University of California Berkeley
Regional Oral History Office University of California
The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California
California Water Resources Oral History Series
Richard K. Golb
PASSAGE OF THE CENTRAL VALLEY PROJECT IMPROVEMENT ACT, 1991-1992:
THE ROLE OF JOHN SEYMOUR
Interview Conducted by
Copyright 1997 by The Regents of the University of California
Since 1954 the Regional Oral History Office has been interviewing leading
participants in or well-placed witnesses to major events in the development of
Northern California, the West, and the Nation. Oral history is a method of
collecting historical information through tape-recorded interviews between a
narrator with firsthand knowledge of historically significant events and a well-
informed interviewer, with the goal of preserving substantive additions to the
historical record. The tape recording is transcribed, lightly edited for
continuity and clarity, and reviewed by the interviewee. The corrected
manuscript is indexed, bound with photographs and illustrative materials, and
placed in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, and in
other research collections for scholarly use. Because it is primary material,
oral history is not intended to present the final, verified, or complete
narrative of events. It is a spoken account, offered by the interviewee in
response to questioning, and as such it is reflective, partisan, deeply involved,
All uses of this manuscript are covered by a legal agreement
between The Regents of the University of California and Richard K.
Golb dated October 5, 1996. The manuscript is thereby made
available for research purposes. All literary rights in the
manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to The
Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. No part
of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written
permission of the Director of The Bancroft Library of the University
of California, Berkeley.
Requests for permission to quote for publication should be
addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 486 Library,
University of California, Berkeley 94720, and should include
identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated
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request and allowed thirty days in which to respond.
It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Richard K. Golb, "Passage of the Central
Valley Project Improvement Act, 1991-1992:
The Role of John Seymour," an oral history
conducted in 1996 by Malca Chall, Regional
Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley, 1997.
Richard K. Golb.
GOLB, Richard K. (b. 1962) Senator Seymour staff
Passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. 1991-1992; The Role
of John Seymour, 1997, ix, 136 pp.
Legislative assistant, Senator John Seymour, 1991-1992; writing and
revising Seymour bills S. 2016, S. 3365; efforts to pass Seymour bills and
prevent passage of CVPIA and Omnibus Water Act (Miller-Bradley bills);
relationships with Congressman George Miller, Senator Bill Bradley, members
and staff of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, agriculture
community; attempts to negotiate with environmental community; Governor
Pete Wilson, Department of Water Resources, Metropolitan Water District;
Somach-Graff negotiations; future of CVP and CVPIA.
Interviewed 1996 by Malca Chall for the California Water Resources Oral
History Series. Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley.
TABLE OF CONTENTS --Richard Golb
SERIES LIST ii
INTERVIEW HISTORY iv
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION vii
I BACKGROUND OF SENATOR JOHN SEYMOUR'S BILL AND THE MOVE
INTO THE CENTRAL VALLEY PROJECT IMPROVEMENT ACT DEBATE 1
Richard Golb: Executive Director, Northern California
Water Association 1
Staff Position with Senator Thad Cochran 3
Legislative Assistant to Senator John Seymour 4
Senator Seymour's Background 5
Early Drafts of Senator Seymour's Bill S. 2016 7
Concerns About Reclamation Reform 8
Concerns About the Miller-Bradley Bills 10
Concerns About the Omnibus Water Bill H.R. 429 11
Analyzing Senator Bradley' s Bill, S. 484 11
The Minority Report of the Senate Energy and Natural
Resources Committee 14
Problems with the Bill 15
The Activities of Senator Seymour and His Staff 16
Contacts with the Environmentalists 17
The Constraints of Compromise on Both Sides of the Debate 20
The Environmental Community Defined the Debate Politically 21
Policy, Not Politics Would Have Produced a Different Bill 24
The Pivotal Role of the Metropolitan Water District 25
The Problems with the Water Transfer Provisions of
the CVPIA 26
II THE SEYMOUR BILL: EARLY SUCCESS AND ULTIMATE DEFEAT 28
The Seymour Bill Moves Through the Senate Energy and
Natural Resources Committee and the Senate 28
Senator Seymour Offers Revisions: Fundamental Disagreements
Senator Seymour's View of the Committee's Maneuver 32
The Agriculture Community 33
Senator Bennett Johnston's Mark 33
Governor Pete Wilson and the CVPIA Debate 35
Transferring the Central Valley Project to the State 36
The Continuous Round of Phone Calls, Conferences, Meetings
Prior to the Energy Committee's Decision to Move the
Seymour Bill 38
The Agriculture and Environmental Communities Try to
Understand the Committee's Decision 42
The Business Community and the CVPIA 43
George Miller Introduces H.R. 5099; Revises it to
Accommodate Central Valley Congressmen 45
The Conference Committee 46
Senator Seymour's Stamina: Dealing with the CVPIA
and his Election Campaign 47
The Somach-Graff Negotiations 48
The Ongoing Debate Over the CVPIA 50
Correspondence Between Senators Seymour and Bradley 52
Revisions of the Seymour Bill Rejected by Congressman
Miller and Senator Bradley 53
Senator Seymour Submits S. 3365 and Filibusters Against
H.R. 429 54
Attempts to Gain Agriculture's Acceptance of the Revisions 56
The Conference Committee Produces the Final Draft of the
Omnibus Water Bill 59
The Omnibus Water Bill Passes Through the Congress:
Analysis of Some of the Factors Involved 60
The Effects of the CVPIA on California Agriculture 63
The Effect of the Experience on Richard Golb 65
Refining the CVPIA 65
TAPE GUIDE 68
The Water Resources Center of the University of California, in 1965,
established a History of California Water Resources Development Oral
History Series, to be carried out by the oral history offices at the Los
Angeles and Berkeley campuses. The basic purpose of the program was "to
document historical developments in California's water resources by means
of tape recorded interviews with men who have played a prominent role in
this field." The concern of those who drafted the program was that while
the published material on California water resources described
engineering and economic aspects of specific water projects, little dealt
with concepts, evolution of plans, and relationships between and among
the various interested federal, state, and local agencies.
