California Lawmakers Preparing $644M Drought Relief Bill

Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 07:00 AM


  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
California's senate leader is preparing a $644 million emergency drought relief bill designed to quickly fund shovel-ready projects to combat the state's severe water shortage, according to a draft of the bill.

The wide-ranging effort would fast-track water supply projects, speed up funding for expanded use of recycled water and stormwater capture projects, and better monitor and manage groundwater resources.

California is facing its worst drought in decades. State officials have said it is likely to force for the first time a complete cutoff this year in state-supplied water sold to 29 irrigation districts, public water agencies and municipalities up and down the state.

The draft calls for portions of the bill to go into effect by July 1, a quick timeline that highlights the urgency of the situation.

"Short of making it rain, I think this is the best that the governor and the legislature can do to get water to people who need it," said Steven Maviglio, a consultant working with environmental group NRDC.

Most of the money would come from voter-approved bonds, although at least $40 million would come from money raised from the sale of carbon permits as part of the state's cap-and-trade program.

Environmentalists said spending cap-and-trade revenue to make the state's water system more energy efficient would be a wise use of the money since 19 percent of electricity used in the state goes to heat, pump, move and treat water.

"With the close nexus between water and energy use in California, this will help create the greenhouse gas reductions and the broader environmental and economic benefits that we're looking for," said Erica Morehouse of the Environmental Defense Fund.

The three-page draft was circulated by environmentalists on Tuesday. A spokesman for Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, whose name is on the draft bill and who is leading the effort, declined to discuss the bill since it is the subject of ongoing negotiations.

Democratic Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency last month, a move that allows the parched state to seek federal aid. A Brown spokesman did not return a request for comment on the draft bill.

Democrats control a majority in both chambers of the California state legislature, making it easier for Brown to enact his agenda.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Retype Email:
Zip Code:
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Fla. Lawmaker Wants D'Souza's 'America' Shown in Schools

Friday, 25 Jul 2014 22:51 PM

A Florida state lawmaker plans to introduce a bill making conservative filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza's new movie, "America,"  . . .

PETA Paying Overdue Detroit Water Bills for People Who Go Vegan

Friday, 25 Jul 2014 21:37 PM

Amid angry protests over Detroit's effort to shut off delinquent water customers, People for the Ethical Treatment of An . . .

Wiki Blocks House Staffers After 'Disruptive' Edits

Friday, 25 Jul 2014 21:33 PM

The user-generated Web encyclopedia Wikipedia has blocked anonymous edits from some House staffers and lawmakers for 10  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved