Last week Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) unveiled a legislative rider, “The Emergency Temporary Water Supply Amendment” that would would weaken pumping restrictions designed to protect delta smelt and migrating salmon in the San Francisco Bay and Delta.
As most in Oregon are painfully aware, the collapse of the Sacramento salmon (40,000 last year down from 750,000 in 2002) has led to the cancellation of much of Oregon’s commercial salmon fishing the last two years. This collapse, due in large part to water diversions for agriculture has had significant adverse economic impacts up and down the west coast.
The good news is that west coast members of Congress, including Peter DeFazio, David Wu and Earl Blumenauer are fired up about Ms. Feinstein’s actions. In a letter addressed to Feinstein they urge the withdrawal of the rider pointing out that it is drought, not environmental protections that have exacerbated water problems and that in any event irrigators have obtained all or nearly all of their contractual water supply. The letter also expresses concern that the rider preempts science in order to legislate unsustainable water exports out of the Bay-Delta.
Ms. Feinstein has heard from her colleagues, but it can’t hurt to hear from you. It might also be a good idea to write Senator Wyden and Senator Merkely since as far as I can tell, they haven’t entered the fray–KM