6:09 PM EDT

George Miller, D-CA 7th

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. I thank the chairman for yielding.

I would hope that Members would oppose this amendment. This amendment makes nothing better. I appreciate the frustration of my friends who live in the Valley and are undergoing very serious economic times. But the fact of the matter is, to suggest now to throw out this biological opinion makes nothing better.

Now you have a situation where the Bureau of Reclamation is trying to deal with these problems. We would lose this consultive agency and the Marine Fisheries Agency; and as a result of that, they could not go forward with another biological opinion, which you may or may not want. But what we would be is we would be stymied, as was suggested in this opinion and by the court, in the ability to look for other mechanisms that we could use instead of just turning to the idea that you're going to reduce

the pumping. But that goes out the door now because you will not have the scientific credibility enabling the bureau to go forward. So the bureau will fumble around now for a number of months, trying to figure out how to handle this problem. And eventually, for legal reasons, they're going to have to go back to the Marine Fisheries, and the Marine Fisheries are going

to tell them that Congress barred them from consultations. The consultations will not take place; and as a result of that, we have lost a year, 18 months, 2 years, whatever time it takes instead of going forward on this biological opinion which allow for some additional alternatives, some additional investigations within the delta and elsewhere in this system.

This builds on a whole series of reports that have come out by the past administration's Office of Management and Budget, saying that the failure here is not to look at the water system, the CVP, on a system-wide basis. We keep chopping it up in little increments. We chop it up based upon the Valley, based upon the south, based upon the north, based upon the delta. We thought that with good science, we would have the opportunity to start to overcome that and to broaden this discussion. But this

amendment will collapse it all back again, we'll start all over again, and we'll just waste a lot of time. And the problems in the Central Valley will get worse for agriculture; they will get worse for the economy; they'll get worse in Southern California; they'll get worse in the delta; we'll have more endangered species lawsuits; and we'll have more complications. And we'll accomplish nothing.

It's bold in its approach. It's destructive in its results.

The CHAIR. The gentleman from West Virginia has 1 minute remaining. The gentleman from California has 2 minutes remaining.

6:11 PM EDT

George Miller, D-CA 7th

Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. I thank the chairman for yielding.

I would hope that Members would oppose this amendment. This amendment makes nothing better. I appreciate the frustration of my friends who live in the Valley and are undergoing very serious economic times. But the fact of the matter is, to suggest now to throw out this biological opinion makes nothing better.

Now you have a situation where the Bureau of Reclamation is trying to deal with these problems. We would lose this consultive agency and the Marine Fisheries Agency; and as a result of that, they could not go forward with another biological opinion, which you may or may not want. But what we would be is we would be stymied, as was suggested in this opinion and by the court, in the ability to look for other mechanisms that we could use instead of just turning to the idea that you're going to reduce

the pumping. But that goes out the door now because you will not have the scientific credibility enabling the bureau to go forward. So the bureau will fumble around now for a number of months, trying to figure out how to handle this problem. And eventually, for legal reasons, they're going to have to go back to the Marine Fisheries, and the Marine Fisheries are going

to tell them that Congress barred them from consultations. The consultations will not take place; and as a result of that, we have lost a year, 18 months, 2 years, whatever time it takes instead of going forward on this biological opinion which allow for some additional alternatives, some additional investigations within the delta and elsewhere in this system.

This builds on a whole series of reports that have come out by the past administration's Office of Management and Budget, saying that the failure here is not to look at the water system, the CVP, on a system-wide basis. We keep chopping it up in little increments. We chop it up based upon the Valley, based upon the south, based upon the north, based upon the delta. We thought that with good science, we would have the opportunity to start to overcome that and to broaden this discussion. But this

amendment will collapse it all back again, we'll start all over again, and we'll just waste a lot of time. And the problems in the Central Valley will get worse for agriculture; they will get worse for the economy; they'll get worse in Southern California; they'll get worse in the delta; we'll have more endangered species lawsuits; and we'll have more complications. And we'll accomplish nothing.

It's bold in its approach. It's destructive in its results.

The CHAIR. The gentleman from West Virginia has 1 minute remaining. The gentleman from California has 2 minutes remaining.

6:11 PM EDT

Devin Nunes, R-CA 21st

Mr. NUNES. Mr. Chair, excuses, excuses, excuses. What we've had throughout my entire career in Congress is more and more excuses. I appreciate the gentleman spent three decades in this body systematically destroying the Valley's economy. And so to hide behind the courts, to hide behind the bureaucracy, to hide behind the Obama administration, it may sound good to the gentleman from California. But the reality of it is, there are people living in their cars. People don't have food. Food banks

are out of food. Workers are trying to have work. Farmers are going bankrupt because of the actions that Mr. Miller has taken throughout his entire career. It's okay. It's okay to value fish. That's okay. But understand that you're starving families while you value the fish. It's unfortunate.

Mr. Chair, I appreciate my colleagues' support of this amendment.

I reserve the balance of my time.

6:13 PM EDT

Mike Thompson, D-CA 1st

Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Chair and Members, I understand the frustration of my friends from the Valley on this issue. I've been living it in my district. The last administration devastated the fishing families of the north coast. We haven't had a fishing season up there in years. Again this year it's closed. And it's all because science was put aside in favor of politics. Finally we have science coming in. Science should be allowed to be considered. And as one of the previous speakers,

Mr. Miller, has mentioned, this amendment does absolutely the wrong thing. Not only does it take science off the table again, which led us, in part, to this problem and put the courts in control of these rivers, but it also limits our opportunities to address

the overall problem. Without the Federal agencies at the table being able to bring different options to solve this problem not only for the Valley families but for the coastal families as well, we're limited, and it's not going to bring any answers forward.

It is a mistake to pass this amendment. It won't solve the problem. It will just exacerbate the situation.

6:14 PM EDT

Devin Nunes, R-CA 21st

Mr. NUNES. Mr. Chair, I appreciate my other friend from California. But the facts are, it's absurd to think that pumping some water out of a delta is killing killer whales, and that's what is in this biological opinion. When the government gets to the point of blaming killer whales for problems, the government has much bigger problems than just this little amendment.

So when you look at the fisheries in California that have been destroyed, the fishing industry was run out of San Diego a long time ago. There used to be Portuguese American fishermen that controlled the tuna industry in San Diego. The Democrats ran them out back in the seventies and eighties. So to now blame little minnows and pumping water to allow people to work are now destroying all the fish and killer whales in the ocean is absurd. We have starving people in the Valley. When is this Congress

going to act? When? How many more days? It's been going on for 2 years. How much longer? Is 40,000 people enough people out of work? Do we need 80,000 people out of work? How many more people must starve because of the inaction by this body? That's what I want to know.

[Time: 18:15]

The CHAIR. The gentleman's time has expired

The gentleman from West Virginia does have 15 seconds remaining.

Without objection, each side is allocated extra 15 seconds of time to control.

There was no objection.

6:16 PM EDT

Jim Costa, D-CA 20th

Mr. COSTA. Mr. Chairman, I just think that it's time for common sense to prevail. I've lost 30,000 jobs in my district as a result of this drought. We may lose generations of farmers. We need to come together with a California solution that is aside from the partisan differences and bring back water for all regions of California.

We're fighting for farmers and farm workers. I would ask common sense to prevail.