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Efforts to Roll Back Merced Wild and Scenic Designation Flare Again

Posted: 01/31/2014
By: Megan Hooker

On January 29th, 2014, California House Republican David Valadao introduced the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act (HR 3964). Supported by California's entire GOP delegation, the Act is a package of actions that not only revive efforts to de-designate a portion of the Wild and Scenic Merced River, but also undo years of effort and negotiations for a number of major river restoration projects in the state. Similar to HR 1837, which stalled in Congress in 2012, this includes:

- overriding the Endangered Species Act for salmon and other native fish;
- preempting state environmental laws relating to restoring the Bay Delta;
- overturning the settlement to restore the San Joaquin River;
- gutting key elements of the 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act.

HR 3964 is bad news for California's rivers. While the bill's supporters say that HR 3964 is intended to address the current critical drought conditions, building higher dams and larger reservoirs will not bring more rain. Further, the provisions in the bill are permanent measures, rather than being a temporary fix to address what is happening now.  

Senator Dianne Feinstein called the bill "another irresponsible proposal that puts politics ahead of the needs of California, and candidly, it’s very disappointing." You can read Senator Feinstein's comments here.
We expect the bill to go to the House Floor during the week of February 3rd without hearing or markup, and encourage you to contact your Representatives.

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