WG staff in Sacramento have learned that the California Legislature's Conference Committee on the Budget will consider proposals to require the hiring of additional staff for enforcement of nitrate contamination issues. It is being discussed that the State Water Resources Control Board hire seven new positions to increase oversight and enforcement on agricultural wastewater discharges to address issues associated with nitrate-contaminated groundwater, and seven new positions be added to the Department of Food and Agriculture to understand groundwater nitrate contamination.
WG believes the Assembly language could require ag to pay for these 14 new positions, which equals $2.2 million in new fees. Western Growers and agricultural community allies are strongly opposing this trailer bill language. Assembly leadership is hiding the proposal from stakeholders and the public even though the conference committee is expected to finish its work and produce a budget conference report this week. WG has taken the lead in writing a coalition letter to the conferees and the Governor’s office, and agriculture industry representatives have been meeting with legislators and the Governor’s staff.
For more information, contact WG’s Gail Delihant (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 916-446-1435.
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