Congress seeks species law changes after grizzly hunt barred [Associated Press]
Galvanized by court rulings protecting grizzly bears and gray wolves, Congressional Republicans on Wednesday pushed sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act despite strong objections from Democrats and wildlife advocates who called the effort a “wildlife extinction package.” Republicans began with a morning vote in the House Natural Resource Committee to strip protections from gray wolves across the contiguous U.S….Later Wednesday, lawmakers took up changes to the endangered species law itself, with a suite of bills that supporters said would make the law work better and eliminate obstacles to economic progress.
Japan’s embrace of bilateral trade talks with U.S. spares it from tariffs [New York Times]
When Japan agreed to enter into bilateral trade talks with the United States during meetings at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, the country’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, appeared to have finally said “yes” after two years of saying “no.” Japan has consistently insisted it was not interested in entering into bilateral trade negotiations with the United States. Instead, it has repeatedly invited the United States to re-enter a broad trade pact among 11 countries from which President Trump withdrew during his first week in office….Yet by agreeing to open the talks, Japan received a reprieve from the looming auto tariffs as long as the talks continue. And American officials also accepted Japan’s insistence that it would not go any further than its previous commitments in the multilateral trade deal — known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership — to open up its markets for agricultural and forestry imports from the United States.
Huffman bill assuring 20-year leases for Point Reyes ranchers clears House [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]
Cattle ranchers would be assured a lengthy future in Point Reyes National Seashore under a bill written by Rep. Jared Huffman that was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives, with environmental groups divided over the issue. The bill by Huffman, a San Rafael Democrat known for his environmental politics, would require the Secretary of Interior to issue 20-year permits to the long-standing family-operated beef and dairy ranches in the scenic Marin County seashore managed by the National Park Service….Ranchers say they need long-term permits to justify investment in their operations.
IID pushing forward on plan to place additional water in Lake Mead [Imperial Valley Press]
The Imperial Irrigation District is moving forward with plans to finalize a drought contingency plan that would ensure enough water remains in the Colorado River to support area residents and agricultural operations if an ongoing drought worsens through 2020….The river and its tributaries serve about 40 million people and 6,300 square miles of farmland in Mexico and the U.S. states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah, according to the Associated Press.
SLO County claims a victory in ongoing legal battle with landowners over water rights [San Luis Obispo Tribune]
A jury this week affirmed that public water suppliers in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin have established rights to use underground water supplies consistent with historical practice even during times of shortage, San Luis Obispo County officials said in a news release….The question arose from a quiet title lawsuit filed nearly five years ago by a group of landowners who argued that their overlying groundwater rights and right to continue pumping from the basin is equal or superior to the rights of the county and other governmental entities that also pump from the basin.
Opinion: Proposition 3 provides needed funds to improve Valley’s water infrastructure [Fresno Bee]
Imagine the Silicon Valley without technology or Hollywood without the entertainment industry. Just as those areas depend on their foundations for prosperity, our ability to capture, move and store water for agriculture is a determining factor for our region’s prosperity….On the Nov. 6 ballot, California voters can act to keep our Valley sustainable by passing Proposition 3, the Water Supply and Water Quality Act. The initiative provides nearly $750 million to help improve the Friant-Kern Canal and rebuild other vital water delivery features and arteries. This is the first time that a statewide initiative has focused investment directly within the Valley. Proposition 3 has the support of Democrats, Republicans, environmentalists, business, environmental justice advocates, and nonprofits across the state. For too long, statewide investment in Valley infrastructure has been ignored.