Audubon California derides San Joaquin water bill (HR 3964) as ‘nothing but a step back’

Audubon California today voiced strong opposition to a cynical legislative effort to take advantage of the ongoing drought to derail California water policy and environmental protections. House Resolution 3964, which is being rushed to the floor Wednesday without committee debate, would overturn years of negotiations over Central Valley water policy that have balanced the interests of communities, agriculture, and the environment.

“At a time when California needs forward-thinking solutions, this legislation is nothing but a step back,” said Brigid McCormack, executive director of Audubon California. “We’re all in this together, and we need to continue the progress that we’ve made in addressing our natural resource challenges through good faith negotiation, compromise, and balance.”

House Bill 3964 would do irreparable damage to habitat for birds and other wildlife by suspending the 2009 San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, even though that agreement to restore one of California’s great waterways already contains a number of measures to address drought years. Just this week, for instance, Federal officials halted water releases for the restoration, making the water available for 30,000 people in small communities that may face shortages later this year.

The proposed legislation will also permanently override Endangered Species Protections and implement a number of short-sighted water policy changes.

 “This bill advances the ridiculous notion that the environment is somehow to blame for the drought,” said McCormack. “The only thing this bill will accomplish is that it will undermine our ability to find consensus on the challenges we all face together.”

Audubon California is joining many other conservation groups in opposing this legislation.

About Audubon California  

Audubon California is building a better future for California by bringing people together to appreciate, enjoy and protect our spectacular outdoor treasures. With more than 50,000 members in California and an affiliated 48 local Audubon chapters, Audubon California is a field program of the National Audubon Society. 

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