State Strikes Levee Deal with Feds

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, May 2, 2006

It’s not the emergency declaration Governor Schwarzenegger asked the Bush administration for – but the outcome’s similar, says Director of the Department of Water Resources Lester Snow:

“It’s a way for the federal government to come in and assist us without creating precedent that worries them in other parts of the nation, and allows us to proceed on the schedule we’ve laid out.”

That schedule includes repairing 29 critical erosion sites between late June and next flood season – at a price tag of nearly 150 million dollars.  Under the so-called memorandum of understanding, the federal agencies agree to speed up environmental reviews. The state will also get credit for funds it advances for Army Corps of Engineers work– and for repairs D-W-R will do itself.  State officials say the accelerated environmental review will not undermine environmental protections.

Snow is quick to point out the work will not improve the flood control system, since only the very worst sites will be repaired.