To bridge this information gap, the Water Resources Center, during
the past quarter century under the successive direction of Professors
Arthur F. Pillsbury, J. Herbert Snyder, and Henry Vaux, Jr., has provided
funding in full or in part for interviews with men who have been
observers and participants in significant aspects of water resources
development. Early advisors to the project on the Berkeley campus were
Professors J. W. Johnson and David K. Todd. Gerald Giefer, librarian of
the Water Resources Center Archives, Berkeley, has maintained an
important advisory role in the project.
Interviewees in the Berkeley series have been pioneers in western
water irrigation, in the planning and development of the Central Valley
and California State Water Projects, in the administration of the
Department of Water Resources, and in the pioneering work of the field of
sanitary engineering. Some have been active in the formation of the San
Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission; others have
developed seminal theories on soil erosion and soil science. But in all
cases, these men have been deeply concerned with water resources in
Their oral histories provide unique background into the history of
water resources development and are valuable assets to students
interested in understanding the past and in developing theories for
future use of this essential, controversial, and threatened commodity
Henry J. Vaux, Jr., Director
Water Resources Center
University of California, Riverside
The following Regional Oral History Office interviews of have been funded in
whole or in part by The Water Resources Center, University of California.
Banks, Harvey (b. 1910)
California Water Project. 1955-1961. 1967, 82 pp.
Beard, Daniel P. (b. 1943)
Passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, 1991-1992; The Role
of George Miller. 1996, 67 pp.
Gianelli, William R. (b. 1919)
The California State Department of Water Resources. 1967-1973.
1985, 86 pp.
Gillespie, Chester G. (1884-1971)
Origins and Early Years of the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering.
1971, 39 pp.
Golb, Richard K. (b. 1962)
The Passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. 1991-1992: The
Role of John Seymour. 1997, 107 pp.
Graff, Thomas J.(b. 1944) and David R. Yardas (b. 1956)
The Passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. 1991-1992;
Environmental Defense Fund Perspective. 1996, 133 pp.
Harding, Sidney T. (1883-1969)
A Life in Western Water Development. 1967, 524 pp.
Jenny, Hans (1899-1992)
Soil Scientist. Teacher, and Scholar. 1989, 364 pp.
Langelier, Wilfred F. (1886-1981)
Teaching, Research, and Consultation in Water Purification and Sewage
Treatment, University of California at Berkeley, 1916-1955.
1982, 81 pp.
Leedom, Sam R. (1896-1971)
California Water Development. 1930-1955. 1967, 83 pp.
Leopold, Luna B. (b. 1915)
Hydrology, Geomorphology, and Environmental Policy : U.S. Geological Survey.
1950-1072. and UC Berkeley. 1972-1987. 1993, 309 pp.
Lowdermilk, Walter Clay (1888-1974)
Soil. Forest, and Water Conservation and Reclamation in China. Israel.
Africa, and The United States. 1969, 704 pp. (Two volumes)
McGaughey, Percy H. (1904-1975)
The Sanitary Engineering Research Laboratory; Administration. Research,
and Consultation. 1950-1972. 1974, 259 pp.
Nelson, Barry (b. 1959)
The Passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. 1991-1992;
Executive Director. Save San Francisco Bay Assocation. 1994, 88 pp.
Peltier, Jason (b. 1955)
The Passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. 1991-1992;
Manager, Central Valley Project Water Association. 1994, 84 pp.
Robie, Ronald B. (b. 1937)
The California State Department of Water Resources. 1975-1983.
1989, 97 pp.
The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. 1964-1973.
Interviews with Joseph E. Bodovitz, Melvin Lane, and E. Clement Shute.
1986, 98 pp.
For other California water-related interviews see California Water Resources
Richard Golb, executive director of the Northern California Water
Association, learned about California water policies and politics the hard
way. A young, recent postgraduate student, with limited experience on a
Senate staff, he was, in March, 1991, appointed legislative assistant to
California Senator John Seymour. Assigned to the Senate Committees on
Agriculture, and Energy and Natural Resources, he spent most of his time
during the ensuing two years dealing with the contentious issues and
debates involving the Central Valley Project Improvement Act.
John Seymour, a moderate Republican, with a background in local
politics and eight and one-half years in the California Senate, began his
U.S. Senate term in January, 1991, when he was appointed to fill out the
term of California's newly elected Governor Pete Wilson.
