Costa Supports Republican Water Bill; Calls for Bipartisan Effort

Washington, DC — Rep. Jim Costa supported legislation aimed at easing environmental restrictions that can prevent water from reaching farmers and communities in the San Joaquin Valley. Pointing toward recent bipartisan success on rescheduled water, Costa also urged his colleagues to recognize that now was the time for bipartisan, triage legislation that will bring immediate relief to farmers and rural communities, not revisit previous battles in the California water.

“As California is in the midst of the worst drought on record and reservoirs are at record lows, the people in my district deserve an effort that deals with the current realities and can offer help now,” said Costa. “And as much as I think a number of reforms in this bill are long overdue and some of the policy decisions have increased the damage of the current drought conditions, we all have to recognize that we’re in triage mode and need to focus on the art of possible. It is time for cooler heads to prevail.”

In the coming days, Rep. Costa plans to introduce legislation with Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer that would yield immediate water for Valley farmers and communities.

“We need to focus on the crisis at hand then return to our discussion about a long-term solution. My bill with Sens. Feinstein and Boxer will help offer a lifeline to get through this year, and I hope in the spirit of compromise that my Republican colleagues will support this just as I offered my support to their bill today.”

Last May, Costa introduced H.R.1927, the More Water and Security for Californians Act, which is similar to the legislation considered by the House today. That bill provides congressional direction for the implementation of the Endangered Species Act and restores balance to our water availability that is lacking. Had the provisions of Costa’s bill been in place, California’s water system would have an additional 250,000 acre-feet of water in storage from the 2013 water year.