Monday, December 05, 2016

Senator blasts GOP push for California drought language in water bill

Outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer is slamming a push by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to attach California drought language to a waterways bill, calling the provision a “poison pill.” Boxer, a California Democrat, said the inclusion of the drought language would jeopardize bipartisan efforts to finalize the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which McCarthy said would be posted on Monday. The underlying legislation authorizes dozens of water-related infrastructure projects around the country and is expected to include emergency funding for the lead-contaminated community of Flint, Mich. “I was stunned to see comments made by Kevin McCarthy that the outrageous poison pill that he is trying to place on WRDA is ‘a little small agreement’ on California drought,” Boxer said in a statement. “I will use every tool at my disposal to stop this last minute poison pill rider.” McCarthy and other California Republicans have been pushing to divert more water to the drought-stricken areas in central and southern California. Critics like Boxer worry the proposed move would harm fish, reduce fishery jobs, roll back the Endangered Species Act and remove Congress’s authority to approve new dams. McCarthy said the drought language “will bring more water to our communities and supports critical storage projects,” while also providing resources for Democratic drought priorities like conservation, efficiency and recycling efforts...more

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