Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
MARCH 17, 2006 California Farm Bureau
No infrastructure bond on June ballot. This past week, the deadline came and went to place an infrastructure
bond proposition before the voters on the June primary ballot. While intense negotiations raged for more than a
week, in the end the Governor’s Office and Legislative leaders of both parties were unable to reach a
compromise on a package of transportation, school construction, flood control, water supply, housing, parks,
and environmental projects valued at roughly $50 billion dollars that would be paid for with bonds to be
approved by the voters.
On Wednesday evening, March 15, just hours before a midnight deadline, each legislative house adopted
different interim measures to address flood control needs, but neither acted on the other house’s bills, and each
adjourned without sending anything to the Governor for signature.
In the Senate, an emergency appropriation of $1 billion, out of current state surplus revenues for flood control
work, was unanimously approved and sent to the Assembly. But the Assembly took no action on the
appropriation. Instead, the Assembly passed bipartisan compromises on school construction and flood control
bonds and sent them over to the Senate, which adjourned for the week without acting on them prior to the
deadline. There were clear indications in the Capitol on Wednesday evening that environmental interests, and
potentially others, were concerned about sending individual items to the voters, instead of presenting everything
to the voters as one big package.
One of the difficult points in achieving an agreement appears to have been the issue of surface water storage
projects. It has been difficult to determine exactly how the negotiations proceeded on this issue, because none
of the language being discussed was provided to the public, and the exact points being discussed seem to have
changed several times over a short period of time. However, it appears that Republican members of both
houses were unwilling to approve a package that did not provide a reasonable likelihood that necessary surface
water storage projects would actually be built to meet projected demands of the State’s population growth.
Meanwhile, environmental organizations strongly opposed the construction of identified projects, including
Temperence Flat Reservoir on the Upper San Joaquin River, and Sites Reservoir in Colusa County in the
From the draft language Farm Bureau has been able to obtain, it does not appear that either of those projects
was likely to be built. However, it is not even clear which parties approved what language, if any, or at what
point in the negotiations particular drafts were prepared or agreed upon.
The need for new surface storage projects, and opposition to them by influential environmental organizations,
has been a sticking point in many statewide water management and supply issues for many decades now, and
they are likely to continue to be.
One of the more frustrating aspects of the process over the past few weeks has been the lack of information
about what was being discussed and debated behind closed doors to try and close a deal. Many legislators from
both parties privately and publicly expressed frustration that they had no information, and very little time to decide how to vote on such a huge package of projects what would be paid for out of the tax revenues of a
Legislative leaders have expressed interest in continuing discussions in the interest of reaching a broad
compromise that will send a package to the voters for approval in November, with the reservation that the
political factors present in an election year may hamper that effort. The Governor continues to express his
trademark optimism that a deal can be worked out, and has guaranteed an infrastructure package will be sent to
the voters on the November ballot.
Farm Bureau is pleased that the Governor dropped his proposal to include a statewide water tax with his
infrastructure package. It is likely that this threat will resurface during budget negotiations. Farm Bureau will
continue its vigilance to protect its members from new taxes.
Based on the latest monitoring data, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has found that they
will meet the reduction requirements and achieve attainment of the federal standards for PM10 (fugitive dust)
before 2010. PM10 air quality has dramatically improved in recent years and federal reference monitoring data
from 2003-05 shows no violations in the San Joaquin Valley. Despite this positive news about his district,
Senator Dean Florez (D-Shafter) has introduced SB 1252 that will add an additional layer of civil penalty up to
$25,000 per violation to be administered by the state or any of the 35 California air districts for any discharge of
particulate matter in violation of state or federal ambient air quality standards.
Existing law already provides sufficient penalty provisions for violating state air quality statute and regulations.