Thus both John Seymour and Richard Golb arrived in the Senate in
early 1991 just as the debate over the CVPIA came into focus. It remained
for them the center of attention until October 30, 1992, when a reluctant
President George Bush signed it into law as Chapter XXXIV of the Omnibus
Water Act. 1 Debate began in early 1991 when New Jersey Senator Bill
Bradley (D) and California Congressman George Miller (D) each submitted
bills designed to reform the Central Valley Project. Although originally
differing in details, the Miller and Bradley bills, through redrafts and
amendments, gradually came close enough to be referred to as the Miller-
Bradley bills which were backed by the environmental community and major
The alternative to Miller-Bradley, favored by the agriculture
community which helped draft it, was introduced by Senator Seymour in
November, 1991, and henceforth tagged the Seymour bill.
In his oral history, Richard Golb has fleshed out the history of the
Seymour bill and the senator's unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a less
onerous reform measure by compromising the demands of both the
environmental and agriculture communities . According to the environmental
community, Seymour refused to negotiate. Golb offers a different story: a
portrait of a senator who did want to compromise, who did offer amendments,
and who did try to move, albeit in small steps, an agriculture community
beset by internal factions.
'Public Law 102-575, October 30, 1992: Reclamation Projects
Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992, pp. 4600-4769.
Golb explains how and why the Miller and the Bradley bills differed,
the background of the Central Valley's distrust of George Miller, and how
the environmental community politicized the CVP reform debate. He explains
the reason why the Seymour bill, not the Bradley bill, passed the Senate,
but lost in the conference committee as Senator Seymour expected it would.
"A slam dunk", according to the weary senator, at that time also
campaigning to retain his seat in the Senate.
Senator Seymour's filibuster, commended by some of his peers,
according to Golb, and his offer of a new and revised bill in the waning
hours of the session, could not thwart the passage of the CVPIA. Always a
prime threat to the Seymour bill and a major factor in its defeat was the
Omnibus Water Act which tied some dozen western water projects to Central
Valley Project reform. In the end, congressmen from these states abandoned
their former California allies in favor of their projects, for many years
held hostage by Congressman Miller to the passage of CVP reform.
The three and one-half hour interview with Richard Golb took place in
Sacramento in the conference room of the Northern California Water
Association on May 3, 1996. Mr. Golb and I first met by phone in 1993. He
called to introduce himself after he heard that I was conducting interviews
on the CVPIA with Jason Peltier and Barry Nelson. He said that he had
worked with Senator John Seymour and would like to tell their side of the
story. He also told me that he had kept a daily log and had a trunk full
of papers which might be useful. Although at that time I had no funds for
his interview, I wanted to see his source material. So twice during the
following three years I spent time in his office perusing the relevant
papers and those segments of his journal pertaining to the CVPIA.
In 1995 funds became available for this long-desired interview, but
it was not until 1996 that our schedules meshed. In the meantime, I had
added interviews with Thomas Graff and David Yardas of the Environmental
Defense Fund who explored the history of the Bradley bill, and with Daniel
Beard, longtime staff director for George Miller, who highlighted George
Miller and the Miller bills. The time had come to add John Seymour to the
history of the CVPIA.
With the aid of his journal (which remains his personal property),
his valuable collection of bills, memoranda, correspondence (copies of
which he has made available for the oral history volume and the Water
Resources Archives), and his clear recollections of those two hectic years,
Richard Golb has provided an account of John Seymour's essential link to
the passage of the CVPIA. He carefully checked the lightly edited
transcript to ensure its accuracy. Knowing that California water policy is
never finished, he states succinctly, "Just because President Bush signed
the CVPIA that hasn't ended the debate."
Again I want to thank Don Erman, director of the Centers for Water
and Wildland Resources, for enabling the completion of this series on the
Central Valley Project Improvement Act. It is hoped that this and the
preceding five interviews on the CVPIA will provide historians and water
policy buffs with useful clues and insights into this major transition in
California water policy history.
The Regional Oral History Office was established in 1954 to augment
through tape-recorded memoirs the Library's materials on the history of
California and the West. Copies of all interviews are available for
research use in The Bancroft Library and in the UCLA Department of Special
Collections. The office is under the direction of Willa K. Baum, and is an
administrative division of The Bancroft Library of the University of
Regional Oral History Office
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University of California
Berkeley, California 94720
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I BACKGROUND OF SENATOR JOHN SEYMOUR'S BILL AND THE MOVE INTO THE
CENTRAL VALLEY PROJECT IMPROVEMENT ACT DEBATE
[Date of Interview: May 3, 1996 ]ti l
Richard Golb: Executive Director. Northern California Water
Chall: I wanted to get some idea about your background so that we can
understand how you got to this position as executive director of
the Northern California Water Association.
Golb: We're a 501 (c) (6), which is a nonprofit corporation.
Our organization was formed in 199 Iprior to my arrival here
--by landowners and farmers in the Sacramento Valley who wanted an
organization that was regional. There's a lot of water
organizations in California, but the Sacramento Valley felt that
they were being overlooked: overlooked in the CVP [Central Valley
Project] debate, overlooked in water transfer legislation that was
occurring in 1990 and '91. So they felt that they needed an
organization that solely focused on agricultural water suppliers in
the Sacramento Valley.
They're doing some really progressive things, and they wanted
some help, they wanted some coalition efforts, they wanted to all
come together in a unified voice. So the organization was formed.
They hired an executive director, and there was a difference in
Chall: Who was that executive director?
'This symbol (If) indicates that a tape or tape segment has begun or
ended. A guide to the tapes follows the transcript.
