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Indybay Feature
Sun Dec 18 2016
Obama Signs Bill with Water Giveaway to California Big Ag
Sun Dec 18 2016
Senator Boxer Calls Corporate Agribusiness Rider to Water Bill a "Devastating Maneuver"
In a slap in the face to fishermen, Tribes, environmental justice advocates, conservationists and family farmers, President Barack Obama on December 16 signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act into law with an environmentally destructive Big Ag rider sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

The controversial rider, opposed by retiring Senator Barbara Boxer, taints an otherwise non-controversial bill that sponsors water projects across the nation. The last minute rider, requested by corporate agribusiness interests, allows San Joaquin Valley growers and Southern California water agencies to pump more water out of the Delta, driving Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species closer and closer to extinction, according to Delta advocates.

The addition of the Big Ag rider to the bill caused a bitter rift between Boxer, one of the bill’s original sponsors, and Feinstein. The U.S. Senate approved the water bill by a vote of 78 to 21 on December 9.

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