President Trump’s nominee for the No. 2 position in the U.S. Department of the Interior found himself caught in a partisan, California-focused crossfire at his Senate confirmation committee hearing Thursday.
When President Trump nominated David Bernhardt for the No. 2 spot at the Interior Department, the administration cited his extensive expertise. … The web of potential conflicts of interest is likely to be a major focus of Bernhardt’s confirmation hearing Thursday before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
If there’s a silver lining to the toxic cloud hovering over the White House, it’s that our science-denying president hasn’t caused too much damage to the environment. Yet. … With help from Congress, President Trump rescinded an Obama administration rule that would have limited what coal mining operations could dump into waterways.
The Trump administration’s talk of slashing environmental programs in fiscal year 2018 did not translate into big cuts in a 2017 spending agreement negotiated by Congress. President Trump signed a budget deal on May 5 that keeps the government operating through September 30. Notably, the agreement does not include huge cuts to water and environment programs — elimination of rural water grants, for instance, or a one-third cut to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — that the president targeted in his 2018 budget proposal.
Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators are negotiating a new water bond that would go before voters in November. If negotiations break down in the next few weeks – and we hope they don’t – voters would decide on a flawed $11 billion water bond crafted in 2009.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for a drastically cheaper water bond set off a fresh round of negotiations in the Capitol on Wednesday, as lawmakers and stakeholders seek to craft a plan that addresses the state’s myriad water needs without a bloated price tag.
From U-T San Diego, in a column by Steven Greenhut:
Few issues are more important to the future of California than providing a reliable source of water for the state’s growing population. But despite the sense of urgency caused by this year’s particularly severe drought, legislators still aren’t sure exactly what to do about the problem.
Water bond politics look poised to dominate the remainder of California’s legislative session, with Senate leadership and Gov. Jerry Brown billions of dollars apart on the size of a revised water bond for the November 2014 ballot.
Gov. Jerry Brown told legislative leaders Tuesday that he wants a $6-billion water bond to be put before voters in November — a substantially lower price tag than proposals making their way through the Legislature.
The governor told legislative leaders in private meetings Tuesday that he opposes the existing water bond, which was negotiated by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers in 2009, and wants a $6 billion bond instead.
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by Gary Polakovic:
It’s been 40 years since the June 20, 1974, opening of “Chinatown,” the fictionalized drama about power, corruption and what is arguably L.A.’s most crucial resource: water. The iconic film was Hollywood’s make-believe version of an undying reality: In L.A., you have to follow the water.
From the PPIC Viewpoints blog, in a post by Emma Freeman and Ellen Hanak:
Much of the current water talk in Sacramento surrounds a new state water bond for the November ballot. Yet as we show in our study Paying for Water in California, most water spending—84 percent—is actually raised locally.
“Wielding two decades of Senate experience and sheer force of will, Sen. Dianne Feinstein overcame environmentalists’ objections and Republicans’ skepticism in pushing through a drought-relief bill that could ship more water to farms and cities and weaken protections for fish.”