Jerry Brown Attempts to Block Farmer Drought Relief Bill

Published February 4, 2014

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) sent a letter to Congress opposing a bill to increase water allowances for California farmers coping with the effects of the state’s ongoing drought.

Current California water allocations strive to strike a balance between irrigation water for farmers and environmental priorities. California’s Republican congressmen sponsored a bill in the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources to increase the water allotments for California farmers to cope with the drought.

“It would override state laws and protections, and mandate that certain water interests come out ahead of others,” wrote Brown. “It falsely suggests the promise of water relief when that is simply not possible given the scarcity of water supplies.”

“This bill ends the madness of putting fish before families and creates a solution to ensure consistent water deliveries for our communities when Mother Nature blesses us with precipitation,” countered Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), according to the Associated Press. “Any other proposed idea to ameliorate the effects of today’s drought would not be felt for over a dozen years. Our communities cannot wait.”

Environmental activist groups say withholding the desired water from California farmers is important to assure adequate water flows for fish.

The bill will likely get a friendly reception in the Republican-controlled House. Its prospects are more uncertain in the Democrat-controlled Senate.