Environmentalist Alarmed Over California-Focused Federal Water Legislation

An op-ed argues that instead of building a more resilient and sustainable water supply infrastructure, two water bills before congress would rollback exiting environmental protections.
April 29, 2016, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Jeffrey T. Kreulen

Peter H. Gleick, a hydroclimatologist who serves as thepresident of the Pacific Institute and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, writes an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times claiming that the federal government is on the precipice of enacting legislation that "wipe out decades of progress in sustainable water use."

Namely, "a California-centric bill sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and a Western water bill sponsored by Rep. David Valadao both contain egregious, anti-environmental giveaways hidden behind modest provisions for modernizing California's water system," writes Gleick.

The laundry list of complaints voiced by Gleick include the bills' potential to undermine environmental protections for salmon and other endangered species, preempt the state's existing watershed rules for rivers, provide "pork-barrel federal funding for reservoirs that would produce little usable water, flood Native American cultural sites, or violate Wild and Scenic River protections."

The problem with the two bills is one of concept, according to Gleick. Both bills endeavor to "squeeze even more water out of an already overtapped system."Instead of the many bad parts of this bill, according to Gleick, in support of a few good changes, no bill would be preferable.

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Published on Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Los Angeles Times
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