impact our communities’ water supplies and help exacerbate massive forest fires. For example, water storage throughout the Central Valley Project (CVP) is historically low, the Bureau of Reclamation has already suspended its 5% allocation for federal agricultural water users in the southern delta, the State of California reduced Project Allocation from 10% initially to 5%, and the Colorado River snowpack ‘was well below expectationsWrote the lawmakers.

Lawmakers also called for the Democratic majority’s inaction on the issue.

“For too long, many of our constituents have observed that the needs of species like Delta Smelt outweigh the needs of the people. The upcoming Democratic Majority hearings and lack of action on the drought only perpetuate this, while turning a blind eye to the damaging effects the drought has on California’s ability to grow the food we all eat and how it hurts some of the poorest communities in the region. our state, ”the lawmakers wrote.

Republicans urged a two-party solution to the California drought.

“We may not agree on all prescriptions for drought control, but we hope you will agree with us that now is the time to focus on these issues. Our constituents do not deserve to see Congress do nothing as their communities are increasingly at risk of becoming parched and / or ignited. We are ready to work with you on what we believe are bipartisan solutions to the drought, ”the lawmakers wrote.

In March, Garcia introduced a bill to extend bipartisan water provisions in California of the WIIN Act until fiscal year 2028. The bill would enact a seven-year extension for essential water supply provisions in the WIIN Act, thereby improving California’s access to water .

The letter to the House Natural Resources Committee is signed by: Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, Representatives Ken Calvert, Tom McClintock, Devin Nunes, Dough LaMalfa, David Valadeo, Mike Garcia, Michelle Steele, Young Kim , Jay Obernolte and Darrell Issa.

“As the overwhelming majority of the state experiences extreme drought conditions, Governor Newsom has chosen to serve only his customers with French Laundry wines and cheeses,” said Scott Wilk, Republican Leader of the California Senate , obviously referring to the Newsom “Dinnergate” incident at the French Laundry. restaurant after locking down the rest of the state and most small businesses. “The Biden administration has declared an emergency drought in almost every county in California, what more does the governor need to participate?”

“The point is, droughts are nature’s fault and have plagued us since the dawn of time,” Representative Tom McClintock says when discussing water issues. “But the water shortages are OUR fault. We live in one of the most water-rich areas in the country – but we haven’t built a major reservoir in this state since 1979. During that time, the population has nearly doubled.

Secretary Vilsak said in his letter declaring 50 counties as a drought emergency in California: “A disaster secretariat designation makes farmers in primary counties and counties contiguous to those primary counties eligible for some assistance. from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided they are eligible. the requirements are met. This assistance includes emergency loans from the FSA. “

4.27.20 Drought letter from CA GOP





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