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Congressman Jerry McNerney

Representing the 9th District of California

Rep. McNerney Continues the Fight to Protect the Delta against Harmful GOP Tactics

Jul 14, 2016
Press Release
Criticizes Republicans and Trump for Distorting California’s Drought and Water Scarcity Crisis

Washington – This week, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) continued his unrelenting fight to protect the health of the Delta estuary and the entire region against ongoing harmful Republican tactics. Rep. McNerney offered an amendment to the House Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill to strike Rep. David Valadao’s H.R. 2898 rider language that would have weakened environmental protections for salmon and other native fisheries in the Delta and Northern California, while doing nothing to address California’s dire water issues.

“As the Representative of the California Delta, I have witnessed a troubling pattern of persistent attacks against the Endangered Species Act and the health of the Delta. I made this point clear in a recent opinion piece, and I want to reiterate that Democrats must stay united in order to protect one of our most precious resources. The Republican strategy has reached a new low by desperately attaching riders to every piece of legislation moving forward, which also thwarts regular order. This is why I have responded in kind with amendments to strike harmful riders from H.R. 2898, that were attached in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations legislation a couple of months ago. Along with California and Oregon members, I also urged House and Senate leadership to reject the same riders from being attached to the House Energy bill. Yesterday, Congress voted on my amendment to strike these same riders from H.R. 5538, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

“Although my amendment failed, it would have prevented damaging riders in the underlying bill from permanently overriding protections for salmon and other native fisheries in California’s Delta estuary. California’s ongoing drought - not federal environmental laws - is the primary reason for low water supplies across the state. These riders from H.R. 2898 do nothing to solve California’s dire water issues or address drought across the West. Instead, they preempt state laws, reduce management flexibility, and roll back our nation’s fundamental environmental laws. A coalition of representatives from Washington, Oregon, and Arizona have joined California to speak out about the damage this legislation would do in their states, including the devastation it would bring to the Pacific fishing industry, fisheries, and natural habitat. Instead of pitting communities against each other, we need to support water conservation programs, infrastructure improvements, and innovative water recycling initiatives. We need solutions that involve all stakeholders.

“Mr. Trump, the presumed Republican nominee for President, has already weighed in and further distorted California’s drought and water scarcity crisis. He and Republican members are committed to an aggressive strategy to undo resource protections that my colleagues and I have fought so hard for because these laws protect our way of life. After next week, Trump will very likely be the leader and Presidential nominee of the Republican Party, which makes the threat to our communities even more real. We must remain vigilant and stay united to protect our jobs, families, and environment by making the Delta great again and doing what the West does best – innovating and exploring better solutions for all.”

Watch Rep. McNerney speak on his amendment on the House floor.

The House, led by a Republican majority, voted down the amendment 248-181.

Earlier this week, Rep. McNerney led members from California and Oregon in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership that called on them not to include any of the H.R. 2898 language during conference negotiations on the energy bill.

In a recent opinion piece in the Stockton Record, Congressman McNerney called for united defense of the Delta against Republican efforts to damage the estuary.

“We cannot afford to waiver in our commitment to the Delta. Gambling with the health of the Delta region will jeopardize the economies and environment of California and other Western states. Now, more than ever, we must unite around smart action and investments that will strengthen our drought resiliency and create a sustainable water future,” McNerney argued in the piece. 

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Rep. Jerry McNerney proudly serves the constituents of California’s 9th Congressional District that includes portions of San Joaquin, Contra Costa, and Sacramento Counties. For more information on Rep. McNerney’s work, follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @RepMcNerney.