In a visit that included stops along the river and ended with a roundtable discussion at Jacob Myers Park, U.S. Representative Jeff Denham brought the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator to the Central Valley on Thursday, Oct. 11 to see firsthand the devastation that Sacramento’s planned water grab would have on communities, farms and the economy. Denham and Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler visited weir traps on the Stanislaus River, hosted a field hearing with irrigation districts in Riverbank, and met with the local agriculture leaders at Stanislaus County Farm Bureau in Modesto.
“I’m fighting to protect the Central Valley from Sacramento’s water grab and save our farms and communities,” said Rep. Denham. “I will continue to bring the administration here to see firsthand the damage this plan would have.”
After the tour of the weir traps, Denham and Wheeler sat down with representatives from several irrigation districts, farmers and agribusinesses at the Jacob Myers Park pavilion. The meeting was not open to the press; the congressman and Acting EPA Administrator were available briefly for questions from the media following the field hearing/roundtable discussion.
“EPA is working closely with California’s farmers and landowners to help protect their valuable water resources and provide them greater certainty with respect to where federal jurisdiction begins and ends,” said Acting Administrator Wheeler. “Hearing directly from Californians and our Region 9 EPA staff is vital to our efforts to protect the public health, environment, and natural resources of this unique and beautiful region of our country.”
The EPA has authority under the Clean Water Act to stop Sacramento’s radical water grab. Opponents of the ‘grab’ contend that the state’s plan fails to meet Clean Water Act’s “sound, rigorous” science standards for flow criteria, and the EPA commented on the last version of this plan, telling the State Water Resources Control Board that the science supporting Phase I of the Water Quality Control Plan for the Bay-Delta is deficient. Last month, Rep. Denham, along with Reps. Jim Costa (CA-16) and Tom McClintock (CA-04), sent a letter to the EPA asking them to enforce the Clean Water Act’s requirement.
Denham also recently sent a letter to the White House requesting the president take immediate action to stop Sacramento and has secured the support of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in combatting the state’s Bay-Delta plan.
Denham represents California’s 10th congressional district, which includes Stanislaus County and a portion of San Joaquin County.