SACRAMENTO – Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to veto a bill passed by California lawmakers that would have allowed the state to impose strict endangered species protections and water pumping restrictions for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Newsom’s intentions, confirmed by his spokesman on Saturday, comes less than 24 hours after state lawmakers passed the sweeping legislation.
The overall intent of the bill was to shield California from the Trump administration’s rollbacks of environmental laws and workplace protections, but Newsom said the legislation fell short of that promise.
“I fully support the principles behind Senate Bill 1: to defeat efforts by the President and Congress to undermine vital federal protections that protect clean air, clean water and endangered species,” Newsom said in a statement released Saturday.
“Senate Bill 1 does not, however, provide the state with any new authority to push back against the Trump Administration’s environmental policies and it limits the state’s ability to rely upon the best available science to protect our environment,” the statement said.
Senate Bill 1 would allow state agencies to adopt protections under the federal Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Fair Labor Standards Act and other major environmental and labor laws that were in place before President Donald Trump took office in January 2017. Many of the labor and environmental provisions were not controversial. But debate over the legislation quickly centered on one of California’s oldest and most bitter divides – the fight over water in the delta, which provides water for more than 25 million people and millions of acres of Central Valley farmland,
Numerous water agencies, including the influential Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, feared the endangered species provisions and delta pumping restrictions would limit their water supply at key times of the year.
The Newsom administration shared some of those concerns, as did Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and four Central Valley Democrats in Congress who submitted a letter last week requesting the bill be amended.