[env-trinity] Trump's One Alpha Dog Memo

Kier Associates kierassociates at att.net
Sat Oct 20 08:44:52 PDT 2018


The essence of the Trumpster’s 19 October ‘Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West’ (pasted in below) can be found in the middle of pg 2 ‘(a) Within 30 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall: ..  (ii) for each such project, work together to facilitate the designation of one official [emphasis added] to coordinate the agencies’ ESA and NEPA compliance responsibilities.’

 

‘One official’ to coordinate the responsibilities of the regulated and the regulator

 

Let’s see - how many Reclamation projects do you suppose will end up under the sole coordination of the National Marine Fisheries Service or the Fish & Wildlife Service? 

 

We know who gets to play Alpha Dog in conservative administrations

 

Bill Kier

From: env-trinity [mailto:env-trinity-bounces at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us] On Behalf Of Tom Stokely
Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2018 7:49 AM
To: Env-trinity
Subject: [env-trinity] Trump orders quicker environmental review of California water projects

 

The Order is inserted below the article.  TS

 

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-trump-water-20181019-story.html


Trump orders quicker environmental review of California water projects


 <http://www.latimes.com/la-bio-bettina-boxall-staff.html> 

 <http://www.latimes.com/la-bio-bettina-boxall-staff.html> Image removed by sender. Bettina Boxall

 

By  <http://www.latimes.com/la-bio-bettina-boxall-staff.html#nt=byline> BETTINA BOXALL

OCT 19, 2018 | 3:25 PM 

  

Image removed by sender. Trump orders quicker environmental review of California water projects

The intake channel at the C.W. "Bill" Jones Pumping Plant in Tracy. The federal plant sends water south to San Joaquin Valley farmers. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

President Trump on Friday directed federal agencies to speed up their environmental review of major water projects in California and to develop plans to suspend or revise regulations that hamper water deliveries.

The directive will have little immediate practical effect. But it comes a bit more than two weeks before a midterm election in which some Central Valley Republicans are in close races to hold on to their congressional seats.

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Railing against environmental regulations that have hurt water deliveries to the valley is a perennial GOP battle cry — and one that could give a political boost to Republican incumbents. But the presidential memo also illustrates the legal constraints that prevent the federal government from single-handedly sending more water to San Joaquin Valley growers.

The memo sets 2019 deadlines for the U.S. Interior and Commerce departments to issue updated environmental rules that govern water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — the center of California’s sprawling water supply system.

The review of export limits under the Endangered Species Act started under the Obama administration, which signaled that the protections could grow more restrictive because populations of imperiled fish continue to plummet.

Federal biologists could retreat from that, loosening export limits when they issue the new rules next spring. But if they do, the action will inevitably be challenged in the courts, which blocked a similar effort by the George W. Bush administration.

California’s massive federal irrigation system, the Central Valley Project, must also adhere to state environmental regulations and water rights permits.

In tweets this summer, Trump echoed farmers’ protests that water flowing to the sea is wasted. In one tweet that was quickly condemned by state officials, Trump incorrectly claimed that water that had been “ <https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1026587142989008897?lang=en> diverted into the Pacific Ocean” was inhibiting efforts to fight Northern California wildfires.

The Trump administration signaled that it was wading into California water politics in August.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke ordered the Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees the Central Valley Project, and other Interior agencies to develop an “initial plan of action” that would — among other things — maximize water deliveries, streamline federal environmental reviews of project operations and prepare “legislative and litigation measures” to increase deliveries.

The efforts have been led by Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former partner in one of the nation’s top-grossing lobbying law firms, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. There, he represented the politically influential Westlands Water District, which would be among the chief beneficiaries of improved deliveries to south-of-delta Central Valley Project customers.

In a briefing on Friday’s directive, Bernhardt said it could be the single most significant action a president has taken on Western water in his lifetime.

The memo, which Trump signed on a trip to Arizona, also sets a 2019 deadline for environmental reviews of the Klamath Project, which delivers water for irrigation in Oregon and Northern California.

Five Republican congressmen from the Central Valley — House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy, David Valadao, Devin Nunes, Jeff Denham and Tom McClintock — watched as Trump signed the memo after a fundraising lunch in Scottsdale.

Trump then handed the pen to Nunes, who for years has introduced legislation attacking the federal Endangered Species Act. Several of his proposals have passed the House only to die in the Senate.

“This will move things along at a record clip,” Trump told the group. “And you’ll have a lot of water. I hope you’ll enjoy the water you’ll have.”

McCarthy, casting the signing as another promise kept by Trump, said the order could increase deliveries to the Central Valley by more than a million acre-feet. He gave no details as to how.

Three valley Republicans are facing serious challengers, although Denham, of Turlock, is the only incumbent polling behind his Democratic challenger. Josh Harder, a former venture capitalist, has a 5-point lead among likely voters in California’s 10th Congressional District,  <http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-me-pol-berkeley-la-times-poll-20181004-story.html> according to a recent poll conducted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. The race is listed as a “Republican toss-up” by the nonpartisan political handicapper Cook Political Report.

As water exports from the delta increased in recent decades, populations of migrating salmon and delta smelt — a finger-sized fish found only in the delta — plummeted. That has triggered endangered species protections under state and federal law that periodically limit the intake of the government pumping plants that divert supplies to San Joaquin Valley fields and Southland cities.

State water quality standards also mandate that a certain level of fresh water flows through the delta to keep salt water from the San Francisco Bay away from the delta pumps.

Legal experts say that any attempts by the Trump administration to skirt state environmental regulations could run afoul of a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case that pitted California against the Central Valley Project.

