California Sues Trump Administration to Block Water Rules

Late last month, the Associated Press reported that, “California sued the Trump administration on [Feb. 20] to block new rules that would let farmers take more water from the state’s largest river systems, arguing it would push endangered populations of delta smelt, chinook salmon and steelhead trout to extinction.

“The federal rules govern how much water can be pumped out of the watersheds of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, which flow from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the San Francisco Bay and provide the state with much of its water for a bustling agriculture industry that supplies two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts and more than a third of its vegetables.

“But the rivers are also home to a variety of state and federally protected fish species, whose numbers have been dwindling since humans began building dams and reservoirs to control flooding and send water throughout the state.”

The AP article noted that, “Historically, the federal government has set the rules for both systems. But recently, state officials have complained the Trump administration’s proposed rules don’t do enough to protect endangered species. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration threatened to sue the federal government in November, but delayed action in the hopes he could work out a compromise.

“But the federal government finalized the new rules [the week of Feb. 17]. Trump traveled to Bakersfield on [Feb. 19th] to celebrate them before a jubilant crowd.”

“Newsom responded on [Feb. 20th] with a lawsuit, filed in partnership with state Attorney General Xavier Becerra.”

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