05.20.10 Rep. Costa Presses Administration to Revise Water Regulations After Wanger Decision

The letter was spurred by findings from Judge Wanger’s court that the regulations do not take into account human factors and that they have not been scientifically justified by the federal agencies. Wanger’s conclusions set the table for more water to flow to the Valley.

Costa called Wanger’s decision another step forward in his fight for more water.

“The bottom line is that we are winning our fight for water,” said Costa. “Our work to get our economy going again is producing results. But we must keep the pressure on the Administration. Now is not the time to let up and I will continue to push the Administration for more water.”

Costa also pushed the Administration to take into account the findings by the National Academy of Sciences initial report on the status of California’s Bay-Delta (for more, click here) and the recent University of Maryland study (for more, click here) on the devastating effects of wastewater discharges into the Delta.

The full text of the letter is copied below the release. A signed copy of the letter is attached.


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May 20, 2010


The Honorable Ken Salazar                                         The Honorable Gary Locke

Secretary, Department of the Interior                          Secretary, Department of Commerce

1849 C Street, N.W.                                                    1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20240                                              Washington, D.C. 20230


Dear Secretaries Salazar and Locke:


This letter is to follow-up with you in regards to your recent announcement to launch an interagency plan to better integrate science in California’s Bay-Delta.  This announcement is welcome news to us and to the farmers, farmworkers, and farm communities of California’s San Joaquin Valley that we represent.  As you know, water equals jobs in the Valley and your commitment to working with us and related federal, state, and local agencies are producing results, increasing the water allocation to 40% for South of Delta agricultural water users, up from 10% last year.  We are grateful for your efforts.

Recent events continue to shed new light on California’s water crisis, including findings by the National Academy of Sciences, the University of Maryland and University of California Davis, as well as this week’s decision by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California that the agencies violated the National Environmental Policy Act when they adopted the June 2009 biological opinion for the protection of salmonid species and that the National Marine Fisheries Service failed to base its decisions on the best available science and failed to provide scientific justification for certain actions prescribed by the biological opinion. Given what is at stake, we strongly encourage you to act expeditiously to analyze these findings and incorporate new science into water operations for Delta exports for this water year.  As you know, decisions by the agencies to restrict water deliveries to California’s San Joaquin Valley without considering the human health and the safety of the human environment have devastated the Valley’s economy and persist to this day even as more rain and snow continues to fall throughout the state. 

This emergency still exists, and every additional drop of water that we can secure by holding ourselves to the highest scientific standards is essential.  We look forward to continuing to partner with you as we seek to find short, mid, and long-term solutions to California’s water challenges and thank you in advance for your prompt response.





JIM COSTA                                                                           DENNIS CARDOZA

Member of Congress                                                               Member of Congress