Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) told acting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler last week that the Bay-Delta Plan is a “water grab” by state authorities, and that the federal government should stop it.
The Mantea/Ripon Bulletin, a local newspaper in the San Joaquin Valley, reported that Denham insisted the EPA had the authority to stop the Bay-Delta plan “because it ‘fails to meet the Clean Water Act’s “sound, rigorous” science standards for flow criteria.’”
The plan would require local water users to give up enough water to allow the tributaries of the San Joaquin River to reach a target of 40% of “unimpeded flow” to save native fish species. However, many locals consider the plan a “water grab” that will deprive farms and communities of vital water supplies without helping fish. Many suspect the plan is an effort to provide more fresh water to be pumped downstate in the proposed California Waterfix project.
Opposition to the plan is bipartisan: Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA), who represents the Fresno area, also opposes it, as do San Francisco water authorities, since it would reduce their water supply.
Denham’s Democratic opponent in November, venture capitalist Josh Harder, also claims to oppose the Bay-Delta Plan, but failed to participate in a Sacramento rally against the plan in August attended by both Denham and Costa.
In addition to the rally, Denham has also lobbied hard against the plan in Washington, DC. The Bulletin notes that Denham pressed his case with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in July and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in August on their respective visits to the Central Valley, and that Denham “has garnered the support of a large contingent of the California Republican Congressional Delegation in voicing opposition to the proposal.”
Environmentalists contend that the plan is necessary — albeit inadequate — to save the California population of Chinook salmon, among other species. However, Denham calls the Bay-Delta plan “Sacramento’s water grab.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.