US Senator Dianne Feinstein has dropped her attempt to take water from the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and give it to agribusiness interests in the dry southern and western Central Valley. Feinstein backed off her plan because precipitation in the past few months convinced state and federal regulators to provide more water than expected for farmers. Feinstein had proposed suspending the federal Endangered Species Act in order to increase water supplies for agriculture.
Feinstein’s proposal had engendered a strong backlash among environmentalists and liberal Democrats who noted that the collapsing fisheries in the Delta may have been destroyed had she gone forward with her plan. And although they’re relieved that she’s dropped it for now, they’re concerned that she has made it okay to put the Endangered Species Act in play during dry years. The Chron reported that Feinstein also said that she “reserved the right” to bring back her proposal “should it become necessary.”