[env-trinity] AP News- Feds: Calif. water crisis isn't Washington's fault

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Fri Sep 4 11:25:40 PDT 2009


http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g3dGm4ERH7MBw69suqcXcfqDAvpAD9AG6PKO1

Feds: Calif. water crisis isn't Washington's fault
By GARANCE BURKE (AP) - 16 hours ago

FRESNO, Calif. - Top Obama administration officials took California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to task Thursday for blaming the state's water crisis on federal environmental restrictions.

The governor sent a letter to Washington on Wednesday demanding a response to "catastrophic impacts" he said were caused by federal environmental rules that have slashed water deliveries.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke countered that a three-year drought is responsible for most of the state's water shortages, not agency scientists.

A Schwarzenegger spokesman said the governor's office was reviewing the secretaries' written response.

Tight water supplies have caused cities throughout the state to ration supplies and farmers to abandon a quarter-million acres of croplands.

The state's failure to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the freshwater estuary that forms the heart of the state's outdated water delivery system, has only compounded the problem, the secretaries said.

"We are disappointed that your letter would attempt to lay the California water crisis at the feet of agency scientists," the letter read. "You can be assured that the federal government will be a full partner to help implement any comprehensive plan that the state enacts into law."

The officials also said they were open to independent scientific reviews of the restrictions, which were designed to protect fish native to the delta, the main conduit for shipping water from north to south.

Federal water managers also have expressed support for exploring environmental problems caused by wastewater discharges from cities, another source of threats to salmon and other fish that rely on the delta for their habitat.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 
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