Politics as Usual

With pressing issues like, oh, I don’t know…the default, descending credit ratings, various wars, and that little economic crisis of no jobs, apparently there is still not enough incentive for our representatives in Washington, D.C. to stop succumbing to partisan bickering and name calling. Instead, it is much more pressing (apparently) to publish innuendos of bribe taking or to paint supporters of spending requirements for various federal agencies and programs as spreading “death and disease across America”.
In reality, H.R. 2018 is an effort to make determinations relating to water quality standards, which certainly sounds much less innocuous, but also less dramatic, than a bill that “is larded up with giveaways to polluters and corporate donors”.
Perhaps, a debate on the real consequences, with a less dramatic tone, would produce the results we are all looking for.

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Delta Smelt Population Improves

On July 20, 2011, the California Dept. of Fish and Game announced that “Young Delta smelt abundance this year roughly doubled when compared to last year”.
This is certainly encouraging news, and gives hope to the continued efforts of Californians committed to the co-existence of the people of California (and the food they eat, clothes they wear, jobs they do, etc.) who strive to be productive and their continued enjoyment of the beauty of our natural resources.
This announcement certainly validates the decision to allow continued water exports to support the needs of California’s cities and agriculture.

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House Speaks on EPA Veto

The House of Representatives has gotten a lot of attention recently for efforts that may succeed in limiting the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency in a series of legislative maneuvers on various spending bills as well as stand-alone bills. One of these bills, H.R. 2018, referred to as the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, passed by a 239-184 vote, but may well be defeated in the Senate due to its Republican-led-House origins.

The passage of the bill follows a controversial decision by the EPA to veto a permit that was several years old. This move prompted concern from the House. “There is no question that the action that we’ve seen from EPA has unleashed an unprecedented backlash,” said Rep. John Mica (R., Fla.), an author of the bill and chair of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. “EPA has indeed created a regulatory nightmare that affects almost every state in the union.”
Stay tuned for more…

Link to HR 2018 text

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California Water Plan Update 2013’s Public Advisory Committee meeting June 29, 2011

Public Advisory Committee Meeting — California Water Plan Update 2013’s Public Advisory Committee meets on Wednesday, June 29, 2011. This meeting is open to the public. RSVP to Chas Grant at cgrant@water.ca.gov or 916-653-7101.

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Delta NHS Feasability Study-Available for Public Comment

The 2011 timeline of activities has been updated (attachment #1).
A NHA feasibility study outline has been developed (attachment #2).
Three memos (attachments #3-5), have been put together which will eventually become chapters of the draft feasibility study, and are currently open for public comments. Comments should be submitted to Commission staff no later thanJuly 15th, 2011. Instructions to submit comments are outlined on the documents. These memos will also be discussed at a public meeting which will be scheduled for mid-July.
Two additional public meetings will be scheduled for 2011. Commission staff is also available to make presentations to interested organizations at anytime (attachment #6)
National Park Service’s NHA Regional Co-Coordinator will make a general presentation about NHAs at the July 28th Commission meeting and be available to answer any questions from Commissioners and the public.
For more info go to: http://www.delta.ca.gov/Delta%20NHA%20Feasibility%20Study%20Update%20and%20Request%20for.htm

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Saying What You Mean

“A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought”.
Warren Buffett

The other day I was perplexed by a colleague’s characterization of me as a “black water lawyer”. I understand “black gold” to mean oil; “black ops” to be the kind of clandestine operation that resulted in the demise of Bin Laden, but I confess the black label he gave me has no meaning. Water law is made up of singularly significant historic events, pervasive technical details and unceasing power politics. These facts do not, in my experience, somehow change because of my ethnicity. I don’t need to be black to be interested in the earlier settlement of black farmers in Linden and Gretna, or white to be mindful of the many Basque farmers in Fresno. I don’t even need to be Chinese or Mormon to appreciate their contributions, along with many others, to developing Western water infrastructure. Racial identification all too often is used to fracture and isolate, so I don’t get the point of applying it to my legal expertise. It’s just another straw; one that cannot be spun into gold.

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SACRAMENTO, June 23, 2011 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture, in accordance with CEQA guidelines, is announcing a Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the Statewide Plant Prevention and Management Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

The EIR is a crucial step as CDFA carries out its responsibility to protect the state’s food supply and natural resources, upon which Californians and many throughout the nation and world depend. Responding to invasive species such as plant pests and diseases is one of the primary ways that CDFA helps farmers and ranchers maintain a constant, dependable and safe supply of food.

The EIR document will provide an opportunity to analyze the frontline defense of the nation’s food system through the principles of integrated pest management, using the latest science and technology. The final product will include a process to evaluate and include new developments and potential environmental impacts while providing for public participation throughout the pest management process.

CDFA is announcing public meetings to receive agency and public comments on the scope and content of the EIR. The schedule of scoping meetings is as follows:

July 6th, 2011
5:30-7:30 PM
Chico Municipal Center
421 Main St
Chico, CA 95928

July 7th, 2011
5:30-7:30 PM
Department of Health Care Services and
Department of Public Health building
1500 Capitol Ave
Sacramento, CA 95814

Note – A webinar is available for this meeting – to participate via the webinar, please sign up at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/926803362

July 12th, 2011
5:30-7:30 PM
Irvine Ranch Water District’s Duck Club
3512 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92618

July 13th, 2011
5:30-7:30 PM
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

July 14th, 2011
5:30-7:30 PM
UC Fresno Business Center
5245 N. Backer Ave
Fresno, CA 93740

To review the NOP, to make written comments, or to receive more information about the EIR process, please visit: www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/peir

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