Democrats reject three Valadao amendments addressing Calif. drought

U.S. House Appropriations Committee Democrats voted down all three drought-related amendments offered by U.S. Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) to the fiscal year 2023 Energy and Water Appropriations bill during the committee’s June 28 markup of the legislation.

“The three amendments I offered today would improve water storage capacity, increase operational flexibility, and provide certainty for our farmers,” said Rep. Valadao on Tuesday. “It is extremely disappointing that the majority rejected all three of these amendments that would help my constituents who grow food for the nation.”

The first amendment offered by Rep. Valadao addressed water storage capacity issues. It would have extended the California storage provisions of the federal Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act through the end of 2023, as well as the authorization of appropriations for water storage projects, according to information provided by the congressman’s staff.

The amendment gained bipartisan support during Tuesday’s committee markup but was voted down by the majority.

The 2019 Biological Opinions (BiOps) — which determined that proposed coordinated operations would not jeopardize threatened or endangered species or adversely modify their designated critical habitat — would have been codified under Rep. Valadao’s second amendment to help end litigation and provide operational certainty for Central Valley farmers, according to the summary information.

Additionally, the amendment would have withheld funding from the reinitiation of consultation of the 2019 BiOps because Congress has still not been told why this process has started, the information states.

Rep. Valadao’s third amendment would have directed the Bureau of Reclamation to provide the House Appropriations Committee with justification on its decision to reinitiate consultation on the 2019 BiOps. The congressman has led several efforts requesting this information.

“The lack of reliable, clean water in the Valley has become an issue of national security. Farmers across the Central Valley are being forced to tear up their crops to conserve water – crops that would have fed families across the United States and the world,” Rep. Valadao said. “I will not stop fighting to bring more water to the Central Valley.”