McClintock Discusses California Water Bill
Congressman Tom McClintock
Congressman McClintock is a co-author of the California Water Bill H.R. 3964. The legislation was passed by the House of Representatives on February 5, 2014. The Congressman spoke in support of the measure on the House floor.
McClintock was also Thursday's KVML "Newsmaker of the Day". Here are his words:
"California's drought is NATURE'S fault. Our failure to prepare for it is OUR fault.
In California, the Democrats have not only obstructed the construction of new dams for the past 35 years, they've also actively sought to tear down existing dams.
They have substituted conservation for desperately needed storage, and now that we face drought, we find our meager reservoirs are empty and we've already exhausted our conservation option.
Worse, in the first years of this drought, 1.6 million acre feet of water was dumped into the Pacific Ocean for the care and amusement of the Delta Smelt, when that water was desperately needed to support the threatened human population. That water was taken from Central Valley farmers who now face extinction.
True, we cannot make it rain. But we can take measures to increase storage capacity, reinforce existing water rights, and assure that we never again must face a crisis of this magnitude.
This bill allows for the expansion of Lake McClure by 70,000 acre feet; gives local water agencies the ability to store additional surplus water at New Melones; sets deadlines for additional storage; and authorizes local water districts to partner with the federal government to expedite expansion of Shasta Dam and Los Vaqueros Reservoir and move forward with Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flats.
And it reverses the policies that put the Delta Smelt ahead of the needs of thousands of farm workers and millions of consumers.
The people responsible for these policies say that this steals water from Northern California. No, it does not. This is surplus water that would otherwise be lost to the Pacific Ocean.
This restores the bi-partisan Bay Delta Accord that guarantees the water the Delta needs while restoring a portion of the excess to the Central Valley. That accord was shattered when Central Valley water was expropriated for the Delta Smelt in 2006. This bill simply restores that agreement, while making provision to increase the overall supply.
The other outlandish charge is that this bill overrides state water rights. It does exactly the opposite. It specifically protects state water rights against infringement by any bureaucracy - local, state or federal. Since the 14th Amendment, it has been a legitimate function of the federal government to protect the property rights of every American and that's what the opponents object to. Indeed, the Northern California Water Association endorsed these provisions precisely because they strengthen state water rights.
We have listened to the environmental left for four decades now, and we now can see where it has gotten us. It is time to reject these voices and return to common sense and the proven policies of abundance that produced the prosperity we once enjoyed."
The "Newsmaker of the Day" is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45am.
Written by Mark Truppner