Ag Today, March 15, 2018

California doesn’t want this towering water project. Trump administration may build it anyway

Los Angeles Times
By EVAN HALPER and SARAH D. WIRE – MAR 15, 2018 | 3:00 AM| WASHINGTON

The Trump administration is pushing forward with a colossal public works project in Northern California — heightening the towering Shasta Dam the equivalent of nearly two stories.

The problem is that California is dead-set against the plan, and state law prohibits the 602-foot New Deal-era structure from getting any taller.

But in these times of unprecedented tension between Washington and California, the state’s objection to this $1.3-billion project near the Sacramento River is hardly proving a deterrent. The Trump administration is pursuing the project with gusto, even as it seeks to make deep cuts in popular conservation programs aimed at California’s water shortages.

The project promises a big payoff for water interests with close ties to the administration. A former lobbyist for one of the biggest of those interests, the politically connected Westlands Water District, holds a key administration post with power over the flow of federal money.

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