Friant Water Authority CEO Jason Phillips was disappointed with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s veto of Senate Bill 559 on Monday, calling it a missed opportunity for the administration.
Phillips on Wednesday said the bill would have allowed the state “to define appropriate terms for becoming a partner” in a project to repair damage along the Friant-Kern Canal.
“This is just the latest in a long history of snubs from Sacramento,” he said, adding that Newsom’s promise of a more holistic approach to the problem “rings hollow to the San Joaquin Valley.”
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Phillips explained that the Friant Water Authority worked in partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation for two years to draft a plan and financing for the repairs. The damage is due to subsidence related to groundwater overuse, which was “exacerbated by decades of compounding water regulation by the state and federal governments,” he said.
Top photo: Phillips testified to Congress in 2019 on the need for infrastructure funding to fix the canal.