Assemblyman Frank Bigelow

5th Assembly District

Saturday, August 30, 2014
Kirk Kimmelshue, 916-319-2005

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee Vice Chair Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, today joined Republican and Democrat lawmakers in sending a letter to Governor Jerry Brown urging him to veto controversial groundwater management legislation (Assembly Bill 1739 and Senate Bills 1168 and 1319).  The text of the letter is below:

August 29, 2014

Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol

Re: SB 1168 (Pavley), AB 1739 (Dickinson)
Dear Governor Brown:

We write to urge your veto of Senate Bills 1168 and 1319, and Assembly Bill 1739, related to groundwater.

The basic principles outlined by these bills and in your Water Action Plan have merit.  Like you, we are concerned about increasing conditions of overdraft in many groundwater basins, and the long-term effects of overdraft on access to groundwater, land subsidence, and other risks.  While the recent drought has exacerbated these conditions, some basins have been critically-overdrafted for decades.  In those circumstances, the threat of state intervention should be an option to motivate better local management.

However, the legislation before you punishes groundwater users in basins that have little or no overdraft or already have effective management efforts in place.  It will also infringe upon the right to groundwater, at a time when available water supplies are getting tighter.

We further object to the details of these proposals, most of which were not released to the public until the first week of August.  Three weeks is not enough time to fully consider and seek consensus on these numerous, substantial policy changes.   It took us nearly ten years to assemble the pieces of an historic water bond; we can take a least a few more months before enacting such sweeping, permanent changes to groundwater regulation.

In the coming years and decades, the authorities granted in this bill will radically alter the landscape of groundwater law.  That will have a de-stabilizing impact on those who depend on groundwater supplies, particularly in Northern and Central California, as evidenced by the virtually unanimous opposition of the agriculture community to these proposals.

We agree that it is time for a groundwater regulation that meets today’s needs, and we stand ready to assist your Administration in crafting a narrower, more effective measure focused on basins where real problems exist, encouraging them to implement management measures modeled by other regions, and providing new state authority to intervene where local management fails.

In furtherance of such efforts, we ask at this time for your vetoes of SB 1168 and 1319, and Assembly Bill 1739, and pledge our support in crafting an improved measure during the interim.  We also request that you call a Special Session of the Legislature on groundwater management when the Legislature returns in December.

Sincerely,

/s/

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway
Assembly Republican Leader-Elect Kristin Olsen
Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian
Assemblymember Travis Allen
Assemblymember Frank Bigelow
Assemblymember Rocky Chávez
Assemblymember Brian Dahle
Assemblymember Tim Donnelly
Assemblymember Steve Fox
Assemblymember Beth Gaines
Assemblymember Jeff Gorell
Assemblymember Adam Gray
Assemblymember Shannon Grove
Assemblymember Diane Harkey
Assemblymember Curt Hagman
Assemblymember Brian Jones
Assemblymember Eric Linder
Assemblymember Dan Logue
Assemblymember Allan Mansoor
Assemblymember Melissa Melendez
Assemblymember Rudy Salas
Assemblymember Donald P. Wagner
Assemblymember Marie Waldron
Assemblymember Scott Wilk
Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff
Senator Tom Berryhill
Senator Anthony Cannella
Senator Jean Fuller
Senator Ted Gaines
Senator Cathleen Galgiani
Senator Steve Knight
Senator Mike Morrell
Senator Jim Nielsen
Senator Mimi Walters
Senator Andy Vidak

Click here for a PDF version of the letter.

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