Trump Wants to Cut Red Tape, Hasten Water Projects in West - NBC 7 San Diego
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Trump Wants to Cut Red Tape, Hasten Water Projects in West

The arid West relies on federally funded water projects to irrigate crops and supply cities

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Trump Wants to Cut Red Tape, Hasten Water Projects in West
    AP
    President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony to sign a "Presidential Memorandum Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West," Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, in Scottsdale, Ariz.

    President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the government to speed up environmental reviews and streamline regulations that he says are hindering work on major water projects in California and other Western states.

    Trump signed a memorandum aimed at helping the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project in California, the Klamath Irrigation Project in Oregon and California and the Columbia River Basin system in the Pacific Northwest.

    "We will resolve the issues blocking the completion of the Central Valley project," Trump said in Arizona during a swing through Western states. "I hope you enjoy the water that you're going to have."

    The Central Valley Project is a federally managed water storage and delivery system that primarily benefits agricultural users in California's rich farming country in the center of the state.

    Trump Delays Tariffs on China Under Pressure From Retailers

    [NATL] Trump Delays Tariffs on China Under Pressure From Retailers

    The Trump Administration held off the last round of tariffs against Chinese goods under pressure from retailers concerned about holiday sales. 

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019)

    The State Water Project serves agricultural and urban water users, including Los Angeles and much of sprawling Southern California.

    The announcement is a boost for endangered Republican lawmakers in California's Central Valley facing tough challenges from Democrats looking to take control of the U.S. House.

    But it is likely to inflame an ongoing battle in California over divvying up water between cities, farms and environmental needs like the protection of fish.

    Farming interests have long pushed to raise Shasta Dam, which holds back California's largest reservoir as part of the Central Valley Project, by more than 18 feet (5.5 meters). The project is opposed by environmentalists who say it would harm threatened fish species and by the Winnemem Wintu tribe, which says it would flood sacred sites.

    Several other dams are proposed including Sites Reservoir near Sacramento and Temperance Flat Dam north of Fresno.

    "This order stems from ignorance and election year pandering to wealthy Central Valley agribusiness interests," said John Buse, legal director with the Center for Biological Diversity.

    Trump Says There Is GOP Support for More ‘Intelligent’ Background Checks

    [NATL] Trump Says There Is GOP Support for More ‘Intelligent’ Background Checks

    On Thursday, President Trump stated that he has the support of GOP members, including Mitch McConnell, to implement more ‘intelligent’ background checks for gun owners.

    (Published Friday, Aug. 9, 2019)

    Buse said Trump does not understand complex water issues and ignores the need to protect the environment as well as farming and cities.

    "Trump's view that water is wasted if not used by agriculture or urban users is just idiotic," he said.

    Among other things, Trump's memorandum orders separate federal agencies to consolidate their environmental reviews of California water projects and the Klamath Irrigation Project.

    Democratic Candidates Flock to Iowa State Fair

    [NATL] Democratic Candidates Flock to Iowa State Fair

    Every four years, the Iowa State Fair gets special visitors, who have their eye on the Iowa caucuses six months after the summer event. 

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019)

    "From our standpoint, it's really encouraging and we feel like we're being listened to," said Dan Keppen, executive director of the Family Farm Alliance in Klamath, Oregon.

    Trump also set a 2020 deadline to finish an environmental review underway in the Columbia River Basin.

    The president has long promised to boost water deliveries to California farmers, who have struggled to get by with less during years of drought.

    Puerto Rico Swears in Wanda Vázquez as New Governor

    [NATL] Puerto Rico Swears in Wanda Vázquez as New Governor

    Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez was sworn in as governor of the island Wednesday.

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019)

    "Today's action might be the most significant action taken by a president on Western water issues in my lifetime," said Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. He said Trump is making good on his promise to take a "more coordinated and thoughtful approach" to managing water while eliminating what he called unneeded burdens.

    The memorandum also called for better use of technology in forecasting water supplies and hydropower production, and for exploring desalinization and water recycling.