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Feinstein Urges Newsom, Feds To ‘Work Together’ On Water Issues

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Washington, DC – A U.S. Senator from California has entered the fray between Governor Gavin Newsom and federal environmental regulators.

On Wednesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein sent a letter she co-addressed to Newsom and Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. In it, she called for their offices to make every effort to develop consistent standards for coordinated operations of the Central Valley and State Water projects that would meet both parties’ responsibilities under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts.

Feinstein began her communication expressing deep concern over California’s water management, describing current and threatened legal actions between both entities as a disastrous course that would be harmful to the state’s communities and the surrounding environment.

She stated, “I urge you both to consider the long-term impacts of a protracted disagreement and lengthy litigation impeding progress on all fronts.”

The senator argued the entities, by establishing conflicting rules for the water projects, would create severe problems; hampering attempts to coordinate operations that would optimize benefits to water users; also making it impossible to develop the critical voluntary settlement agreements over the State Water Board’s Delta outflows plan.

As reported here, the agreements remain mired more than a year after Newsom and then-Governor Jerry Brown attempted to nudge the Water Board towards focusing on getting to the settlements rather than pass their plan for increased unimpaired flows.

“There is only one way to avoid this potential crisis and that is for the federal government and California to work together,” she implored. “I urge you both to come to a mutually beneficial agreement, and I stand ready to help in any way I can.”

Copies of the communication were also sent to State National Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot, Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, State Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Aurelia Skipwith, and State Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham.

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