“If the Legislature is willing to grant the Sacramento Kings arena expedited environmental review, then surely we should grant it to crucial water storage projects, which benefit all Californians,” said Assembly Member James Gallagher, R-Nicolaus, the author of Assembly Bill 311. “Once Water Bonds funds are allocated, the last thing we need are more delays. We must take action now to increase our storage capacity, and I am hopeful that the Legislature will listen to the voices of the many people who showed up at the State Capitol today to support expedited construction of these vital projects.”
“No civilized society seeks to destroy its own food supply or economic strengths, but that’s exactly where government water policies in California are headed,” said Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, of Modesto. “Californians are demanding action to increase water supply so farmers can grow their crops, businesses can thrive, people can get back to work and families can lead healthy lives. Passing this legislation is critical to protecting our local economies and our quality of life.”
During the rally, speakers talked about the importance of new water storage to increasing water supply in California. They noted that had the proposed Sites Reservoir in the North State been in place two years ago, 900,000 acre feet of new water could have been captured during that time. It is estimated that this would have been enough water to fill up a basketball arena 950 times.
Assembly Bill 311 (Gallagher) would streamline the environmental review process for the Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat water storage projects, thereby moving them out of government bureaucracy and into construction more quickly. The bill will be voted on in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Monday afternoon.
Although the California Water Commission is unable to release Prop. 1 storage funds until December 2016, Gallagher’s bill will ensure a more speedy construction timeline once funds become available. In 2013, the Legislature passed a similar bill to expedite the construction of a new sports arena in Downtown Sacramento.
The ongoing drought is hurting Californians. It is estimated that over 17,000 people have lost their jobs and the State has suffered $2.2 billion in economic damage as a result of the drought.
AB 311 is part of the Assembly Republican #GrowTogetherCA legislative package, which focuses on addressing the State’s critical infrastructure needs, like water, in order to spur economic growth.
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