On March 14, we contacted Representative LaMalfa, and US Senators Feinstein and Harris to express our concerns about the ill-advised proposals to raise the Shasta Dam. You can read our comments here.
Two responses we received are posted below. Senator Feinstein responded thoughtfully, though failing to oppose the $20 million federal budget allocation for further “pre-construction studies”. She did note amended language to require water districts to pay their share of costs, and requiring compliance with state laws before construction.
We already know that raising the dam fails to provide sufficient financial benefits, historically required for any water project to ensure wise use of taxpayer dollars. And it further violates the state Wild and Scenic Rivers act with regard to the McCloud River, as this recent Los Angeles Times article details.
Disappointingly, Representative LaMalfa promised to “fight against the environmental extortion”.
We will continue to oppose this financial boondoggle which violates state law and destroys important native sites, while providing small benefit for a few big agricultural interests.
First District, California
House of Representatives
Dear Ms. (sic) Fusso:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the raising of the Shasta dam. I appreciate hearing from you and value your point of view.
I have always been, and will continue to be, a strong advocate of the dams in Northern California. Like you, I believe our citizens and communities have very important needs that must be met. However, I do not believe achieving economic stability and environmental stability is an either or proposition. To the contrary, there is plenty of room for middle ground.
I agree that this project is essential to ensuring certainty to the regional agricultural community as well as the regional economy. As you are well aware, in the past, we came dangerously close to having this water supply shut off due to the environmental litigation concerning the issue of fish passage at the diversion dam. The economic well-being of this entire four county area is reliant upon its agricultural sector; as such any losses in agricultural production hold incalculable consequences for the rest of the region. It is also regrettable that the loss of Lake Red Bluff and the highly efficient water delivery system it provides is being driven by the well-meaning but overarching and inflexible Endangered Species Act, which puts the communities it sustains, at risk. I therefore hope that we can move towards construction of the Project.
As your representative, please know I will continue to fight against the environmental extortion that has continued to affect rural property owners. My number one priority here in Washington is to represent and serve the people of Northern California to the best of my ability. Your input is extremely helpful in keeping me informed of how people in our area feel about major issues.
I appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance. If you would like to stay connected to our office with the latest news, legislation, and other useful information, please visit my website at http://lamalfa.house.gov. Thank you again for your communication, and please do not hesitate to contact my office with any future questions or comments. It is an honor to be your representative in Congress.
Member of Congress
United States Senator for California
May 11, 2018
Thank you for contacting me about the Shasta dam. I appreciate the time you took to write, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.
I recognize that many Californians have concerns about proposals to raise the Shasta dam to increase water storage capacity in the Shasta Lake reservoir. I appreciate that any expansion of the Shasta reservoir cannot occur without adverse impacts, including potentially flooding portions of nearby wildlife habitat and recreational areas. I also understand that the lands surrounding the Shasta reservoir have cultural significance to some Native American and tribal groups.
In 2015, after performing a feasibility study on the project, the Bureau of Reclamation released an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which outlines the proposed project’s environmental benefits and possible downsides. The Bureau called for more non-federal funding for the project, and did not make a recommendation on how to move forward.
On February 23, 2018, the Bureau of Reclamation requested the inclusion of $20 million in pre-construction studies for raising Shasta in the federal spending package for fiscal year 2018 (Public Law 115-141). I worked to successfully keep out of this funding measure a provision that would have expedited any effort to raise Shasta Dam by eliminating the water districts’ upfront cost-share. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and I also successfully obtained report language in the bill requiring that the Bureau of Reclamation comply with state law before beginning construction on any effort to raise the dam. This language applies to the $20 million funding in the bill, which is limited to studying the Shasta raise.
Please know that I appreciate learning of your concerns about the proposed expansion of the Shasta Lake reservoir. I will keep your comments in mind as I continue working to address California’s water supply challenges and to protect the environment.
Once again, thank you for writing. Should you have any other questions or comments, please call my Washington, D.C., office at (202) 224-3841 or visit my website at feinstein.senate.gov. You can also follow me online at YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, and you can sign up for my email newsletter at feinstein.senate.gov/newsletter.
United States Senator