Ag Today February 20, 2019
California Democrats taking action by asking for more water to be allocated to farmers [KSEE - TV, Fresno]
The Sierra is packed with snow because of the recent storms. Now, local farmers are hoping the bounty of water will make it's way to the valley. Democratic representative T.J. Cox, Jim Costa, joined senator Feinstein to send a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation asking that recent snowfall be taken into account when allocations are announced….Dusty Ference is the Executive Director of the Kings County Farm Bureau…."Current rain fall post February first and snow is included in those numbers," said Ference. "It...
Ag Today February 19, 2019
Is the gas tax putting California's most valuable resource in jeopardy? [KSEE TV, Fresno]
One of the most hotly debated and controversial ballot measures – Proposition 6 – was voted down in November, giving the green light for California’s gas tax....But the backbone of the Central Valley, our farmers, are feeling the pinch at the pumps even more than other Californians, two prominent Valley farmers telling me the gas tax is the beginning of the end for the Valley's most precious commodity. Paul Betancourt has been farming in Kerman for nearly four decades....He says the extra 19-cent tax per gallon for...
Ag Today February 15, 2019
In Roundup case, the science will go on trial first [Wall Street Journal]
In a San Francisco courtroom this month, a jury will be asked to weigh a complicated question: Did Roundup weedkiller cause a man’s cancer?...But unlike in a prior trial brought against the herbicide’s maker, Bayer AG, the jurors won’t simultaneously hear allegations that the company hid dangers about its product from the public. Instead, they’ll take part in an unusual split trial focused first on the science, and then, only if they find the plaintiff’s claims valid, on the question of negligence….The approach is the latest attempt by...
Ag Today February 14, 2019
Newsom signs bill to provide $131.3 million in emergency relief, including safe water [Fresno Bee]
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed his first bill, which will provide $131.3 million in immediate relief from the state’s general fund for emergencies such as a lack of clean drinking water, while surrounded by children at a Parlier elementary school – all of whom must drink from water bottles due to unsafe drinking fountains….Newsom also met with local mayors and agricultural leaders later Wednesday afternoon to discuss water, high-speed rail and other issues before returning to Sacramento. He then traveled to Fresno State for a forum with...
Ag Today February 13, 2019
California Gov. Gavin Newsom downsizes Delta water project: one tunnel, not two [Sacramento Bee]
Gov. Gavin Newsom, diving into one of California’s most contentious water issues, said Tuesday he wants to downsize the Delta tunnels project. The Democratic governor also set out to overhaul state water policy by naming a new chair of the state’s water board. Newsom said he wants the twin-tunnel project — designed to re-engineer the troubled estuary that serves as the hub of California’s elaborate water-delivery system — reduced to a single tunnel....Newsom also attempted to strike a more centrist tone on water policy in general, saying...
Ag Today February 12, 2019
Top leader at Interior Dept. pushes a policy favoring his former client [New York Times]
As a lobbyist and lawyer, David Bernhardt fought for years on behalf of a group of California farmers to weaken Endangered Species Act protections for a finger-size fish, the delta smelt, to gain access to irrigation water. As a top official since 2017 at the Interior Department, Mr. Bernhardt has been finishing the job: He is working to strip away the rules the farmers had hired him to oppose. Last week President Trump said he would nominate Mr. Bernhardt to lead the Interior Department, making him...
Ag Today February 11, 2019
They’re big, furry and could destroy the Delta. California has a $2 million plan to kill them [Sacramento Bee]
California’s San Joaquin River Delta is in danger of being overrun by voracious beagle-sized rodents. The state has a plan to deal with them, but it’s going to take a lot of time and money….“Based on what is known about nutria and their current reproductive rate and distribution, without immediate action, nutria will rapidly expand their numbers and geographic presence and cause extensive damage to wetlands, riparian habitat, restoration projects, levees, water conveyance and flood-protection infrastructure, and agriculture,” according to a memo...
Ag Today February 8, 2019
Californians with bad water ask for help while opposition mounts to Newsom’s proposed tax [Sacramento Bee]
Californians with unhealthy drinking water pleaded for help from lawmakers this week but opposition quickly developed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to pay for system improvements with a new fee….Monning’s proposal included a 95 cent monthly tax on residential customers, along with other fees attached to fertilizer purchases and dairy and feedlot production….But some advocates aren’t convinced that a tax is the best way to address the state’s clean water crisis. “Why create a new tax when you have a huge budget surplus?” says Cindy...
Ag Today February 7, 2019
EPA wins new chance to argue against pesticide ban [Reuters]
The Trump administration has persuaded a U.S. appeals court to reconsider its recent decision ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the widely-used pesticide chlorpyrifos, which critics say can harm children and farmers. In an order on Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it will again review former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s March 2017 refusal to ban chlorpyrifos for use on food crops such as fruits, vegetables and nuts….The appeals court had, in a 2-1 decision last Aug. 9, directed the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos within 60 days.
Ag Today February 6, 2019
Lawsuits from Central Valley, Bay Area keep state ‘water grab’ tied up in courts [Modesto Bee]
An assortment of groups, from a leading farming organization to a water supplier for Silicon Valley, joined the legal fray in courts over the State Water Board decision in December to reduce water diversions for farms and cities from the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers. Monday, the California Farm Bureau Federation said it filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court, charging the water board’s plan misrepresents and underestimates the impacts on Central Valley agriculture, which is the lifeblood of local communities. The plan would require...