In addition to being excessively punitive by allowing a regulator to impose two fines for the same violation, SB
1252 increases the violation threshold to $50,000 in 2010. Current penalty provisions are based on level of
intent and occurrence of any injury resulting from the emission discharge. SB 1252 is based on violation of an
ambient air quality standard. It is not clear how this could be monitored since monitoring devices for measuring
these standards are not placed on private businesses and entities but in public areas to measure ambient air
quality. SB 1252 is redundant and punitive. CFBF will oppose this measure when it is heard in the Senate
Environmental Quality Committee on April 3.
SB 1224 (Wes Chesbro, D-Arcata) would extend indefinitely an exemption in current state law. The exemption
allows licensed carriers of livestock utilizing semi-trailer combinations, which do not exceed 70 feet in total
length and kingpin to rear axle settings of 40 feet, access to Humboldt and Del Norte counties via Highway 101.
Continuation of this exemption is vital to the lasting viability of the livestock industry in these two rural
counties. SB 1224 will be heard in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Tuesday, March 21.
CFBF is in support and is working closely with the California Cattlemen’s Association, the sponsor of the bill.
The Heritage Tree bill is back. Senator Perata reintroduced his bill, SB 1799, to protect the state’s heritage
trees. The bill defines a heritage tree by age and size and makes it a crime to harvest or harm a heritage tree.
This year’s bill is extremely similar to the previous heritage tree bill, SB 754 (Perata), with the main difference
being that this year’s bill does not include a heritage tree buffer zone provision. Included in the list of heritage
trees, are hardwood species with a diameter greater than 28 inches at stump height. This provision impacts not
just forested areas, but rangeland as well. CFBF remains opposed to SB 1799 and will work to oppose the bill,
which is set for a hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on March 28th. CFBF urges all
impacted counties and individuals to submit letters of opposition to the Committee prior to the hearing.
The Senate Rules Committee voted 4-0 to confirm Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's choice of Dr. Robert
Sawyer as chair of the Air Resources Board (ARB). As opposed to an earlier Senate Rules hearing last summer
when the Governor's selection was not confirmed for this same position, Sawyer's time before the committee
went smoothly and garnered equal support from business and environmental interests.
Sawyer is the Class of 1935 Professor of Energy Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley where he
has conducted extensive research and taught air pollutant emissions and their control, energy conversion,
combustion, fire safety and rocket and jet propulsion since 1966. As he joked on Wednesday during his
presentation, "My daughther says her father really is a rocket scientist."
Sawyer, 70, of Oakland, earned a Ph.D. in aerospace science and a Master of Arts degree in aeronautical
engineering from Princeton University. In addition, he holds a Master of Science degree and a Bachelor of
Science degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. This position requires Senate confirmation
and the compensation is $117,818. Sawyer is a Democrat.
Irene Raymundo, 60, of El Dorado Hills, has been appointed chair of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board.
She has served on the Board since November, 2005. Raymundo was previously a board representative for the
Hearing Service of the Board of Parole Hearings from 1999 to 2005 and a member of the Board from 1991 to
1999. Prior to that, she was a community resource manager for the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility.
Raymundo is a member of the California State Employees Association for Supervisors and the California
Correctional Workers Association. This position requires Senate confirmation. Raymundo is a Republican.
Michael G. Lee, 54, of Sacramento, has been appointed general counsel for the Agricultural Labor Relations
Board. He has served as a deputy attorney general in the Office of the Attorney General since 1988. Lee is
currently assigned to the Correctional Law Section of the Civil Division and served as supervising deputy
attorney general for the Division from 1996 to 2004. He has previously served as staff counsel for the Water
Resources Control Board, the Secretary of State and the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. This position
requires Senate confirmation. Lee is a Democrat.
Genevieve Shiroma, 51, of Sacramento, has been re-appointed to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. She
has been a member of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board since 1999. Prior to that, Shiroma held a variety
of positions at the Air Resources Board from 1978 to 1999, concluding her tenure as chief of the Air Quality
Measures Branch. This position requires Senate confirmation. Shiroma is a Democrat.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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