California Republicans are pressing President Joe Biden’s administration for answers regarding its proposed teardown of a 2019 environmental document that shapes the flow of water throughout the Golden State and drove an increase in water supplies to Valley farms.
Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) led the way in December by making the request to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.
The backstory: In 2019, President Donal Trump’s administration issued new biological opinions governing the the management of California’s State Water Project and the Federally-run Central Valley Project. The previous biological opinions were issued in 2008 and 2009.
- Shortly after taking office two years ago, the Biden administration kicked off the process to throw out the Trump-era rules on the grounds that endangered species and critical habitats were not properly analyzed.
- Backers of the Trump-era environmental rules argue that the document produced up-to-date scientific methods for monitoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for endangered fish species while allowing greater flexibility to pump more water to the San Joaquin Valley and southern California.
What we’re watching: Last August, Republicans made a similar request for answers but were met with deaf ears. Now that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) holds the gavel, Republicans will have a greater opportunity to throw their weight around in an attempt to protect the Trump-era policy.
What they’re saying: Valadao led McCarthy, the entire California Republican delegation and other national Republicans with the letter sent to Haaland.
- “We are concerned that this consultation process represents a departure from common practice, raising questions about whether outside entities may have exerted undue influence on the Department’s decisions,” the Republicans wrote.
- “If the Department should continue to refuse to provide requests for information, the House Committee on Natural Resources will take additional steps to secure the information to fulfill our constitutional oversight duties,” the lawmakers wrote.