From the Campaign Trail

posted Aug 26

Great news!  A Federal judge just rejected lawsuit by San Joaquin Valley irrigation groups.  The emergency cold water flows in the Trinity and Klamath will continue, and we will hopefully avoid an environmentally and economically devastating loss of salmon this year!

posted Aug 25

Here is my statement on the latest lawsuit filed by Westlands Water District to try and stop critically needed cold water flows for salmon in the Trinity and Klamath Rivers:  Here we go again.  As preposterous as it is for San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts to attempt to lay claim to Humboldt County’s desperately needed Trinity River water, it’s no surprise.  The Westlands Water District and their allies have been relentless in pursuing an agenda of stealing water from other regions and gutting vital protections for California’s economically and culturally vital salmon populations.  When courts or state and federal agencies uphold the laws that protect North Coast fisheries and the many people and jobs that depend on them, you can always expect a Westlands lawsuit—in addition to their never-ending lobbying in Washington and Sacramento and the constant drumbeat of distortions from their PR machine. The Department of Interior’s decision to make emergency releases of cold water from Trinity Lake to avoid an economically and environmentally devastating fish kill in the Trinity and lower Klamath Rivers is the right thing to do, and it will be upheld in court just as it was last year and the year before that.  This water does not belong to Westlands or the CVP.  As the Interior Department’s Solicitor acknowledged in a legal opinion last year, a 1955 Act of Congress and subsequent federal water contract guarantee Humboldt County and downstream water users the benefit of this water.  Our salmon fisheries are vital to the economy of the North Coast of California and to the traditions and subsistence needs of our native American tribes.  Releasing these cold water flows into the Trinity and lower Klamath Rivers will help prevent a potential disaster in the coming days.  The massive fish kill of 2002 should be a constant reminder of what happens when science, environmental laws and critical fishery requirements are ignored to placate powerful irrigation interests.  I commend the Interior Department for doing the right thing, following the law, and taking action to prevent a repeat of 2002.

posted Aug 23

For those wondering about my position on the Iran nuclear vote, please see the statement I made over a month ago when I laid out the process I would follow for this important decision.  I intend to honor process, and I think this important decision deserves it.  Here is my July 14 statement:  “I congratulate President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for completing the P5+1 negotiations and achieving a final proposed agreement to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Over the next several weeks, I look forward to reviewing the details of the agreement and becoming further informed through classified briefings, experts in the field, and considering the views and analyses of concerned stakeholders. I will carefully weigh all of this information and form my own judgments on whether the agreement adequately addresses the security interests of the United States and our allies, including, Israel in blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. I will compare the agreement against the realistic alternatives available to us if the agreement is rejected. I expect to take full advantage of the 60-day review period before deciding how to vote on this important matter. “I hope my colleagues in Congress share my commitment to fully considering the options before us. I’m disappointed, however, to see that even before the ink has dried—and before they could possibly have read the entire agreement and annexes—many of those who have long opposed a diplomatic solution with Iran, including many Republicans in Congress and the GOP presidential parade, are already attacking the proposed agreement in their usual blustering, hyperbolic manner. For too many, this issue has become an exercise in partisan posturing and warmongering, rather than a genuine attempt to resolve the threat of Iran’s nuclear program and avert another war. “The vote in Congress will be close. I hope the Iranian regime understands that undecided members of Congress will be watching Iran’s actions carefully over the next 60 days as judgments about the nuclear agreement are formed. While I will vote based on the merits of the agreement, Iran’s credibility and trustworthiness are also considerations. There is one very important action the Iranian regime can take to demonstrate its commitment to a new era of trust, goodwill and diplomacy with the international community:  they could release the five innocent, unjustly imprisoned Americans including my constituent Jason Rezaian, a journalist for the Washington Post. I call upon Iran to do this now. These Americans are innocent and should have been released long ago. Releasing them now would be an important gesture of goodwill as the nuclear agreement hangs in the balance.”

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