California files suit against Trump over water diversion for farmers

February 21, 2020

President Trump signing the memorandum in Bakersfield

By CCT STAFF

In a battle largely pitting fish against farmers, the Trump Administration and California are clashing over water policy in the Golden State. [The Hill]

This week, President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum intended to direct more water to California farmers. Shortly more than 24 hours later, the state of California fired back by suing the White House.

On Wednesday, Trump signed a presidential order on developing and delivering more water supplies in California. The order is expected to allow large quantities of water to be diverted from the San Francisco Bay Delta to the Central Valley in order to irrigate farmland. The plan also calls for sending more water to growing populations further south.

Trump signed the order in Bakersfield, where he was flanked by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and fellow California Republican, Rep. Devin Nunes. While in Bakersfield, the president said the order will direct a massive amount of water to California farmers and ranchers.

Prior to signing the memorandum, Trump ordered the Department of the Interior to redo biological assessments that for decades had blocked water diversion on the grounds it would harm various types of fish. In rolling out the diversion plan, Trump cited new scientific research and biological opinions from the Department of Interior.

Critics of the plan argue it will ultimately harm chinook salmon, as well as the delta smelt, a finger-sized fish that for three decades has blocked water diversion in the area.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra responded to Trump’s order by filing a lawsuit late Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Becerra listed a variety of reasons the new biological opinions allegedly do not meet legal requirements. One rule Becerra cited is that a biological opinion must consider not just the continued survival of designated species, but also their recovery.

The lawsuit also argues Trump’s order violated the National Environmental Policy Act because the administration did not provide the public with meaningful opportunity to comment on the diversion.

“As we face the unprecedented threat of a climate emergency, now is the time to strengthen our planet’s biodiversity, not destroy it,” Becerra said in a statement. “California won’t silently spectate as the Trump Administration adopts scientifically-challenged biological opinions that push species to extinction and harm our natural resources and waterways.”

Locally, San Luis Obispo County has faced criticism, particularly from fishermen, for directing water toward creeks for fish and wildlife. The county has dumped as much as 3 million gallons of water daily from Lopez Lake in order to satisfy environmental mandates.


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Jorge Estrada

I guess it would be reasonable to stop all federal grants to California until this State vs Fed lawsuit is resolved. The Feds can then spend the California Grant moneys for their defense fund until all is resolved AND the appeal period has ended.


Ralph Snart

Will this bring back the Pygmy Mammoth? If so, I agree.


1965buick

Pandering. Trump doesn’t give a crap what happens to California.


kayaknut

But Newsom does??????? Not hardly…..


Niles Q

The State and feds have contracts with water agencies and irrigation districts that they collect hundreds of millions of dollars a year on.

If the State is willing to short change on the deliveries then it should not be able to collect the money.

It’s time California lived up to its obligations.


ActaNonVerba

It would be wonderful to see a few dozen new dams/reservoirs throughout California driven by the feds. SLO County has logical spaces for more than one.


Rambunctious

Why does our state government hate farmers?…


Snoid

The earth is some 60,000,000 year old. Records collected go back only 200 years if that, and people think the warmer,colder wetter or drier weather has never been experienced ever before. Now the shy is falling? I think your fooling yourselves.


oldtimer

Hahaha I guess carbon dating and culture are a joke, I guess you don’t realize India has over 12-20 thousand years of history and data, or how old Christ is, or what Tao is, or what carbon dating is? And how’s is a president pushing Socialism on CA good, can’t we govern ourselves without the Trump Socialist Feds? What about State Rights and local elections huh? I don’t want some Socialist Federal Government telling me what I can and can’t do in my state and taking my land! What is this, Venezuela where feds know best? What billionaire farmers bought off Trump so act so Socialist, the Resnicks, marijuana?


Francesca Bolognini

With you all the way about the carbon dating and science. Especially since the current regime in Washington is only about those opinions that support their corporate agenda. Have to part ways on the socialist label of their regime, however. You are not likely a political science scholar, or you would know that the very misused term “socialist” does not apply to the current white House. Our system, at its best, is intended to be somewhat socialist. “We the People”, that’s us. “Of, By and For The People”, that’s actual socialism. Without checks and balances, that becomes communism. Without checks and balances, our financial system becomes Fascism. That is exactly where we are now headed. Top down rule. Trump, who is attempting to grant himself absolute power, is not a “socialist”, He is talking totalitarianism. Those governments, like the USSR, that have used the term “socialist” are simply calling themselves something they are very clearly NOT. This is being used to confuse us by those who would have us believe “socialism” is a bad thing. Don’t believe me? Look all this up.


Those countries in Scandinavia that have a several times higher level of quality of life, they are actually practicing socialism. Democratic socialism, to be more precise. Their people participate in actual elections, far less compromised than our own. There are checks and balances. They have all the things America was about to have before “neoliberalism” and “neoconservativism” , which simply boils down to “corporativeism” took hold and sent all our jobs away and stripped our social safety nets, diverted our resources to endless wars and allowed our infrastructure to deteriorate. Instead of those things we now have multi-multi BILLIONAIRES. What it comes down to is a long drift, over several decades, towards Fascism. Corporate money rules our government and our votes are having less and less meaning. Want to change things? No matter which “team” you are playing for, (I am NPP) “red” or “blue”, force them to count the votes of The People. That is what self governance is all about!

Also, old-timer, I love that you actually care. Namaste


Jorge Estrada

California has a big problem now that we have a President who has no political ambition. He’ll do his next 4 years to serve the public by his works and politics will become an endangered feces. The Constitution and self-reliance will become subjects to learn again and with any luck, serving your country as an elected official will not be allowed to become a career.


oldtimer

Stop Trumps Federal Socialism through minority mass land owner donations, by invading States and their rights to land and it’s representatives. Stop Devin Nunes and his ties to Russia and it’s billionaire oligarchy, selling out the valley of Ca to foreign assets through Federal Socialism. Stop leasing public lands to Oil Giants using Federal Socialism. Stop the use of public lands to build a wall using Socialism. Stop Socialist Trump, stop Far Right Socialism and Nationalism terrorism, this is not Germany WW2, we will not repeat this. Stop Socialist and Communist handouts to big business.


JamesD

Oldtimer, only way to stop Socialism and Communism is to quit electing Democrats.