07.08.09 House Appropriations Committee Does Not Pass Amendment to Bring More Water to the San Joaquin Valley

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, the House Appropriations Committee unfortunately did not pass an amendment which would have maintained maximum pumping operation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno), working with Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), urged fellow Democrats on the Committee to support the amendment.  Ultimately, the amendment failed in a vote before the full committee by a tally of 25 to 33. 

This amendment would have had zero impact on the pocketbook of the American taxpayer,” Costa said.  “Prior to the hearing, I spoke with a targeted group of Democratic colleagues that Congressman Nunes, Congressman Cardoza and I agreed would most likely support this amendment.  I let them know about the devastation in our small towns and communities due simply to the lack of water.  While this amendment would not have been the silver bullet, it would have brought needed water to the farmers and farm workers living in our Valley.”

“I want to thank Congressman Nunes for his continued hard work to bring needed relief to our Valley’s farms.  He and I both know our water challenges are not a partisan issue.  As this session of Congress continues, I will continue to work with the Valley delegation on this issue, as well as offering additional legislative strategies to bring water to our Valley.  Finally, I will continue to work with all of my colleagues to develop short and long term water solutions to California,” Costa stated. 

The fact that urban water agencies like the Metropolitan Water District and the Santa Clara Water District have joined in lawsuits asking for an injunction on the biological opinion is helpful.  Their Congress members need to understand that these biological opinions, if implemented, put their water supply at grave risk,” Costa concluded.

The Appropriations Committee was marking-up the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill, which funds civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation’s budget, the Department of Energy, and other agencies.  The amendment, offered by Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA 44) would have forbid the Bureau of Reclamation or any agency of the State of California operating a water project in coordination with the Central Valley or State Water Project from restricting water exports less than historic maximum levels of water export.