Vidak to Governor: Veto Anti-Water Well Drilling Measure (SB 252)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sacramento – Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) today sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown urging him to veto Senate Bill 252, authored by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa). SB 252 would place even more additional regulatory burdens on property owners needing to drill a new water well on their own land.

September 26, 2017

The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Governor
State of California
State Capitol, First Floor
Sacramento, CA  95814

RE:  SENATE BILL 252— VETO REQUEST

Dear Governor Brown:

I am writing to respectfully request your veto of Senate Bill 252, which is a knee jerk reaction to the California drought, blind to the recent flooding, and completely ignores the progress currently taking place by our local groundwater sustainability agencies.

SB 252 undermines the promises made by those involved in the creation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014, and violates the primary goal of the Act which was that groundwater should be managed at the local level. In 2014, AB 1739, SB 1319, and SB 1168 were negotiated to ensure compliance, and gave time for groundwater sustainability agencies to be formed and for cities, counties, and well owners to comply with the requirements of the Act.

SGMA represented the single biggest change in California water policy in the last 100 years. If we allow each successive Legislature to poke holes in this overhaul, the policy will collapse before it has time to establish itself as the new law of the land. This would be akin to allowing multiple new categorical funding projects to be established the year after your Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) was unveiled to the state.

SB 252 violates the spirit of the SGMA agreement, and undermines your role in negotiating a complicated water package that will enact major change for the Central Valley and the state. SB 252 also failed to earn support from a bipartisan group of Central Valley legislators, including Assemblymembers Dr. Joaquin Arambula, Heath Flora, Vince Fong, Adam Gray, Devon Mathis, and Rudy Salas, and Senators Tom Berryhill, Anthony Cannella, Jean Fuller and myself.

Finally, SB 252 ignores the simple fact that groundwater basins must be managed as a whole, not piecemealed together pitting well owners, cities, and counties against one another. Groundwater is not restricted by property lines and county borders, and must be appropriately and fairly regulated basin wide.

For these reasons, I respectfully request your veto on SB 252. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

ANDY VIDAK

You can see Andy question Senator Dodd during the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Hearing, here.