Sen Dianne Feinstein’s fishy water deal

SF Chronicle – Monday, February 15, 2010

Sen. Dianne Feinstein should drop her end-run bid to ship delta water south for farming. Her plan defies court rulings, endangered-species protections and scientific studies.

The water grab disrupts years of negotiations over balancing the state’s needs by rewarding one group – drought-stricken farmers – at the expense of fishing and environmental groups, also living with declining water supplies. Worse yet, Feinstein’s action short-circuits a study she ordered up by the National Academy of Sciences on river-flow rules designed to safeguard smelt and salmon.

The senator was at pains to explain that her idea is only in draft form, suggesting that it may be a negotiating tactic. She’s plainly frustrated over limits on water usage, given a heavy Sierra snowpack, rivers filled by winter storms and record jobless levels in the Central Valley. It’s an approach she took last year when she pushed for the study of water policy, due this spring…

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