California Governor Jerry Brown ventured into farm country yesterday to help pitch his $14 billion plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. At the Colusa Farm Show, Brown addressed hundreds of farmers regarding the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a multi-species habitat and species protection plan that would feature twin tunnels under the Delta to help secure a reliable water supply for cities and farmers to the south and improve the Delta ecosystem by restoring more natural flow patterns in the Delta.
Brown urged his audience to keep an open mind on the project, while adding, “At the same time we have got to have protections for the counties of origin that have your rights.”
Brown vowed to protect the water rights of farmers, saying he would weigh all the options but did not intend to violate any of the historic water protections farmers have won, dating back to the 1800s.
“So it is very challenging, you have got southern California farmers; you have got people in the Delta who will fight it to the end. You have people in northern counties; you have got environmentalists that want to protect fishes that I didn’t even know existed 30 years ago. You know, the smelt now has more lobbyists today than I had back 30 years ago. So, the world gets more complicated and we need to do stuff. But, you know, I think we can get it done.”
During his speech, he addressed addition issues facing the state’s farmers.
“And I am going to do everything we can to deal with our water, our labor, working through all this regulatory stuff. Pesticides and nitrates. We have got a lot of issues, they’re different, but they are just as challenging.”
“So I want you to keep an open mind, I will come back again, we’ll talk about the issues. But the fact is, that we have to have (a water system) of reliability. And yes, we need storage and yes, we need a lot of things.”
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