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Joint Statement by California Democrats Against Water Grab

February 5, 2014
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) The following statement was issued today by Democratic Reps. Grace Napolitano (CA-32), George Miller (CA-11), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Ami Bera (CA-07), John Garamendi (CA-03), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA-35), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Adam Schiff (CA-28), and Juan Vargas (CA-51):

All of California is in drought, but instead of working together on a long-term, bipartisan solution, our Republican colleagues have brought a bill to the floor today without any markup or hearing, which bypasses any public input. If enacted into law, this water grab would hurt California’s economy, damage our environment, and set a dangerous precedent of Congress imposing mandates on the water supplies of the states. This bill benefits a small group of Californians and creates no new water in the region. We have received letters from our home state’s Governor, Natural Resources Secretary, and Attorney General in strong opposition to H.R. 3964. The Western States Water Council opposed last Congress’ version of this bill (H.R. 1837) for its preemption of states’ rights, and the Obama Administration opposes the bill because it fails to alleviate the effects of California's current drought and threatens water agreements in the west. 80 California sportsmen’s groups, commercial fishing industry groups, national conservation organizations, and Indian tribes also oppose this bill. This bill has no chance of enactment, and it would create more litigation over water if it were to pass, but even as a failed bill it hinders collaborative efforts being made throughout the State. It is time for real solutions; H.R. 3964 is not it.

H.R. 3964, authored by Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) and cosponsored by the entire California Republican delegation, would override California’s state water rights, undo water settlements, and roll back environmental protections in order to give powerful agricultural interests in the Central Valley a greater share of California’s water. The bill ultimately passed by a vote of 229 to 191.