Farm Bureau: Legislation moves Cal-Fed towards Balance
» October 8, 2004 «
The passage of federal legislation reauthorizing the Cal-Fed Bay-Delta Program will lead to long-sought balance between environmental restoration and water-supply reliability, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.
The U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval to the legislation, and President Bush is expected to sign it. The legislation authorizes $395 million for water storage studies, levee reconstruction, water quality improvement and environmental restoration.
"Passage of the Cal-Fed legislation moves the program toward the balance it has promised since the beginning," California Farm Bureau Federation President Bill Pauli said. "We applaud the fact that environmental restoration will continue to be a significant part of Cal-Fed, because farmers and ranchers have shown on many occasions that we are ready and willing to act as partners in restoration with Cal-Fed agencies.
"The bill represents a significant change by Cal-Fed, to focus on storage that captures new water as a central element in implementing a balanced program," Pauli said. "Cal-Fed will be judged a success if it expands and manages storage in ways that assure water-supply reliability for all."
Pauli called passage of the Cal-Fed bill "a major turning point in the history of Cal-Fed in terms of legislation, authorization, appropriations and litigation."
"We appreciate the leadership and vision of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Richard Pombo, and the continued support of Rep. Ken Calvert, Rep. John Doolittle and other members of the California delegation in moving the Cal-Fed legislation forward," he said.
Pauli said Gov. Schwarzenegger was also a key figure in making progress on Cal-Fed.
"By assuring that the state will provide its share of money, the governor has demonstrated his leadership in solving long-standing problems," he said.
Under the bill, completion of storage feasibility studies triggers a requirement that Congress authorize the projects studied. If Congress fails to act, the Interior Secretary must declare an "imbalance" in Cal-Fed and recommend ways to restore balance to the program.
Projects to be studied include new storage on the upper San Joaquin River, the proposed Sites Reservoir in Colusa County and the enlargement of two existing reservoirs, Shasta Lake and Los Vaqueros Reservoir.
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