The Latest: Trump administration doesn't support water plan
Oct. 25, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration opposing a massive California water project (all times local):
The Trump administration says it doesn't support a $16 billion California water project as it is now proposed but will keep working with the state as it develops the twin tunnels plan.
Interior Department Deputy Communications Director Russell Newell said Wednesday the Trump administration has chosen not to move forward on Brown's plan to build the giant tunnels.
In a statement later, he added that the agency supports California's effort to make California's water supply more reliable and environmentally sustainable.
But he reiterated that the federal government won't take part in the funding or building of the tunnels project in its current form.
Opponents of California's plan to build two giant water tunnels are weighing the effect of the Trump administration's opposition to the project.
Doug Obegi of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has fought the $16 billion tunnel plan, says the government's position at minimum complicates the project. He says the state should work transparently to reconsider it.
Gov. Jerry Brown wants local water agencies to pay to build the tunnels to tap into the Sacramento River in Northern California and send water south.
Interior Department spokesman Russell Newell describes the project as a legacy of the Obama administration. He said Wednesday that the Trump administration opposes it.
Brown spokesman Evan Westrup and other state officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A spokesman for the U.S. Department of the Interior says the Trump administration will not support California's massive planned water project, reversing the Obama administration's backing for the initiative.
Interior Department deputy communications director Russell Newell said Wednesday that the Trump administration "chose not to move forward" with California Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed $16 billion project to build two giant tunnels.
The statement marks the first public position by the Trump administration on the tunnels project.
The decision is the latest and one of the most significant setbacks for Brown's hopes of re-engineering the state's north-south water delivery system. The tunnels still require additional federal approval to move forward, though individual water districts are supposed to pay the costs of the project.