Water Bill Waits for Obama's Signature

Past midnight in Washington D.C., as senators placed their votes Friday night, passing a bill that could bring $558 million to California water projects and change the way water flows. 

"We've seen back to back to back years of  0% and this year, a 5% allocation," Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen said. "Been extraordinarily dismal, tough on the economy, this is hopefully going to kick those numbers up."

And allow more water to be captured, especially in the winter months.

That's due to a 90-page portion, inserted by Senators Kevin McCarthy and Dianne Feinstein.

It had some upset, including one of the bills author's: Senator Barbara Boxer.

"This is such an incredible earmark, it actually tells the federal government how to operate a water project," Boxer said. "And to walk away from the biological opinion from the science."

But farmers like Jacobsen say, last year, the state operated at a 60% water allocation, while the federal government operated at just 5%.

Jacobsen also says, the bill is mindful of the endangered species act.

Although Boxer doesn't agree.

"A provision added in the dead of night, that forces water to be operated a certain way, that violates the biological opinions on the fish, that violates the science," Boxer said. "I hope they take this to court, day one." 

Jacobsen says the bill changes the way biological opinions are interpreted, he also says the portion went through dozens of drafts over the past five years.

If the president does not sign the bill, it may be veto-proof, since more than two-thirds of congress voted in favor.

Reporting in Fresno, Megan Rupe. 


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