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AB 1000 bad for California families, water, jobs

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California is an undisputed national and global leader in protecting our environment and championing policy that will ensure the sustainability of our natural resources for generations to come. And especially after facing multiple dry years in a row, it’s clear this sort of foresight and proactive approach is desperately needed when it comes to water issues as well.

 

Unfortunately, however, some legislators want to take California in the opposite direction by blocking the development of a safe, reliable new water supply – and, in doing so, block jobs and economic growth, including for the Filipino community. Assembly Bill 1000, by Assemblymember Laura Friedman, is a “gut and amend” bill that circumvents the normal legislative process in an attempt to stop a carefully studied water project that has earned the approval of multiple state and local agencies and shown to be safe for the environment.

 

The Cadiz Water Project will access underutilized water from the Mojave Desert that is currently evaporating into the air to provide a reliable water supply that can serve up to 400,000 people every year. Filipino families, businesses and communities need affordable and reliable water; a safe water supply is critical for the long-term sustainability of our state and has a significant role to play in creating socio-economic opportunity and progress.

  

Unlike the false claims perpetrated by the supporters of AB 1000 – many of them coastal interests and Sacramento politicians whose communities rely on imported water and won’t feel the pain of the lost jobs and water caused by the bill – the Cadiz Water Project does not pose a threat to the environment. The project has withstood all of California’s robust environmental reviews, and mechanisms are built into the project to allow the County of San Bernardino to halt project operations if it unexpectedly poses harm or if groundwater levels fall below a certain point.

 

Equally importantthe project is expected to create thousands of skilled jobs – including for veterans and for unions – and generate nearly $1 billion in economic activity. A project that’s safe for the environment, creates good-paying jobs and put more money into local coffers? It’s a clear win-win-win – and the fact that some special interests want to derail the project reveals only ugly political games.

 

Beyond threatening the jobs and water that would come from the Cadiz Water Project, AB 1000 is also just bad policy. By adding additional layers of bureaucratic review on top of those already provided for by California’s environmental laws, the policy behind AB 1000 would make it even harder for the state to move forward on projects that serve the Filipino community, like school and hospital construction, affordable housing development or even bridge and roadway investments. We already have a robust – and often confusing and complicated – environmental review process; why make it even harder for these important projects by allowing politicians and political appointees to quash them at the very last minute?

 

We cannot allow politics to drive policy decisions that would negatively affect our state for generations to come. For these reasons, we urge the Legislature to reject AB 1000.

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