Ag Today March 13, 2019

Water wars: Imperial Valley is being cut out of western US drought plan [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

The Imperial Irrigation District is being written out of a massive, multi-state Colorado River drought plan at the eleventh hour. IID could sue to try to stop the revised plan from proceeding, and its board president called the latest development a violation of California environmental law. But Metropolitan Water District of Southern California general manager Jeffrey Kightlinger disagreed, and said Tuesday that attorneys for his agency, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and others in a working group are finalizing new documents to remove IID from the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan.


Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to discuss requirements of next Ag Order [Santa Maria Times]

Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board staff plans to recommend the next Agricultural Order be developed as a waste discharge requirement rather than a waiver of discharge requirements that previous orders have been. The recommendation is included in a report on the preparation of Agricultural Order 4.0 to be delivered to the Water Board when it meets March 20 through 22 in Salinas and Watsonville….Agricultural Orders regulate the amount of contaminants allowed in water discharged from irrigated agricultural operations, establish monitoring and reporting requirements and provide methods of achieving compliance.


After PG&E bankruptcy, Potter Valley Project’s future uncertain [Eureka Times-Standard]

…For more than 100 years, the Potter Valley Project has seen Eel River water directed to the headwaters of the Russian River, providing water and power to thousands of Potter Valley residents. But researchers and scientists say the diversion has threatened fish populations, including the Chinook salmon and the Northern pikeminnow….Janet Pauli, chair of the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, said at the meeting that Mendocino County agencies had closed in on acquiring the project from PG&E just days before the utility announced it would withdraw its project license altogether. “There are several issues that face us in the Russian River, including water supply,” Pauli said.


Opinion: Dam removal report sparks hope for Klamath Basin Ag [Klamath Falls Herald and News]

It may be a unique situation when a dam removal might mean more water for farmers instead of less, but the Klamath Basin is a unique place. A report released last summer by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) is leading more and more Basin farmers and ranchers to believe that dam removal may have something big to offer those who rely on irrigation water from Upper Klamath Lake. Dam removal could free up more water and that has some farmers cheering the efforts of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), the organization tasked with undamming the Klamath River.


U.S.-China trade deal is getting closer, Lighthizer says [Wall Street Journal]

Negotiations to settle the trade battle between the U.S. and China are intensifying, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a Senate panel Tuesday, with both sides holding frequent talks aiming to clear the last stumbling blocks….Mr. Lighthizer didn’t provide many new details on the pact Tuesday and cautioned a potential deal could fall apart. He said the U.S. wants China to provide better enforcement of intellectual property; end forced technology transfer, where companies must provide strategic know-how to a Chinese entity to enter the market; reduce subsidies for state-owned firms; and open markets in China to U.S. agriculture and services.


EPA rules on issue pitting oil producers, corn farmers [Associated Press]

The Trump administration is proposing to allow year-round sales of gasoline mixed with 15 percent ethanol, seeking to calm a dispute that has riled two politically important blocs — the oil industry and corn farmers. Tuesday’s proposed rule change by the Environmental Protection Agency would fulfill a pledge that President Donald Trump made to U.S. corn farmers, for whom ethanol is an important driver of demand for their crops….Tuesday’s proposal would allow sale of fuel mixed with a higher blend of ethanol year-round, ending a summertime ban imposed out of concerns for increased smog from the higher ethanol blend.