Golb: His name was Kip Solinsky [spells].
Chall: Are these primarily rice growers? What else besides rice?
Golb: A lot of crops are grown in the Sacramento Valley. Rice is the
predominant crop. Tomatoes, melons, all kinds of row crops,
there's a lot of orchards, peaches, prunes.
Chall: These growers receive CVP water?
Golb: Most of our members are senior water rights holders that have pre-
1914 water rights and riparian rights on the Sacramento River, the
Feather River, and the Yuba.
Chall: I see. That's the basic difference between them and the other
Golb: That's right. Their water rights and water supplies are very
Chall: Valuable, but they have different kinds of rights.
Golb: That's correct.
Chall: Are these what are known as "exchange rights"?
Golb: Similar. Most of these are called settlement contractors, in terms
of on the Sacramento River. We represent fifty- two individual
water companies, water agencies, and individual farmers that
irrigate about 750,000 acres of land. Much of the acreage we
represent is irrigated with settlement water supplies.
Chall: There are fifty-two agencies or water rights people in this
Golb: That's right.
Chall: Who are your representatives primarily in the [California] assembly
and in Congress?
Golb: In the state legislature, it's Tom Woods and Bernie Richter.
They're both in the assembly. The senators that represent most of
the district are Maurice Johannessen and Tim Leslie, although there
are other members of the legislature that are pretty close to what
we do and follow it pretty closely. There's a certain affinity for
what a lot of farmers in the Sacramento Valley have accomplished in
the last ten or fifteen years.
And then at the federal level, in Congress of course, it's Vic
Fazio and Wally Merger that represent most of the acreage our
Chall: And you are the executive director since 19
Golb: Since September of 1993.
Chall: That was after the election, of course. What did you do in the
interim after you left Senator [John] Seymour?
Golb: You know, I kind of look at it as though I was displaced. It's one
way to look at it, in the election of '92. Which is something
we'll have to talk about later.
After Senator Seymour was defeated, Governor Wilson appointed
me as a deputy director for policy and planning at California's
Department of Food and Agriculture. I was there for nine months.
Chall: Well, that was a good learning experience.
Golb: It certainly was.
Staff Position with Senator Thad Cochran
Chall: What's your background in education that got you onto Senator
Seymour's staff and then into this job?
Golb: Well, I have a bachelor's degree in communication from Arizona
State University in Tempe, Arizona [December 1985]. I have a
master's degree in international relations from Columbia University
in New York [October 1989]. I was particularly focused on trade
and international economics when I came out of graduate school,
went to Washington, D.C., and those jobsfor example, on the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee or being a foreign affairs
advisor, or a legislative assistant to a U.S. Senatorare very
difficult to get. Most of the people who hold those jobs have a
tremendous amount of experience, either in the military or in
academics. And right out of graduate school, it was difficult for
me to compete with them. Ultimately I did get offered a job in
Senator Thad Cochran 's office.
Senator Cochran is the senior senator from the state of
Mississippi who's been in Washington since the mid -seventies. He's
a very able, very well-respected senator--well-respected by both
Democrats and Republicans. And they had a job available in their
office. They couldn't find anybody from Mississippi, and I
happened to show up on the doorstep. They put me through probably
the most extensive interview process I've been through. I was
waiting tables at night at the Restaurant America at Union Station.
I was privileged to get that job; those positions are very
difficult to get. So I was very fortunate and started working on
agricultural issues [October 1989].
Legislative Assistant to Senator John Seymour
Golb: After Governor [Pete] Wilson won the gubernatorial race against
Dianne Feinstein in 1990, Senator Seymour was appointed to fulfill
the remainder of Governor Wilson's term in the Senate. Most of
Governor Wilson's staff that had worked on agriculture and resource
issues knew me. They liked me because I was a guy from California
working for a Mississippi senator. That doesn't happen a lot;
Senate offices tend to hire people from their own state.
So I had known and worked with many of Governor Wilson's
staff, and they thought I would be a good candidate to work for
Senator Seymour. So when Senator Seymour was appointed, I went
through an interview process and was hired. My first day on the
job was March 18, 1991. You've recognized that date because that
was the date of the hearing in Los Angeles on S. 484.
Chall: You did grow up in California?
Golb: Pretty much. I lived in southern California, in Van Nuys, through
elementary school and started junior school. Then our family moved
out of state, and we moved all across the U.S. Lived in Minnesota,
upstate New York, Arizona, Texas.
Chall: You considered yourself a Calif ornian then to some degree? Or it
Golb: Well, it matters. Much of my family is still here in California.
My sister and father are in Los Angeles, and I have a lot of
relatives in Costa Mesa and Santa Barbara and throughout the state.
So I do consider myself a Californian with a lot of other state
Chall: Now we have you in Senator Seymour's office on March 18. What kind
of duties were you assigned at that time?
Golb: I was hired as a legislative assistant, which as you are aware is a
staff person that has responsibility for various issues or
committees. In this case, I was assigned two committees that
Senator Seymour served on: the Senate Agriculture Committee and the
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. It's a lot of work
and is unusual that one legislative assistant would handle two
committees, but in this case that's the way it was, and it was a
wonderful opportunity for me to have that kind of privilege to work
two committees and be involved in a lot of different legislation.
Chall: Did water take up most of your time eventually?
