Ag Today February 13, 2019

California Gov. Gavin Newsom downsizes Delta water project: one tunnel, not two [Sacramento Bee]

Gov. Gavin Newsom, diving into one of California’s most contentious water issues, said Tuesday he wants to downsize the Delta tunnels project. The Democratic governor also set out to overhaul state water policy by naming a new chair of the state’s water board. Newsom said he wants the twin-tunnel project — designed to re-engineer the troubled estuary that serves as the hub of California’s elaborate water-delivery system — reduced to a single tunnel….Newsom also attempted to strike a more centrist tone on water policy in general, saying “we have to get past the old binaries, like farmers versus environmentalists, or North versus South.” He appointed a new chair of the State Water Resources Control board, Joaquin Esquivel, whom the governor said will “help bring this balance.”


Editorial: Governor’s vision includes fish, farming [Modesto Bee]

…Dismissing Marcus was necessary after she led the board to a 4-1 vote implementing Phase I of the Bay-Delta Plan….Marcus represented that status quo. But anyone who sees her dismissal as some sort of victory is wrong. What the governor has given us is an opportunity to go back to work; to find a way to equitably restore and share our rivers. Without salmon, our rivers are ruined. Without farming, our lives are ruined. Our new governor wants us to figure out how best to save both.


With CVWD okay, Imperial Irrigation District now holds key to seven state drought deal [Palm Springs Desert Sun]

It’s all up to the Imperial Irrigation District. The fate of a seven-state plan to address dwindling Colorado River water supply now appears to rest squarely with the sprawling southeastern California water district. Its neighbor to the north, the Coachella Valley Water District, voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve interstate agreements that would conserve water for use by 40 million people and vast swaths of agricultural lands. IID has tied its approvals to a binding promise to receive $200 million in federal matching funds to restore the fast-dwindling Salton Sea, which lost critical Colorado River water imports a year ago.


Newsom wants to see high-speed trains for Merced-Bakersfield, puts brakes on SF-LA vision [Fresno Bee]

Gov. Gavin Newsom is promising a more realistic approach, greater accountability, and a change in leadership for California’s embattled high-speed rail project, announcing significant changes in his first State of the State address Tuesday in Sacramento. But Newsom indicated that anything beyond the construction work now under way in the San Joaquin Valley will be on hold until “more federal funding and private dollars” become available to help pay for the project….Patterson echoed Newsom’s call for construction in the Valley to be finished rather than stopping the work in its tracks. “Central Valley rail supporters and skeptics must band together to make sure we are left with functional tracks,” he said. “After tearing up prime (agricultural) land and ripping up the heart of our cities, we must ensure that we aren’t left with the unfinished scraps of a failed project.”


China, U.S. seek broad outline of a trade pact this week [Wall Street Journal]

U.S. stocks rose Tuesday as President Trump said he is willing to delay next month’s deadline for resolving the U.S.’s trade conflict with China if negotiations with Beijing are progressing smoothly….The president said he believed China wants to reach an agreement. The deadline for a pact is March 1, and if a deal isn’t reached the new tariffs are to be imposed the following day….In the talks this week, Chinese and U.S. negotiators are focusing on producing a broad outline of a trade agreement for their presidents to clinch at a possible summit, according to people with knowledge of the matter.


GOP isn’t giving up on California House seats, but even Republicans say wins are unlikely [McClatchy News Service]

Fresh off severe losses at the ballot box, Republicans are laying plans to reclaim ground in blue California. They’re ranking the seven California congressional seats that Democrats flipped in November as among the GOP’s top targets for 2020, according to a list the party released last week….Reps. TJ Cox, D-Fresno, and Josh Harder, D-Turlock, for example, made sure to get spots on the largely bipartisan Agriculture Committee. Harder made a point to visit a dam in his district early this year, demonstrating his interest in local water and agriculture.