California Legislators & Staff Work on Compromise Water Supply Legislation

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“Negotiations are ongoing on a bill which is meant to address problems of water supply in California,’ said a congressional staff. The drought which has hit the state hard for several years now is providing the motivation amid disputes over competing demands for municipal water, agriculture and water for fish, which include endangered species.

“All those who take part in the negotiations agree that something should be done,” one staffer reiterated.”Everything is moving towards the right direction now”.

Compromise language has been drafted for the people who take part, especially to address the challenges that are to be faced as a results of presence of politicians from different parties who express divergent views.

It is reported that some republican law makers have commenced reading the drafts and commenting on them.

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Lawmakers taking part in the negotiations have agreed not to disclose the content of their discussions and staffers have been asked to remain tight lipped on the same. The staffer talked to Bloomberg BNA and asked to remain anonymous.

“The hope is that a deal is to be struck soon, but there is no much time left in the legislative calendar before the elections that are slated to take place in November,” said a staffer.

He said that time pressure offers an alternative to use the senate, but this depends on a unanimous vote which takes a much shorter time than the normal senate procedures.

However, Boxer has been holding back, waiting for response about the official position which the government of president Obama will take regarding the issue. As of August 15, Obama administration had not declared a stand on this important matter.

The task to look for a compromise commenced early June after the senate decoded to use parliamentary procedures of unanimous consent to pass legislation about drought without the need for a committee action. Negotiators are trying to buy time and exercise caution in order to make Boxer go along with the deal.

Because of the amount of importance which the subject carries to the people of California, congress have been very much involved in the tedious negotiations

“The staff has been very well briefed about where to go,” said a staffer.

The staff would get almost all the work done, but the few challenges which would be faced can be resolved by a talk among the members. The work has been very cordial, with several phone calls being made everyday and a video conference once a week.

The discussion revolves on how much the legislation can revise the strategies for coping up with the environmental laws, especially for the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. These tend to become more complex especially when they involve the Bureau of Reclamation Management of water flows in rivers and dams.

Improved water storage is required in the state, but some opposition may be faced from environmental advocates who may be very much worried about the impacts which dams can have on water ecosystems.

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