The House passed the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act (H.R. 3964) by a vote of 229–191.
Reps. McCarthy (R-Calif.), Valadao (R-Calif.) and Nunes (R-Calif.) introduced the legislation on Jan. 29 to address an historic drought after efforts to insert drought-related language into the Agricultural Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642) failed.
H.R. 3964 proponents said it would bring much-needed water to farmers and ranchers throughout the state, which is currently in the midst of one of the worst droughts in its history. California Democrats and the White House voiced opposition saying the legislation would replace state endangered species and water statutes. In a statement of administration policy, the White House threatened to veto the legislation.
In a statement, Sen. Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, “I intend to introduce legislation soon with Senator Boxer to offer relief for California and other drought-stricken states and to streamline federal projects and operations.”
The Bureau of Reclamation and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced the availability of up to $14 million for California water districts and farmers to use to improve water management and conservation. The $14 million is in addition to $20 million Agriculture Secretary Vilsack pledged for agricultural water conservation efforts in the state.
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