Golb: Eventually it became the dominant issue even though I still had a
lot of other responsibilities. The Senate Agriculture Committee
passed several bills, there were hearings, there were appointments
--President Bush appointed a new deputy secretary of agriculture
and a new secretary of agriculture during my tenure as well as
other positions in the department. Those all require Senate
confirmation, so there are lengthy confirmation hearings. There
was some legislation on dairy issues as well as a technical
corrections bill to the 1990 farm bill. So there was a fair amount
of activity in the Senate Agriculture Committee.
At the time, we were in the midst of NAFTA, the North American
Free Trade Agreement. We had a lot of problems at that time during
those two years with Mexico in terms of imports and exports of
fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, of course, we had our
trade negotiators overseas trying to finalize GATT, the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. So we were heavily involved, and a
lot of my time initially was involved in a lot of agricultural
issues to which Senator Seymour played at times a major role on
some issues and at other times less of a role. But the water
issues on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and
particularly the Central Valley Project Improvement Act [CVPIA]--
began to dominate not only my time but Senator Seymour's time.
Senator Seymour's Background
Chall: How much background did Senator Seymour have on water issues in
Golb: Surprisingly more so than a lot of people initially gave him
credit. He had been a local mayor; he was the mayor of Anaheim and
was involved in the typical issues that a mayor is involved in
which include water treatment facilities, water transportation
facilities. He had been involved in real estate and had been
involved in many office buildings and apartment buildings and other
real estate ventures, so he was familiar with it at that level.
Then when he came to the [California] legislature, of course the
legislature had considered a number of water bills that he played a
role in, to a certain extent. So he had a lot more knowledge than
the average Calif ornian might about water issues in the state.
Chall: In an article in the California Journal shortly after Senator
Seymour was appointed, the author, Jeff Weir, said that when he was
appointed the Republican conservatives opposed him. 1 That was
primarily on abortion issues. The conventional wisdom was that
Seymour would be defeated by the Democrats in 1992. I wondered
whether that was a problem to him all the way through in his
campaignstrying to appease conservatives. I'm not sure of that,
but that was said at the beginning of his term.
Golb: Jeff Weir was an optimist. He was an optimist because he came to
work for Senator Seymour shortly after Senator Seymour was
appointed and became his California press secretary. He served
throughout and was equally displaced like I and others in December
of '92. So he was an optimistic guy who made a prediction which
Senator Seymour, like Governor Wilson, is a moderate. He's a
moderate Republican. He was pro-choice, and he had actually
supported more environmental provisions than most people gave him
credit for. He secured a provision in an energy bill that was also
tied closely to the water bill: a ban on offshore oil drilling off
the coast of California into the next century. He had done a lot
of other things too, but they weren't widely acclaimed, they
weren't picked up by the newspapers or the media. And they were
basically overlooked by much of the environmental community who
didn't want to give him credit and who were supporting Senator
I'm not aware of Senator Seymour trying to appease
conservatives on the issues that I was responsible for, primarily
agricultural and water issues. I didn't see a philosophical
difference in his perspective or his positioning on those issues.
In fact, he was consistenthis initial position on CVPIA was
fairly consistent all the way through to the end. His views became
more focused and sharper, his knowledge increased tremendously, his
grasp of the technical matters grew, but through to the end his
initial position was pretty much consistent.
In fact, it's probably easy for me to argue that had he wanted
to take a more crass or political position, it would have been
'Jeff Weir, "Seymour for the Senate," California Journal, February
1991, p. 57.
extremely easy, it would have been more lucrative in terms of
fundraising, and it probably would have gathered more votes for him
in the election. But he chose, I think, not to do that because he
came up with a position, based upon the initial hearings. And I
have to admit I didn't help him develop his initial position; all
we did was refine it.
Chall: By the time you came along, the Bradley bill [S. 484] had already
been introduced- -February 1991--and the Miller bill, H.R. 1306, had
been introduced March 6. There had been some drafts of [Senate
bill] 2016 already written.
Early Drafts of Senator Seymour's Bill S. 2016
Golb: That's correct; 2016 was introduced on November 21 of '91.
Chall: Prior to that there were quite a number of drafts written.
Golb: Well, there were a number of drafts--
Chall: Because I have them dated May 21, '91; June 19; and September 5.
There might have been others in between. Then S. 2016 was
introduced on November 21. The earlier ones, I think, had been
drafted by [Stuart] Somach, probably, and [David] Schuster. 1
don't know who wrote the last one. So some of these bills were not
written by Senator Seymour.
Golb: You need to go back a little bit further. In March of '91, Senator
Seymour introduced a bill that was S. 728. The title of that bill
was the Upper Sacramento River Fisheries Restoration Act. That
bill contained a number of provisions in it to resolve fishery
issues on the upper Sacramento River. And that grew out of a local
effortin the late eighties, early nineties. As the fishery
problems began to increase in California, local fishermen, sport
fishermen, commercial fishermen, as well as others that were
interested in the watershed, came together and identified a number
of projects needed to be undertaken to protect and restore the
fishery. So Senator Seymour took those provisions that came out of
that local effort and introduced that as a bill in March of '91.
That bill was a genesis for a lot of the specific provisions that
were included in 2016, that was introduced later in November of
November '21, 1391
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD SENATE
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\ captors and forced to endure /the
pities of the Infamous Bataan
march. The courage, vigillnce,
pyalty displayed by the defenders
l-taan will live forever in the
i of American military history.
