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senate Bill S. 2198

California Drought Relief: Easing Environmental Restrictions to Provide Water to Cities and Farms

Argument in favor

Provides critical water relief to farms and cities.

Margaret's Opinion
···
12/10/2016
California is a leader in feeding the US and the world with safe, quality food. Let's keep top producing acres in production and farmers farming.
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Argument opposed

Overrides the Endangered Species Act.

MikeCalGov2018's Opinion
···
03/30/2017
California has both a water problem and an environmental problem. One should not be sacrificed for the other. But we need is an original solution in an effort to actually do both. While I do feel that farms in California should continue, I hate the idea of subsidizing water and exporting water.
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What is Senate Bill S. 2198?

This bill addresses drought in California. The state has been under emergency drought declaration since January. If passed, the bill will increase water exports from the Sacramento River Delta. The legislation currently awaits a decision in the House, after passing in Senate. 

Impact

If enacted, the bill would help farmers, towns and cities desperately in need of water. The bill would hurt local fish populations, which would in turn alter the ecosystem of the Sacramento River Valley and beyond.

More Information

Media:


In Detail:

The details below are taken from This Week in Congress:

The bill requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of the Interior, in response to the declaration of a state of drought emergency in California, to provide the maximum quantity of water supplies possible to Central Valley Project (CVP) and Klamath Project agricultural, municipal and industrial, and refuge service and repayment contractors, State Water Project contractors, and any other locality or municipality in California by approving, consistent with applicable laws:

(1) any project or operations to provide additional water supplies if there is any possible way the Secretaries can do so, unless the project or operations constitute a highly inefficient way of providing additional water supplies; and

(2) any projects or operations as quickly as possible based on available information to address the emergency conditions.

Actions to be taken to increase water supply, include:

(1) ensuring that the Delta Cross Channel Gates remain open to the greatest extent possible, (2) requiring the Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service to recommend revisions to operations of the CVP and the California State Water Project,

(3) adopting a 1:1 inflow to export ratio for the increased flow of the San Joaquin River, (4) requiring the Director and the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation to complete all requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 necessary to make final permit decisions on water transfer requests, and

(5) making WaterSMART grant funding allocated to California for eligible projects available on a priority and expedited basis.  The projects include: to provide emergency drinking and municipal water supplies to localities in a quantity necessary to meet minimum public health and safety needs; to prevent the loss of permanent crops; to minimize economic losses resulting from drought conditions; or to provide innovative water conservation tools and technology for agriculture and urban water use that can have immediate water supply benefits;

Financial assistance is authorized under the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act of 1991 for projects to increase water supply.

EPA is directed to prioritize projects under state water pollution control revolving funds to provide water to areas at risk of having an inadequate supply of water for public health and safety purposes or to improve resiliency to drought.

The Commissioner of Reclamation is required to provide water supply planning assistance in preparation for and in response to dry, critically dry, and below normal water year types, upon request, to CVP or Klamath Project contractors or other reclamation project contractors in California, including contractors who possess contracts for refuge water supplies or who deliver refuge water supplies.

To minimize the time spent carrying out environmental reviews and to deliver water quickly that is needed to address emergency drought conditions in the State, the head of each applicable Federal agency shall, in carrying out this Act, consult with the Council on Environmental Quality…to develop alternative arrangements to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 … during the emergency.

The Calfed Bay-Delta Act, the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act of 1991, and the Secure Water Act are reauthorized

The Secretary of the Interior is directed to fund or participate in pilot projects to increase Colorado River System water in Lake Mead and the initial units of Colorado River Storage Project reservoirs to address the effects of historic drought conditions.

The Klamath Basin Water Supply Enhancement Act of 2000 is amended to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to take actions to reduce water consumption or demand or to restore ecosystems in the Klamath Basin watershed, including tribal fishery resources held in trust.

Amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act is amended to expand federal emergency assistance to provide for disaster unemployment, emergency nutrition, and crisis counseling assistance.

AKA

Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014

Official Title

A bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to take actions to provide additional water supplies to the State of California due to drought, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate Passed May 22nd, 2014
    Passed by Voice Vote
    IntroducedApril 1st, 2014

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    California is a leader in feeding the US and the world with safe, quality food. Let's keep top producing acres in production and farmers farming.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    California has both a water problem and an environmental problem. One should not be sacrificed for the other. But we need is an original solution in an effort to actually do both. While I do feel that farms in California should continue, I hate the idea of subsidizing water and exporting water.
    Like
    Follow
    Share