The Valley Needs the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014

By Senator Andy Vidak
Thursday, January 15, 2015

Published in the Kern County Valley Ag Voice – January 2015 Issue

In December, I joined a bipartisan coalition of state legislators from the Valley urging the passage of the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014. The following letter, authored by State Senator Jean Fuller, was sent to United States Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer:

Dear Senators Feinstein and Boxer:

As members of the congressional delegation from California representing the Central Valley, you have worked hard to find agreement on federal legislation to bring relief to our communities struggling with an unprecedented and devastating drought.  

We know much progress has been made and commend you and members of the House for your efforts.  We understand more work remains to be done, but it cannot be completed before the end of the current legislative session.

We urge you to continue your efforts and work toward early enactment of a comprehensive and long-lasting solution in the upcoming 114th Congress.

In the meantime, our constituents remain in dire need of assistance.  Many families, businesses and farms in the Central Valley are completely without water for the first time in history, and they are facing the real possibility of another very dry year.  

Federal and State water managers need additional flexibility to capture and make the best use of whatever rain and snow that winter storms bring to California in the coming months.  Congress must do what it can, now, to provide that flexibility. 

Therefore, we request you support H.R. 5781, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014.  This temporary, emergency measure is intended to provide the operational flexibility necessary for the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project to meet human needs while providing practical protections for the environment.   If enacted, the legislation will bring some measure of relief to the Central Valley now and in the coming year while Congress continues to work toward a long-term solution.

It is imperative we not forgo any opportunity to improve our water supply situation during this time of crisis.  H.R. 5781 is such an opportunity.  We respectfully and urgently request your support for enactment of this legislation before the 113th Congress adjourns and call on all members of the California delegation to work together in the new Congress to address California’s long term water issues. 

Thank you for your many efforts to ensure that California can meet the water needs of its citizens and its environment.

I co-signed Senator Fuller’s letter, along with Senators Tom Berryhill and Anthony Cannella, and Assemblymembers Frank Bigelow, Shannon Grove, Jim Patterson, Adam Gray, Devon Mathis and Rudy Salas, Jr.  The letter was also sent to Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader of the U.S House of Representatives and Congressmen Devin Nunes, David Valadao, Tom McClintock, Jim Costa and Jeff Denham.