The high court found that, under the 1902 Reclamation Act, federal irrigation projects in the West must conform to state laws.

Kate Poole, an attorney with the environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council, has waged numerous legal battles to uphold Endangered Species Act protections in the delta. She saw more politics than policy in the memo.

“We cannot comment on campaign stunts,” she said after reviewing Trump’s directive.

Times staff writer Maya Sweedler contributed to this report.

3:25 p.m.: This article was updated with details of the signing, Central Valley congressional races, and a comment from environmental attorney Kate Poole.

 

 

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 19, 2018

 

October 19, 2018

 

 

 

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR

THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY

THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY

THE CHAIR OF THE COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

 

SUBJECT:        Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West

 

 

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:

 

      Section 1.  Policy.  During the 20th Century, the Federal Government invested enormous resources in water infrastructure throughout the western United States to reduce flood risks to communities; to provide reliable water supplies for farms, families, businesses, and fish and wildlife; and to generate dependable hydropower.  Decades of uncoordinated, piecemeal regulatory actions have diminished the ability of our Federal infrastructure, however, to deliver water and power in an efficient, cost‑effective way.

 

      Unless addressed, fragmented regulation of water infrastructure will continue to produce inefficiencies, unnecessary burdens, and conflict among the Federal Government, States, tribes, and local public agencies that deliver water to their citizenry.  To meet these challenges, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce should, to the extent permitted by law, work together to minimize unnecessary regulatory burdens and foster more efficient decision-making so that water projects are better able to meet the demands of their authorized purposes.

 

      Sec. 2.  Streamlining Western Water Infrastructure Regulatory Processes and Removing Unnecessary Burdens.  To address water infrastructure challenges in the western United States, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall undertake the following actions:

 

      (a)  Within 30 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall:

 

(i)   identify major water infrastructure projects in California for which the Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce have joint responsibility under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) (Public Law 93-205) or individual responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (Public Law 91-190); and

 

(ii)  for each such project, work together to facilitate the designation of one official to coordinate the agencies' ESA and NEPA compliance responsibilities.  Within the 30-day time period provided by this subsection, the designated official shall also identify regulations and procedures that potentially burden the project and develop a proposed plan, for consideration by the Secretaries, to appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind any regulations or procedures that unduly burden the project beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law.  For purposes of this memorandum, "burden" means to unnecessarily obstruct, delay, curtail, impede, or otherwise impose significant costs on the permitting, utilization, transmission, delivery, or supply of water resources and infrastructure.

 

      (b)  Within 40 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall develop a timeline for completing applicable environmental compliance requirements for projects identified under section 2(a)(i) of this memorandum.  Environmental compliance requirements shall be completed as expeditiously as possible, and in accordance with applicable law.

 

      (c)  To the maximum extent practicable and consistent with applicable law, including the authorities granted to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (Public Law 114-322):

 

           (i)    The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall ensure that the ongoing review of the long-term coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project is completed and an updated Plan of Operations and Record of Decision is issued.

 

           (ii)   The Secretary of the Interior shall issue final biological assessments for the long-term coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project not later than January 31, 2019.

 

           (iii)  The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall ensure the issuance of their respective final biological opinions for the long-term coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project within 135 days of the deadline provided in section 2(c)(ii) of this memorandum.  To the extent practicable and consistent with law, these shall be joint opinions.

 

           (iv)   The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall complete the joint consultation presently underway for the Klamath Irrigation Project by August 2019.

 

      (d)  The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall provide monthly updates to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality and other components of the Executive Office of the President, as appropriate, regarding progress in meeting the established timelines.

 

      Sec. 3.  Improve Forecasts of Water Availability.  To facilitate greater use of forecast-based management and use of authorities and capabilities provided by the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-25) and other applicable laws, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce shall convene water experts and resource managers to develop an action plan to improve the information and modeling capabilities related to water availability and water infrastructure projects.  The action plan shall be completed by January 2019 and submitted to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.

 

      Sec. 4.  Improving Use of Technology to Increase Water Reliability.  To the maximum extent practicable, and pursuant to the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act (Public Law 102-575, title XVI), the Water Desalination Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-298), and other applicable laws, the Secretary of the Interior shall direct appropriate bureaus to promote the expanded use of technology for improving the accuracy and reliability of water and power deliveries.  This promotion of expanded use should include:

 

      (a)  investment in technology and reduction of regulatory burdens to enable broader scale deployment of desalination technology;

 

      (b)  investment in technology and reduction of regulatory burdens to enable broader scale use of recycled water; and

 

      (c)  investment in programs that promote and encourage innovation, research, and development of technology that improve water management, using best available science through real-time monitoring of wildlife and water deliveries.

 

      Sec. 5.  Consideration of Locally Developed Plans in Hydroelectric Projects Licensing.  To the extent the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce participate in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensing activities for hydroelectric projects, and to the extent permitted by law, the Secretaries shall give appropriate consideration to any relevant information available to them in locally developed plans, where consistent with the best available information.

 

      Sec. 6.  Streamlining Regulatory Processes and Removing Unnecessary Burdens on the Columbia River Basin Water Infrastructure.  In order to address water and hydropower operations challenges in the Columbia River Basin, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Energy, and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works under the direction of the Secretary of the Army, shall develop a schedule to complete the Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement and the associated Biological Opinion due by 2020.  The schedule shall be submitted to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality within 60 days of the date of this memorandum.

 

      Sec. 7.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

 

           (i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

 

           (ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

 

      (b)  This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

 

      (c)  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

 

      (d)  The Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

 

 

 

                                 DONALD J. TRUMP

 

 

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