WASHINGTON, March 24, 2016 – A group of California Republicans wrote a letter to President Barack Obama Thursday urging him to “act now” to relieve water shortages in the drought-stricken state.
The letter, led by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, asked Obama to direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to increase water exports in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta where water is sorely needed.
“You have traveled to our state. You have seen the devastating impacts the lack of water has caused to our communities, cities, farms and businesses,” the letter read.
“While we need collaboration among different levels of government, we more urgently need specific leadership from our Chief Executive… a clear message to the relevant federal agencies to increase – not decrease – pumping over and above -5,000 cfs (cubic feet per second of water) to take full advantage of these recent storms – perhaps the last of the season,” it continued.
According to the signatories, FWS and NMFS have “severely limited the ability of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) to export water from the Delta to California’s Central Valley and further south.” Earlier in March, more than 114,000 cfs flowed from the delta into the Pacific Ocean – water that could have been exported, they argued.
Recently, the USBR, FWS and NMFS rejected a proposal to increase exports to -6,000 cfs at Old and Middle River, and according to the letter, plan to reduce delta exports at the river to -3,500 cfs.
The other ten signatories were Reps. Ken Calvert, David Valadao, Devin Nunes, Tom McClintock, Mimi Walters, Darrell Issa, Dana Rohrabacher, Jeff Denham, Steve Knight, Ed Royce and Paul Cook.
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