Bipartisan praise for Brown’s drought declaration

Praise is raining down from both sides of the aisle for Gov. Jerry Brown’s declaration of a drought emergency.

From U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

“I applaud Governor Brown’s decision to issue a drought declaration. The declaration provides the state with greater flexibility to address drought conditions and lays the foundation for federal disaster assistance through a presidential declaration.

“This week Congressman Costa, Senator Boxer and I called on President Obama to approve a federal disaster declaration as soon as possible and to appoint a drought task force to work with the state to mitigate the drought’s effects on the state. Now that the governor has issued the state declaration, I hope the president will act quickly to approve the federal declaration.”

From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“This bone-dry winter reminds us again that California’s water infrastructure is insufficient. Our lakes and rivers look bleak, including those that feed the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, upon which we are overly reliant as the sole solution to California’s water future.

“I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues and the Governor on immediate actions that should also guide long-term water policy in California.”

From state Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto:

“I absolutely commend the Governor for taking action on this very serious situation. It is a great first step to setting the wheels in motion to aid California during one of the driest years in history. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working with him and my colleagues on this issue.

“California’s reservoirs are at an all-time low. This is a crisis of epic proportions and underscores just how important it is for us to pass a water bond this year to address our infrastructure needs. Additional water storage is key. The Latino Water Coalition rally yesterday, his visits to Fresno, Bakersfield and Riverside on Monday and Tuesday and a weather forecast that includes not a drop of rain make a pretty solid case not only for this drought declaration, but for passing a comprehensive water bond that includes money for additional above ground water storage.”

From state Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford:

“The Valley roared and the governor heard us! Thank you Governor Brown for declaring California is in a drought emergency.”

From state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco:

“With 2013 being the driest year on record, and the Sierra Nevada snowpack at 17% of its normal levels, it is clear California is in the middle of a severe drought. This will result in an increase in devastating wildfires, such as the fire currently burning in Glendora and the many others we’ve seen in recent months. It jeopardizes the farmers in the Central Valley and beyond, putting the local economies and families that depend on that industry at risk. This drought is already negatively impacting the quality life of every Californian, and it is going to get worse before it gets better.

“While we pursue conservation efforts on the state level, it is important that all of us work to lower the amount of water we use. I thank Governor Brown for issuing this declaration, and join him in calling for a 20-30% voluntary reduction in water consumption. There are many simple ways to conserve water, from fixing leaky fixtures and appliances, to installing water saving showerheads and taking shorter showers, to only using your dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load. As our economy gets back on its feet, this drought has the potential to force us back into a recession. We can help to lessen the suffering of the worst affected if we all do our part.”

More, after the jump…

From state Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee Vice-Chair Anthony Cannella, R-Modesto:

“As we face one of the driest years in California’s history, we must take immediate action. There is too much at stake. Lack of water means a loss of jobs, a shrinking food supply, and threatens the integrity of our drinking water. As a member of the bipartisan coalition of legislators calling upon Governor Brown to issue a drought declaration late last year, I applaud the Governor for recognizing the dire situation we all face and am committed to working with him and my colleagues in the Legislature to develop short- and long-term solutions to ensure we provide water to those that need it most.”

From state Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield:

“It is my hope the emergency declaration will help soften the impact this historic drought is having on the hardworking people of the Central Valley.Now that California has made an emergency declaration, it is time for President Obama to act. State and federal water officials need to move quickly and get additional resources to the areas most affected. While this declaration will bring some help to our drought stricken communities, it emphasizes the need for the state to have a comprehensive plan for the future. This plan must include new storage, because without it we are destined to see droughts become more frequent and more devastating.”

From state Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber:

“This declaration will bring awareness to a potentially catastrophic and costly predicament. It will educate and convince the public that the stakes are high and that we must work together to implement solutions.”

“Declaring a drought is only the first step. The Governor must use his leadership and the power of the office to push for more infrastructures for water storage.

“Conservation measures are simply not enough. Increased water storage will provide for a more consistent source of water for farmers and residential use during the dry years. It is imperative that we – Republicans and Democrats – work together to ensure that California has clean and reliable water for future generations.”

From Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto:

“Today’s declaration is long overdue. Environmental restrictions and dry weather have exacerbated drought conditions for months now. Thousands of jobs throughout the Valley rely entirely on agriculture and have been negatively impacted by years of unnecessarily scarce water supplies. I continue to urge President Obama and Governor Brown to improve California’s water storage and conveyance by providing additional storage and adding flexibility to burdensome regulations that shut off water to Valley communities. I have introduced legislation this Congress to do just that. When the situation improves and the watershed increases in the spring, we must put the water to productive use for farmers and families rather than allowing this scarce resource to wash away into the Pacific Ocean.”

A joint statement from Reps. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield; George Miller, D-Martinez; Mike Thompson, D-Napa; Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento; Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton; Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo; and Ami Bera, D-Rancho Cordova:

“Governor Brown did the right thing in declaring a drought emergency today. The state is desperate for relief from these drought conditions, and the Governor’s prompt action helps. We can’t think of a clearer reason why the state and nation must invest in water recycling, conservation, and storage. These investments can create millions of gallons of new water for the state while creating good jobs. We urge the Governor to focus on creating new water through recycling, conservation, and storage in order to protect the state, family farms and businesses, and local municipalities that depend on a reliable water supply for their communities.”

From state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa:

“Today’s declaration by the Governor represents what many in the environmental and agricultural communities in my district have long feared: California’s water system is insufficient and conservation alone is not enough.”

“Our lakes and rivers are now mere puddles compared with their historical capacities and we’re dangerously close to a high fire season before winter even ends. We’ve known our state’s water situation has been bleak for the last three years and now our communities are literally counting down the days left in their water reserves with no anticipation of wet weather for months to come.

“The Governor’s declaration in the short-term will aid local governments with state assistance, water transfers and dam releases where they are most needed. I will continue to work with my legislative colleagues and the Governor to identify other mechanisms for immediate relief while crafting a long-term solution to California’s chronic water needs.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Gee, our governor is a flipping genius. If it doesn’t rain, we’re going to have a drought. But he has the solution: A high speed choo choo to nowhere and two giant delta-draining tunnels.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Senator Nielsen: Where the hell is Gerber?

  • JohnW

    I can hardly wait to see letters to the editor, declaring the right to water lawns as much as the writer pleases.

  • Elwood

    About 8 miles SE of Red Bluff.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Thanks. He must owe his seat to farm animal vote.