Opinion: House vs the State's water rights
This is the second bill that McClintock has personally pushed through the House with his fellow Central Valley Congressmen, Rep David Valadao (R-Hanford), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Visalia) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).
McClintock originally had roots in the southern San Joaquin Valley and still appears to be their strongest advocate, even if it hurts his own constituents or the Northern California communities. McClintock does not and never has lived in the fourth district he represents.
He is the only member of the four congressmen who sits to the Natural Resources Committee, and he Chairs the powerful Water and Power Subcommittee where these types of bills would normally be heard.
But this water-delivery bill did not bother going through normal steps to the House floor.
McClintock skipped past committee hearings and discussions about CBO reports and how Northern California or the businesses and municipalities in his district would be impacted.
Instead he and his three fellow Californians rushed the Bill, HR 3964, to the House floor stepping over a bipartisan bill already being discussed on the floor.
McClintock had tried to push a similar bill through two years ago, HR 1837, called the San Joaquin Water Reliability Act.
It was written so the federal government would have oversight on California’s water rights, over stepping the state’s established water law.
El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) and Georgetown Divide Public Utility District (GDPUD), in McClintock’s congressional district, hold “Right-of-Origin” water rights and that is under state law. The Water Contracts to farmers are under federal law.
So giving the Interior Department, a federal agency, jurisdiction over the state’s law for water purveyors such as EID and GDPUD, and moving that jurisdiction to the water barons downstream, who by the way hold 40 to 50 year water contracts with the federal government at extremely low prices, can only lead to a long legal fights in the courts and a renewed water war.
Back with McClintock’s first attempt, GDPUD Director Norm Krizl said “So what. It will never get past the [Democrat Controlled] Senate.”
Yes, it did die there, only to have McClintock raise its ugly head once again. He’s going to keep trying.
This time the new attempt has a fancy new name and is a lot more suggestive, “Emergency” Water Delivery Act, HR 3964. After all California is in desperate trouble about water, and this bill has the title “Emergency.”
The “Emergency” Bill has the same premise the bill two-years ago, let the Federal Bureaucrats decide who gets fresh water and who will be left trying to get water for the Delta.
It is not possible to ever deliver all the water promised by the federal government with the Tracy pumps alone.
A federal bureaucrat in the Interior Department signed these 40 to 50-year contracts at dirt prices with Westlands, for so much water that the state couldn’t possibly deliver in wet years. Now that same bureaucrat has been rewarded with a job at Westlands and is still there today.
Besides, how can this “Emergency” bill deliver any more water? Folsom lake is at 17%. The water is gone. This bill would not do anything for Northern California and the Sierra Nevada watershed communities.
The only thing this Bill would do is over-ride California’s Constitution, over-ride California’s established water law, over-ride California court rulings, and most of all, fire up a whole new round of a good old California water war.
Garden Valley, CA