What: All Issues : Government Checks on Corporate Power : Agriculture : HR 2996. (Fiscal 2010 environment spending) Motion to defeat an attempt to prevent the US Fish and Wildlife Service from implementing a policy that protects certain fish and wildlife in California/On the motion
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HR 2996. (Fiscal 2010 environment spending) Motion to defeat an attempt to prevent the US Fish and Wildlife Service from implementing a policy that protects certain fish and wildlife in California/On the motion
senate Roll Call 292     Sep 22, 2009
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

his vote was on tabling (killing) a motion to send the fiscal 2010 environment and Interior Department funding bill back to the Senate Appropriations Committee to rewrite some of its provisions.  Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who made the motion to have the bill rewritten, wanted the committee to add language that would prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from halting certain water releases from the Federal Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project on environmental grounds.  Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., then made a motion that DeMint’s motion be defeated, which is what this vote was on.

DeMint’s move would have had the effect of overturning two federal decisions and temporarily restoring irrigation deliveries to certain areas of the San Joaquin valley. The dispute centers around two federally-issued “biological opinions” that federal agencies are using to determine where water releases should be halted in order to preserve several vulnerable species of fish.  Federal environmental agencies predict that this could result in cuts to water delivery in the area of about 30 percent, including to several large agribusiness concerns.

DeMint said without the language he is seeking or something similar, the food supply will be jeopardized.

Feinstein, who likened DeMint’s move to a Pearl Harbor-style sneak attack, said she was “surprised.”

“The motion offered by the Senator from South California surprises me since no one from California has called, written, or indicated they wanted this on the calendar,” Feinstein said.  “The Senator from South Carolina is venturing into a very complicated area.   I cannot support legislation that says: Go ahead and release water, regardless of endangered species, regardless of any court that might come down on top of you and say stop. I can’t do that. It isn’t responsible to do so.”

By a vote of 61-36, the motion to defeat DeMint’s motion was agreed to.  Every Democrat present voted for the motion.  All but four Republicans present voted against the motion.  The end result is that the motion to defeat DeMint’s motion carried, and DeMint’s motion to send the bill back to add language barring the federal government from prohibiting certain water releases based on environmental concerns was defeated.

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