Rep. McNerney Issues Statement in Response to Westlands Settlement
Washington – Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) issued the following statement in response to the drainage settlement between Westlands Water District and the U.S. federal government approved today:
“This settlement between Westlands Water District and the Department of the Interior is nothing short of alarming. It’s a ‘sweetheart deal’ negotiated without transparency – resulting in an outrageous windfall for Westlands regardless of how much affected land is ultimately retired. The settlement forgives Westlands’ massive $350 million debt owed to the government and taxpayers while giving them an advantageous, no-need-to-review contract that could improve the water deliveries they receive from the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta and further devastate the Delta’s fragile ecosystem.
“Westlands will also not be required to meet specific performance measures for how the land will be managed moving forward – meaning that the drainage problems at the heart of this matter could continue to contaminate farmland and injure wildlife. It’s important that water agencies and stakeholders are aware of what Westlands is getting out of this deal and the troubling precedent that this could set for the future. The next stop for this settlement is Congress, where I will strongly oppose it and ask the tough questions necessary when California’s largest and very profitable water district is absolved of its obligations at the expense of taxpayers and the environment.”
In July, Rep. McNerney led his colleagues in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Commerce, requesting further information and a briefing on the proposed settlement. The Department of the Interior responded in September with an hour-long briefing on Friday, September 11 for House members who sent the letter.
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.