Rep. Jeff Denham named to the Subcommittee on Water and Power

Rep. Jeff Denham today expands his influence over the House debate on water issues and his ability to address California’s water crisis by joining the Subcommittee on Water and Power in the House Committee on Natural Resources.  With a seat on the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee in the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as well, Rep. Denham now has jurisdiction over many programs including the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bureau of Reclamation.

The unemployment rates are consistently above the national average in the Central Valley. As a long time farmer in the area, Rep. Denham understands the immediacy of the water crisis and will remain committed to bringing water back to the Central Valley in order for farmers to grow crops and put people back to work.

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The continuing fight for Sacramento Delta water

1,300 miles of ancient, earthen levees protect and encircle the Sacramento Delta.  Some say this leaves the area, and its crucial water supply vulnerable to an earthquake. Others opine that the levees are sturdy enough. That something seemingly as simple as agreement over the safety of levees can’t be reached is a telling indication of how politically contentious the Delta is. It’s been this way for decades too.

It’s all about the water, and who will control it and where will it go. Delta residents and environmentalists have somewhat overlapping interests. They want most of the water to stay in the Delta so the wildlife, fish, and birds will be protected and the area remains a natural resource. In opposition to them, but hardly allies, are farming interests in the Central Valley and the Los Angeles / San Diego water-devouring monsters to the South.  Everyone wants that water, and more than a few of the players are politically connected with major financial resources. Add to that a multiplicity of federal, state, and local agencies with regulatory power over the Delta and you get a rather complicated game indeed, and one which is played using brass knuckles. The politics of water in California has always been a barely disguised street fight.

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