Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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California Farm Bureau Federation Friday
June 10, 2016
A2016-17 budget agreement was reached with leaders of both legislative houses and Governor Brown. While still needing to be approved by a majority vote of the Senate and Assembly, it is expected to fly through by Wednesday’s constitutional deadline to pass a spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1. There are limited details available, but some of the main issues being followed by Farm Bureau include a "Watershed Assessments" budget item that was rejected. It included a new position at the State Water Resources Control Board at a cost of approximately $140,000 and provided initial funding for the position to develop a fee on all water users of the Oroville and Shasta projects to fund watershed maintenance. A similar effort, AB 2480 (Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica) was introduced earlier this year. The measure was amended before passing out of the Assembly, weakening its impacts. The bill will next be heard in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.
Under the Human Right to Water directive, the budget allocates $10 million from Proposition 98 for the State Water Resources Control Board, in consultation with the Department of Education. It will deliver safe drinking water to schools where students do not currently have access. Additionally, the budget approves four new positions at the State Water Board to collect and to track data on access to safe drinking water for students.
There was $15 million in general funds allocated to the California Department of Food and Agriculture for pest exclusion that was whittled down to $750,000 for a study by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to look at the potential impact from the use of neonicotinoids on ornamentals. Technical statutory changes to streambed alterations were adopted with indications that it is related to streambed protections for diversion for cannabis cultivation.
Up to $3.1 billion in revenue from the state’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program had been divvied up among various programs, including high speed rail, forest health and water efficiency. But no cap-and-trade programs will be funded at this time due to the latest auction of carbon credits yielding just $10 million, a fraction of the over $500 million generated by previous auctions. There is also uncertainty with a pending lawsuit against the state brought by the California Chamber of Commerce stating a 2/3 vote was needed to approve the state’s climate change program instead of the majority vote that was obtained. Talks will supposedly continue on the cap-and-trade provisions of the budget.
Steven Moore was confirmed by the Senate Rules Committee this week for reappointment to the State Water Resources Control Board. Mr. Moore was last confirmed to the Water Board’s Sanitary Engineer position in April 2013 and reappointed to the position by Governor Brown earlier this year. Mr. Moore will now go before the full Senate for a confirmation vote.
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Page Updated: Friday June 10, 2016 11:29 PM Pacific
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