Trump Administration Sues California over Bay-Delta Plan

Delta TunnelsThe Trump administration sued California’s State Water Resourced Control Board (SWRCB) in federal court in Sacramento on Thursday, escalating a legal war over the fate of the water in the San Joaquin River valley system.

The San Joaquin River and its tributaries provide crucial water supplies to farming communities in the Central Valley — and also provide the vast majority of the drinking water supply to San Francisco and surrounding areas.

However, environmentalists, fishing interests, and Native American communities have claimed that overuse of the river system’s waters has resulted in a steep decline in native fish populations in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta.

Last December, the SWRCB approved a controversial plan that would require the San Joaquin River and its tributaries to maintain an average of 40% of “unimpeded flow,” i.e. the flow that would exist in the river system without human activity, for the late winter and spring months of February through June.

Environmentalists argued the plan does not go far enough, saying 60% of unimpeded flow would have been necessary to make a real difference in boosting fish populations. Farmers countered that other factors are affecting fish populations, including predation by non-native fish species in the Delta.

The board approved the plan despite efforts by then-Governor Jerry Brown and incoming Governor Gavin Newsom to broker voluntary water conservation agreements between the state and the local water districts that would involve fewer restrictions. The Trump administration was also critical of the plan, and Republicans urged the administration to block it.

Once the plan was approved, the various water users — rural and urban — filed dozens of lawsuits. And one of Newsom’s first acts as governor was to replace the SWRCB’s chair, Felicia Marcus, an environmental attorney.

Now the U.S. Department of the Interior has joined the fray. The Sacramento Bee notes: “The lawsuit …  says the state water board’s plan would violate California’s own environmental laws, as well as foul up the federal government’s ability to deliver water from New Melones reservoir on the Stanislaus River to member agencies of the Central Valley Project.”

The legal fights are likely to go on for years unless a comprehensive set of voluntary agreements can be reached.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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Gov. Brown Sets Record of 1,018 Pardons in 8 Years

Photo courtesy Steve Rhodes, flickr

Photo courtesy Steve Rhodes, flickr

California Gov. Jerry Brown used his executive powers to issue 36 gubernatorial pardons on Friday, to hit a record of 1,018 pardons in eight years in office.

Although 22 of those were for murder and 13 for attempted murder or manslaughter, Brown said each of the pardons he provided went to individuals that had had “demonstrated exemplary behavior” and lived “productive and law-abiding lives” following their convictions and time served in prison, according to the Fresno Bee.

CalMatters reported that by Brown’s sixth year as governor in 2016, he had already forgiven 850 felons, more than California governors combined in the prior three decades. Combined with the 132 in 2017 and 36 so far this year, Brown has already issued 1,018 pardons. The governor is also expected to add to the total before leaving office, with his tradition of granting executive clemencies on Christmas Eve.

At least there of the governor’s August pardons were for legal Cambodian refugees facing deportation for committing violent felonies. The Democrat governor moved in December to grant pardons to two other Cambodian men picked up in October immigration sweeps in Modesto and Davis, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The pardons have been described as acts of mercy to frustrate the Trump administration’s efforts to detain and deport immigrants with felony convictions that by law can result in the loss of legal residency status. …

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Senator Moorlach Cautions Majority Party on the Costs of the Holder Hire

attorney-general-eric-holderSACRAMENTO – Senator John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, provided the following statement regarding the legislative Democrats’ decision to hire former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as their next line of defense against the incoming Trump Administration.

“If the majority party continues to poke President-elect Trump with a short stick, then they better be prepared with a Plan B. And, as far as I can tell, there is no alternative plan should these combative moves not be received well by the incoming Trump Administration.

“We cannot and must not jeopardize Federal funding to our state, counties and cities. They cannot afford it, especially with increasing pensions costs at the door.”

The above statement was sent out in a press release from the office of state Sen. John Moorlach.