Statement by Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif:
“We have spent years working together to create a better water plan for our state’s future. Voter approval of the water bond was one important step, and the enactment of groundwater regulation legislation, while controversial, has been achieved. However, reliable water supplies for much of California will remain elusive without improvements to the Delta. The revisions to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan mark another important step in moving the project forward. We must continue this progress to protect California’s water security.”
Despite its passage in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week, HR 5781, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014, is not expected to be acted upon by the Senate, effectively ending hope of federal legislation impacting the current water year.
In an effort to avoid losing precious water in the 2015 water year (which started October 1), several California House Republicans, led by Congressman David Valadao, and bolstered by support from Democratic Congressman Jim Costa, introduced emergency legislation this week to provide short-term relief for California’s continuing water crisis.
Last week, Western Growers submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) criticizing their proposed regulations defining the waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The agencies requested public comments on the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that determine the range of waters that fall under the federal government’s jurisdiction.
California is still in drought conditions and experts say that almost regardless of what happens this winter, there will be water delivery challenges next year. In fact, precipitation and snowpack would have to come in at about 150 percent of normal before water deliveries could return to a more regular level.
A.G. Kawamura, owner and partner of Orange County Produce, L.L.C. and Western Growers Board Director, recently spoke at a local TEDx Orange Coast Conference taking on the notion that our national food system is broken and needs fixed. His speech entitled, “Food is a privilege, not a right,” takes on the critics who think that we need to change our views about food and agriculture.
Mark Stone was part of the huge freshman class that was elected to the State Assembly in 2012. Prior to that he was on the board of supervisors for Santa Cruz County and also served on the California Coastal Commission.
According to a press release issued by the EPA, a new active ingredient has been registered as an alternative to methyl bromide and other soil fumigants. Fluensulfone is a new class of chemistry to control nematodes and is being registered first for ground use on cucumbers, melons, squash, tomatoes, okra, eggplant and peppers (the Federal Register Notice is expected by September 19, 2014).