Trump Wants to Cut Red Tape, Hasten Water Projects in West - NBC Bay Area
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 on Mueller Probe: ‘We Can Never Let This Happen to Another President’

    [NATL] Trump on Mueller Probe: ‘We Can Never Let This Happen to Another President’

    President Donald Trump addressed the media about the summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump presidential campaign during an Oval Office meeting with Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu Monday.

    (Published Monday, March 25, 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.

    AG Barr Says Mueller Probe Found No Russia Conspiracy

    [NATL] AG William Barr Says Mueller Probe Found No Russia Conspiracy

    House Democrats are calling for the release of the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller, after a four-page summary from Trump appointee Attorney General William Barr say Mueller's team found no evidence of conspiracy between Donald Trump and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election season. 

    (Published Monday, March 25, 2019)

    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.

    Barr Releases Statement on Findings in Mueller Investigation

    [NATL] Barr Releases Statement on Findings in Mueller Investigation

    Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 election determined that nobody from the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, according to a letter to Congress from Attorney General William Barr.

    (Published Sunday, March 24, 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.

    Trump Calls Mueller Probe 'an Illegal Takedown That Failed'

    [NATL] Trump Calls Mueller Probe 'an Illegal Takedown That Failed'

    President Donald Trump called special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation 'an illegal takedown that failed' on Sunday

    (Published Sunday, March 24, 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.

    Special Counsel Mueller Wraps Up Russia Probe

    [NATL] Special Counsel Mueller Wraps Up Russia Probe

    Special counsel Robert Mueller has finished his investigation into Russian election meddling, officials said Friday. Attorney General William Barr will soon report to Congress on Mueller's findings

    (Published Friday, March 22, 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.