The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation reversing a series of controversial California water and environmental regulations.
The California water regulations were the result of recent lawsuits by environmental groups that overturned decades old state water programs. Much of the water that reached the Central Valley was delivered through a series of water pumps and delivery systems. However, environmental groups attributed the pumps as a major cause of the decline of the Delta smelt, a small, native minnow species.
According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the lawsuit has led to the loss of 10,000 farm jobs as hundreds of thousands of fields lay fallow.
In response to this situation, the House passed the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act (H.R. 1837), a bill introduced by California Representative Devin Nunes.
According to the chair of the NCBA, “For far too long, radical environmental groups have abused environmental laws and trampled on the private water rights of cattlemen. In this instance, they did it in the name of protecting a three-inch fish. This is absurd. While the water diversions for the fish have produced negligible benefit, some of the most productive agricultural land has been left fallow and thousands of Californians have been put in unemployment lines.”
In addition to praising Congress for passing the legislation, representatives from the NCBA hoped that Congress would use the passage of this bill as motivation to revisit the Endangered Species Act, which many agricultural groups believe hinders agricultural production.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer