“We Cannot Get This Wrong:” Senator Roth Introduces Bill to Protect California Resource

February 15, 2019

(SACRAMENTO) – As stewards of this state, the Legislature is duty-bound to ensure California’s natural resources are appropriately safeguarded. Today, Senator Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside) introduced Senate Bill 307. Co-authored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), SB 307 enhances protections to California’s deserts by ensuring any future water transfers – from groundwater basins underlying desert lands – do not adversely affect the desert’s natural or cultural resources, including groundwater resources or sensitive habitats.

The issue at hand is the role the state will play in preserving the fragile ecosystem in the Mojave Desert. Proposals to extract water from aquifers historically receive the highest level of scrutiny. A long-debated proposal continues to generate concern due to a discrepancy in how much water can be sustainably pumped from an aquifer beneath the Mojave Desert.

“As conversations continue, the indisputable point remains: the scientific review must be completed and the science reconciled,” said Senator Roth. “We can and should do it quickly, but it must be done.”

“As the Chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and a Californian who lived through one of the most severe droughts in our state’s history, I have a professional and personal commitment to ensuring smart and sustainable water management,” said Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale). “Protecting fragile Mojave Desert water resources and the life and economy that depends on them is common sense.”

“Conservation, preservation are cornerstones to the great history of our state. We have enacted legislation to protect Lake Tahoe, the coastline, the desert,” continued Senator Roth. “If we get this wrong we run the risk of destroying a precious national monument and fragile ecosystem. We must proceed with the utmost caution.”

Ongoing discussions with proponents of the project indicate a willingness to continue a dialogue that ensures the region’s environmental sustainability remains the priority.

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Senator Richard D. Roth represents the 31st State Senate District, which includes the communities of Corona, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, March Air Reserve Base, Moreno Valley, Norco, Perris and Riverside. Prior to his election, he served for 32 years in the United States Air Force, retiring in 2007 in the grade of Major General.