As a result of this action, all U.S.
Army \ personnel at Bataan/ were
awarde* the Bronze Star. However,
the over 3,000 sailors, and marines
who fought with the same /tenacity
and suffered the same terrible fate of
the Bataan death march were not
awarded the Bronze Star. /I believe
that the tact that these Americans
were in another branch of ihe service
should not pen y them the same recog
nition and \honor that their Army
counterpartA received. Tne American
heroes of tne United States Naval
Service desenve that recognition and
that honor. Ify my view. /that honor is
Mr. President. I ask unanimous con
sent that the t_xt of trie bill be print
ed in the RECOI .
,o ob/ection. the bill
be /printed in the
RECORD, as folio
Be it enacted try
America in Congress
SECTION I. AWARD OF Ttf* BRONZE STAR TO NAVY
SERVED Oil i
(a) FINDINGS. Congi
'mate and House of
United States of
RPS PERSONNEL WHO
IDOL THE PHIL-
CD United States Arm
the command of /Gen
wright who fought In
during the defend of Co:
Philippines, at the outbrea
were cap cured
:pdcr Island, the
World War II
t in the de-
were awarded U* bronze
(2) Approximately 3.(
Navy and Marine Corps
in various unit* under the
of General wainwnghc. fou
tense of Corrffgidor Island.
(3) These Navy and Marine
nel were not/awarded Che broi
ant Co Navy/ policy not to a'
gallantry to/ ail personnel in a
(4) the Navy and Marine Co
demonstrated courage, enduran
trepidlty Ih battle and In suffe:
vatlons ol battle, capture and
after co.uc.ure that was every bit
as their Army counterparts.
(5) An award of the bronze star ihedal to
Navy afad Marine Corps personnel who
served inder General Wainwright Invthe de
fense tl Corregldor Island provides Appro
priate/ recognition of and honor fi
courage, endurance, and intrepidity o
AWARD or BRONZE STAR MEDAL.
President Is urged and requested to r
that the Secretary of an appropriate
department award the bronze
mrfdal to each member of the United .._
Njtvy or Marine Corps who served under
neral Jonathan Wamwngnt dunnc tr\e
fense of Corridor Island, the Philli
inea. during World War II.
By Mr. SEYMOUR:
S. 2016. A bill to protect, restore, and
enhance fish, and wildlife haoitat
within the central valley of California,
mitigate Central Valley project im
pacts in order to maintain the contin
ued orderly operation of the Central
Valley project, and for other purposes:
to the Committee on Energy and Nat
CENTRAL VALLET PROJECT FISH AND WTLDUTt
ACT OF 19*1
Mr. SEYMOUR. Mr. President. I rise
today to Introduce the Central Valley
Project Fish and Wildlife Act of 1991.
Mr. President, this bill is a begin
ning. It is a bill written in. by and for
Californians. It is the product of Cali
fornia groups: urban, agricultural, con
servation interests all working togeth
er to develop legislation to address the
fish and wildlife needs in the Central
Valley. This is a first step In an at
tempt to resolve the water dilemma
which has torn at the State of Califor
nia for decades.
Specifically, this bill provides a
mechanism for water transfers from
agricultural use to urban and environ
mental uses. It includes actions for the
restoration of fish and wildlife, and
mandates firm water supplies for the
wildlife refuges and fishery habitat.
And it preserves the agricultural econ
omy which is so vital to our state.
For the record, my position on Cen
tral Valley project legislation has been
clear from the very beginning. I have
strongly opposed a federally mandated
reallocaticn of California State water,
and I will continue to oppose any Fed
eral legislation which dictates how a
State will use or allocate water within
its borders. Since the first hearing on
Senator Bradley's bill. S.484. in Los
Angeles on March 18. I have opposed
any Federal reallocation of California
water. In my remarks at that hearing.
I stated that the political will of the
citizens of the State of California
should not be substituted by the
wisdom of the Potomac. I said then
and still do have faith in the people of
California to resolve our problems.
This bill is a step in that direction.
I advocate consensus rather than ad
vancing a particular bottom line or
specific view or position. This bill
allows flexibility for the people of
California to work together to improve
upon this legislation with one simple
objective. The objective is balance.
California is growing at an estimated
rate of 700,000 people a year. Imagine
a city the size of San Francisco. This la
California's annual growth. The de
mands upon the natural resources in
California will only continue to in
crease as our population grows. If Cali
fornia is to ever clear this hurdle
which threatens both our economy
and the quality of life for our citizens,
we must balance the often competing
needs of our cities and rural communi
ties with our limited natural resources.
I do not believe that commerce and
conservation are incompatible.
I believe that we must balance the
quality of life for our citizens. We
must balance the often competing
needs of cities and rural communities.
And in ensuring that commerce and
conservation are not incompatible,
there is going to be sacrifice and diffi
cult decisions lie ahead of us. but
working together, we will resolve the
water dilemma which has polarized
our State for so long.
Having attended all four hearings on
CVP legislation. It is clear to this Sen
ator that any CVP legislation that
properly addresses fish and wildlife
problems, can only result from com
promise, cooperation, and consensus.
Therefore, the only condition that I
attach to this bill is simple. Califor
nians must make the decisions that
will shape this bill. As it will be Cali-
fomians who will make the difficult
decisions regarding water policy in my
State, it will be Caiifomians ?.-ho must
make these sacrifices.
