Carolyn Lochhead, SFGATE.COM
Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s revised drought bill is coming under increasing attack from the left even as the California Democrat tries to woo Republicans to speed the bill’s passage through the Senate without committee consideration.
More than a dozen environmental groups, including Sierra Club California, Audubon California, Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, issued a letter late Monday demanding changes to the revised bill, S.2198.
Feinstein has been pressuring state and federal water agencies to provide maximum pumping of the season’s March rains to provide relief to San Joaquin Valley farms, despite the dire straits of migrating salmon. Feinstein dropped $300 million in spending on drought relief projects to lure Senate GOP votes.
The letter from 13 environmental groups said they have “significant concerns” with the new Feinstein bill that “have not been remedied.” The groups expressed alarm that the legislation could help roll back environmental protections for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta ecosystem if it reaches a conference with a bill passed by House Republicans in February that would end the San Joaquin River restoration and permanently allocate more water to farmers.