Rep. Susan Davis Opposes Bill to Weaken Endangered Species Act, Works to Provide Real Drought Relief

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Washington, DC, July 16, 2015 | comments

Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) opposed a so-called drought relief bill that wouldn’t create any new water but would weaken the Endangered Species Act, gut environmental protection laws, and put commercial fishing jobs at risk. The Western Water and American Food Security Act (H.R. 2898) has drawn opposition from a number of groups and President Obama has promised to veto the bill.

“There is no doubt that California is hurting from this drought,” said Davis. “However, I reject the notion that the only way to provide drought relief is to put endangered species at greater risk. We need bipartisanship not politics to bring drought relief and support to communities. Sadly, the bill before the House simply continues a fight that opponents of the Endangered Species Act have been waging for decades and framing it as drought relief.”

A myriad of Native American, environmental, and commercial and recreational fishing organizations – groups sometimes at odds with each other – have come together in opposing H.R. 2898 because it would:

  • Weaken the Endangered Species Act. The reduced protections of non-endangered fish species, risking fishing industry jobs, has prompted opposition from commercial fishing groups.
  • Limit environmental review of new dams and other surface water projects. Some projects would be completely exempt from the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Preempt state water laws and set a precedent of Congress picking and choosing who is worthy of water rights.

In response to the worst drought in California’s history, Davis is an original cosponsor of a comprehensive water bill in the House to upgrade California’s water infrastructure. Using the Reclamation Fund, which is flush with a $10 billion surplus, the Drought Relief and Resilience Act would fund wastewater-recycling projects, provide a $2,000 tax credit to homeowners for the purchase and installation of water-capturing systems, increase water use efficiency, and provide relief to farming communities.  

The bill does all this without reducing environmental protection laws.

Davis has also been leading efforts in San Diego to increase drinking water. She spearheaded a San Diego delegation letter in support of nearly $9 million in federal funding for the Sweetwater Authority to expand a desalination facility. 

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