This past week, I gladly voted for S. 612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, legislation to alleviate water shortages in California. The landmark compromise is the result of negotiations between California House Republicans and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). It passed the U.S. Senate by an overwhelming majority and was signed into law today.
I'm glad that both sides of the negotiating table were able to come together and strike a good faith agreement that balances environmental and economic needs. While this is only the first step in ensuring California's water distribution is sensible and fair, it is a positive one.
It's estimated that this legislation will provide for an additional 200,000 acre-feet of water for Southern California and the Central Valley annually, enough to meet the needs of 446,000 California households.
Specifically, the legislation:
- Directs federal agencies (Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service) to pump water at the high end of the Delta smelt and salmonid biological opinions (i.e. -5,000 cfs OMR). This is within current law and regulation. Only under certain conditions and if listed species are adversely impacted can pumping be reduced.
- Authorizes federal agencies to increase pumping rates under certain conditions to capture water from storm events provided listed species are not adversely impacted.
- Eliminates the water “payback” provision, which typically results in significant pumping reductions after storm events.
- Requires that the Delta Cross Channel Gates remain open as much as possible, consistent with Federal and state law, to allow more fresh water to flow into the central Delta to be pumped south or to reduce salinity.
- Expands the window for water transfers through the Delta to April 1 through November 30, which enables more water to flow from willing sellers in Northern California to willing buyers south-of-the-Delta.
Marie and I wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season! As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if there is any way I can assist you.
News for December 9-16, 2016
||Chairman Royce's Iran Sanctions Extension Act Enacted into Law
Rep. Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement after his Iran Sanctions Extension Act was enacted into law:
“Iran’s support for terrorism, and its push to develop a missile capable of striking the United States, is a direct threat to our national security. This legislation renews existing sanctions – which were not part of President Obama’s nuclear agreement – to counter Iran’s illicit missiles program. And it ensures the Trump administration can ‘snap-back’ other powerful sanctions when the ayatollah makes a rush for a nuclear weapon. So don’t be fooled by Tehran’s rhetoric. Iran is the only party that has broken terms of the deal. This law ensures the U.S. retains its ability to hold the regime accountable.”
The legislation, which was authored by Chairman Royce, passed the Senate 99-0 and the House 419-1. The measure extends sanctions on Iran for a decade.
||Rep. Royce Announces Congressional Award Winners
Rep. Royce announced this year's winners from California's 39th Congressional District of the Congressional Award, the highest honor Congress bestows upon young Americans. This Congressional recognition is reserved for students who have completed up to 100 hours in the areas of public service, physical fitness, and personal development.
A full list of winners can be viewed here.
Established by Congress in 1979, the Congressional Award was created to honor young participants who have set, and achieved, personal goals driving service and individual development across the nation. In pursuit of the Congressional Award, over 49,000 students have performed more than 3.5 million volunteer hours.
The CA-39 winners of the Award were presented with a Congressional Award certificate and medal by Rep. Royce during a reception he hosted in his Brea office.
Additional details on participating in the Congressional Award Program are available here.
|California Representatives Want More Info on Government Animal Testing
|The excerpt below is from an article in the Los Angeles Times that can be read here.
Federal agencies don’t do enough to track and justify their use of live animals for research, several members of Congress wrote in a letter asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office to examine the issue.
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) and Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) led the letter, which also was backed by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Downey), Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) and eight other House members.
“We have discovered it is impossible to determine what federal animal research programs currently entail, what they cost and if they meet federal standards because of the limited and decentralized information available publicly. Federal agencies are not currently required to publicly report their total use of animals in research, do not publish noncompliance reports and generally do not maintain searchable databases of animal research projects with information about their purpose, methods, results, and cost,” the letter says.
Calvert said without the reporting, it is difficult for Congress to tell whether the research is effective and where there may be redundancies.
“I’m not opposed to the rare testing of animals when it’s absolutely necessary,” Calvert said. But, “most people in America who are asked would say, ‘No, let’s not harm animals unnecessarily if there are other methods.’ ”
The representatives also are asking the government oversight agency to look at which federal agencies conduct animal research and testing and how each agency informs Congress and the public about the costs, type of research and outcomes of the testing. They also want the office to look at how agencies report problems with testing and report their efforts to develop alternatives to animal testing.
In addition, representatives are asking for data on how much money each agency spent on animal testing and how many animals were used in testing in fiscal year 2016.
“One, I like animals, but two, I don’t like waste,” Calvert said. “In the end, this is going to save a lot of money, and obviously it’s going to increase the welfare for many [animals].”
California’s members of Congress made a similar appeal earlier this year for information on the military’s use of animals for medical training instead of simulated human flesh.
Read more here.