This bill will provide firm supplies of
water for fish and for wildlife. It will
result in the transfer of water from
agricultural use to thirsty cities such
as Los Angeles and it will begin to
bring about the restoration of the en
vironment. Are these not long-term
water policy solutions?
This bill is the beginnins of a re
sponsible and equitable solution. I am
willing to consider any ideas from Cali
fornians on how to improve it. I am
specifically Interested in several areas.
Today I will be Ailing various mem
bers of several conservation groups,
such as the California Chapters of
Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Con
servancy, and agricultural organiza
tions in California, to request their
continued participation in developing
a solution, as well as to discuss deliver
ing much-needed water to rice land in
the winter for duck habitat.
This can provide off-stream storage,
as well as provide substantial benefit
to wintering waterfowl who rest and
feed as they make their way south
through the Pacific Flyway.
I will also request their input, on the
potential benefit and feasibility of in
corporating fallowed and set-aside
land into dryland habitat for wildlife
benefits. I will also speak with fishing
interests to seek their input on specific
ideas and recommendations to begin to
restore the north coast and river fish
eries. This bill includes several provi
sions such as the rehabilitation of the
Coleman National fish hatchery, the
installation of a temperature control
device at Shasta Dam. and a program
for the replenishing of river gravels
for spawning. While these projects will
help restore the fisheries. I realize
that any restoration will not be com
plete without increased supplies of
This bill recognizes the importance
of stabilizing and augmenting river
flows to restore, and if possible, en
hance the natural production of anad-
roraous fish. The economic and asthe-
tic importance of salmon and steel-
hcad runs, striped bass, and other fish
eries along the north coast of Califor
nia and in the rivers and streams are
vital to our Slate, as well as to the
Stales of Oregon and Washington. In
March of this year. I introduced S.
728. the Upper Sacramento River
Fishery Resources Restoration Act.
Many of the requirements contained
in that bill. Including mandated in-
stream flow requirements, have been
embodied in this bill. The Secretary of
the Interior is directed to work with
the State of California in establishing
desirable flows in the rivers and
streams below project dams. Once es
tablished, these Hows will become a
firm requirement of the Central
In addition, the bill immediately
commits water to the wildlife refuges
in the central valley and then in
creases the supplies to be made avail
able to these important wildlife and
waterfowl areas. Upon enactment of
this legislation, the Secretary of the
Interior will begin the immediate de
livery of more than 380.000 acre-feet
of firm water supplies to the 15 Na
tional Wildlife Refuges and Wildlife
Management Areas in the central
valley. The wetlands and associated
habitat are important to several
threatened and endangered species
such as the American pei-grine falcon,
bald eagie. Aleutian Canada goose, and
San Joaquin kit fox. and support a
winter population of nearly 6 million
waterfowl. Sixty percent of the ducks,
geese, swans, and millions of shore
birds of the Pacific Flyway crowd the
existing acres. The bill directs, by the
turn of the century, the Secretary of
the Interior to increase the water
supply to over 525.000 acre-feet. This
has been identified by the Secretary of
the Interior as the amount needed to
fully manage all lands within the ex
isting refuge boundaries.
I am committed to making such
water supplies to the refuges and to
fish a requirement of the Central
Growth in California's urban areas
is causing an increasing strain on the
State's developed water supplies. It is
no secret that agriculture accounts for
a significant amount of the water de
liveries in California. This bill provides
a mechanism for voluntary transfers
of water from agricultural users to
urban users. Water may be transferred
from a Central Valley project water
contractor to any water user in the
State. Limits are placed on the quanti
ty that may be transferred out of an
area so as to protect local ground
water and environmental resources
and to protect the economies of rural
farming communities dependent on
water for agricultural production.
Such transfers will be consistent with
California State water and environ
mental laws. The water which will be
available for transfer includes water
resulting from programs involving the
conjunctive use of surface and ground
water supplies, water conservation
programs, and temporary or perma
nent land fallowing. The transfer pro
vision in this bill is the result of long
ar.d difficult negotiations between ag
riculture and urban users. This accom
plishment is truly to the benefit of all
On October 31. this body passed the
Reclamation States Emergency
Drought Relief Act of 1991 which con
tained authorities for the Secretary of
the Interior to carry out actions
during drought conditions to reduce
impacts on water users and fish and
wildlife. Man}' authorities in that bill
are needed even during nondrought
years to meet the multiple demands
for water in California. Some of the
concepts of that bill have been incor
porated here, such as conjunctive use
of ground water and surface water and
obtaining additional sources of water
supplies. Others may be added as dis
cussions are undertaken.
I am also interested in a funding
mechanism devoted exclusively to the
restoration of fish and wildlife in the
central valley. Provisions in the bill
direct the Central Valley project con
tractors to make annual payments into
a fund established for this very pur
pose. Payments to the fund, of ap
proximately S5.5 to $7.5 million annu
ally will commence the first water
year following enactment. Over 40
years, the total water contractor con
tributions will generate nearly S290
million for this purpose.
Mr. President. I intend to continue
to work with the chairman of the
Energy Committee. Senator JOHNSTON.
as we continue the development of a
responsible and balanced solution for
California. In fact. Mr. President, sev
eral of the chairman's remarks at the
September 4 hearing in San Francisco
were helpful, and we have worked to
incorporate these ideas into this bill.
