Drought Bill Would Do More Harm Than Good Statement Of Bob Irvin, President Of American RiversFebruary 5th, 2014
Contact: Amy Kober, 503-708-1145
Washington — The House of Representatives today will consider H.R. 3964, legislation that waives critical clean water and river safeguards in California, slashes endangered species protections, and unravels key river protection and restoration agreements such as the San Joaquin River Settlement Act.
The president of American Rivers, Bob Irvin, made the following statement:
“This bill is a radical and misguided response to the drought in California and would do far more harm than good. This is a drought of historic proportions and the people of California deserve real solutions that will protect and restore their rivers and clean water and make water supplies more flexible, reliable, and resilient for the future.”
“It is the lack of rain, not environmental laws, that has caused the low water supplies across the state. Waiving protections provided by the Endangered Species Act, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and other state and federal environmental laws will not make it rain or create more water. But it will be devastating to endangered salmon and steelhead and the many communities that rely on fishing for their livelihoods. In times of drought and stress to our rivers, we need more than ever to maintain environmental safeguards, which protect clean drinking water, conserve fish and wildlife, and benefit people.”
“American Rivers supports immediate actions to ease the impact of the drought, including drought relief for farmers and statewide water conservation. We are also working toward longer-term innovative water management solutions. While we cannot prevent droughts from happening in the future, we can make our communities better prepared through investment in solutions such as groundwater recharge, water recycling, stormwater reuse, forest and meadow restoration, and agricultural easements to preserve seasonal crops that can be fallowed during droughts.”