Democrats target Calif. drought bill talks

WASHINGTON — Northern California lawmakers asked Monday that California’s two senators open up their secret talks with House Republicans on a drought bill.
 
The House Democrats are at odds with Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer over a bill that would make it easier to send more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta to Central Valley farms and weaken protections for fish. They are more alarmed at what might emerge from negotiations between the senators and House Republicans.
 
Feinstein is the lead author of the bill that she managed to get passed by unanimous consent in the Senate last month. House Republicans passed their own, more far-reaching bill in February that would waive endangered species protections, override the federal “wild and scenic river” designation for a short stretch of the Merced River and repeal the restoration of the San Joaquin River, much of which had been dry for decades because of diversions for irrigation.
 
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