Special to Dixon Patch
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), joined Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui (D-Sacramento), along with Representatives George Miller (D-Martinez, CA), Dan Lungren (R- Gold River, CA), Ken Calvert (R-Corona, CA) and 25 of their California Delegation Members, in introducing bi-partisan legislation, the Levee Vegetation Review Act, to require the Army Corps of Engineers to adopt a Regional Variance policy instead of the Corps’ current all-encompassing national policy for vegetation on levees.
Congresswoman Matsui commented, “Our number one concern should be public safety. Unfortunately, the Corps’ current one-size-fits-all national vegetation policy will have a negative impact on public safety, on the environment, and on the cost of our levee projects.”
“Congresswoman Matsui’s bill will help the Corps avoid needless litigation and wasted time, effort, and money clear cutting vegetation without adequate justification,” said Congressman Garamendi. “The legislation also gives us the ability to use the best available science and adapt levee policy towards the needs of local communities.”
Recently, the Army Corps released a Policy Guidance Letter for regional variance. However, it still did not take into account the concerns that have been voiced by the State of California and a wide range of stakeholders, nor did it provide enough flexibility to provide for the unique challenges of different regions across the nation, and particularly in California and communities like the Sacramento Region. The legislation introduced today would address that.
Instead of a one-size fits all national standard, the bill would require the Corps to move to regional variances with input from the state and local entities that are most familiar with the unique challenges facing each community. Among other things, as part of its regional variance policy, the bill provides the Corps with the flexibility to exempt areas from the policy, where deemed necessary from the Secretary of the Army Corps of Engineers.
Original co-sponsors (30) of the bill are Representatives: Doris Matsui (CA-05), John Garamendi (CA-10), George Miller (CA-07), Grace Napolitano (CA-38), Dan Lungren (CA-03), Gary Miller (CA-42), Ken Calvert (CA-44), Zoe Lofgren (CA-16), Jackie Speier (CA-12), Lois Capps (CA-23), Mike Thompson (CA-01), Henry Waxman (CA-30), Mike Honda (CA-15), Anna Eshoo (CA-14), Janice Hahn (CA-36), Judy Chu (CA-32), Lynn Woolsey (CA-06), Jerry McNerney (CA-11), Joe Baca (CA-43), Linda Sanchez (CA-39), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34), Dennis Cardoza (CA-18), Jim Costa (CA-20), Barbara Lee (CA-09), Howard Berman (CA-28), Sam Farr (CA-17), Adam Schiff (CA-29), Karen Bass (CA-33), Pete Stark (CA-13), Susan Davis (CA-53)