Feinstein Scales Back Water Bill
California Senator Dianne Feinstein has stripped $300 million from her drought relief legislation in hopes of gaining enough support for approval.
Feinstein, and other Senators from across the West, introduced a bill last February designed to increase water supplies and offset the economic impacts of the drought.
According to the Associated Press, the revised bill will continue a focus on regulatory relief. It mandates that federal agencies open channel gates on the Sacramento River as long as possible without endangering salmon populations.
The bill also mandates that federal agencies use “flexibility” within existing law to pump more water to farmers throughout the Central Valley.
Eliminated from the bill is $100 million for farmers to start up new conservation projects, as well as money for communities and non-profits that serve migratory seasonal workers. The items were eliminated in hopes of gaining Republican support in the House and Senate.
The Republican led House of Representatives passed its own water bill this year which would have loosened additional environmental restrictions in order to move water quickly to farmers. The House and Senate will be negotiating the fine points of a water package over the coming weeks.