Mr. President. I am committed to
the resolution of the fish and wildlife
problems in California's central valley.
I am committed to the resolution of
the water shortage problems faced by
urban areas throughout the State.
This bill is the beginning of the resolu
tion of those problems.
At tlifev request of Mr.
the namespf the Senator /from Ala
bama [Mr. HEFLIN] was adaed as a co
sponsor of S\474, a bin to prohibit
sports gambling^under/State law.
At the request/or\Mr. GLENN, the
name of the >oenatoJ\from Florida
[Mr. GRAKAMjwas addeckas a cospon
sor of S. 487. a bill to fcmend title
XVIII of/the Social Security Act to
provide/for coverage of boms mass
measurements for certain individuals
under part B of the Medicare
sor of S.
At the request of Mr. INOUYE. hut
ame was withdrawn as a cosnonsor qf
3. G64. a bill to require that healpi
vmrnings be included in alcoholic twv-
erpge advertisements, and for ottfcr
\ s ' * Ti /
Al the request of Mr. DODD./ the
name of the Senator from Connecticut
[Mr .\LIEBERMAN] was added as k. co-
sponsor of S. 878. A bill to assist ,tn im
plementing the Plan of Action adopted
by the World Summit for Children,
and f o\ other purposes.
request of Mr. GLENN, the
the Senator from /Vermont
RDS] was added as/a cospon-
1128. a bill to impose sanc-
nst foreign persons and
tes persons than assist for
eign countries in acquiring a nuclear
explosive device or unsaferuarded spe
cial nuclean material. arjd for other
At the rediiest of tyr. DODD. the
name of the Senator from Tennessee
[Mr. GORE] was added/as a cosponsor
of S. 1423. a bfll to amend the Securi
ties Exchange Act of 1934 with respect
to limited partnership/ rollups.
At the requestAof/Mr. BREAUX. the
name of the Senator from West Vir
ginia [Mr. RocKzmxER] was added as
a cosponsor of S. 1641. A bill to amend
section 468A of tr& Internal Revenue
Code of 1986 witp\respect to deduc
tions for decommissioning costs of nu
At the request of Mr. DASCHLE, the
name of the Senator from New York
[Mr. MOTNTKMJ] was added as a co
sponsor of S. 1677, a bill to amend title
XIX of the Sacial Security Act to pro
vide for coverage of alcoholism and
drug dependency residential treatment
sen-ices for .pregnant women and cer
tain family members under the medic-
aid program, and for other\purposes.
At the rfequest of Mr. SAHBANES. the
name of he Senator froimMichigan
[Mr. LEVIN] was added as a cosponsor
of S. 169B. a bill to establish \ Nation
al Falleg Firefighters Foundation.
At the request of Mr. BUMPERS, the
names/of the Senator from Wisconsin
[Mr. KOHL] and the Senator from Mis
souri /[Mr. DANTORTH] were adaed as
cosponsors of S. 1755. a bill to reform
the^oncessions policies of the Nation
al Hark Sen-ice, and for other pur-
It the request of Mr. BRYAN, flhc
names of the Senator from Hawaii
lyir. AKAKA], the Senator from Ca
fornia [Mr. CRANSTON], the Senator
from North Dakota [Mr. CONRAD], the
/Senator from Arizona [Mr. DtCoN-\
Chall: [shows drafts to Golb] This is the information that I had on the
earlier drafts of what were probably 2016. And I don't really know
just where I picked that up.
Golb: Yes, this is a draft of 2016 in some of the early stages.
Chall: And they were written primarily by Stuart Somach and David
Golb: That's correct. That first date on this draft is May 21.
Golb: May 21, then June 19, and September 5. That's correct.
Concerns About Reclamation Reform
Chall: Some of my information comes out of your files and your journals,
which I will refer to quite often. On April 23, your journal noted
that you wrote a letter to [Richard] Darman, who was in the Office
of Management and Budget, about acreage limits and pricing
provisions in the Miller-Bradley bill. And I wondered why you had
written to Darman.
Golb: Well, actually I didn't write to Dick Darman; Senator Seymour did.
That letter was an attempt to address some rules that we believed
the Department of Interior and the Bush Administration were
considering changing that had to do with the Reclamation Reform
Act. Not many people are familiar with it, but the way the
Reclamation Reform Act works is that there's an acreage limit so
that a farmer can own 960 acres of land, and they can receive water
from a Bureau of Reclamation facility and receive it at the price
it was agreed to when those contracts were negotiated. If a farmer
owns land that exceeds 960 acres , then they have to pay a higher
rate, the full price, on the acreage that exceeds the land.
Well, the history of the West is one of partnerships, and
there are a lot of cases where farmers have brothers or sisters or
cousins or uncles or aunts or whatever that work together. It's
not uncommon at all; we can go five miles from where we're talking
today, and you can meet a farm operation where two or three
brothers are involved. And because of tax purposes and because of
federal requirements, each individual will own 960 acres.
What the department was considering at that time, and what
proponents like George Miller have always advocated is, "Well,
that's an outrage, and we shouldn't let these individual landowners
own 960-acre tracts separately when they're farming it as one
operation." So Senator Seymour's letter to Darman was simply to
advise them that, in California at least, there are common
practices where people farm land together and that should not be
unfairly jeopardized just because there are some out there that
have taken advantage of the system. And there clearly are.
There are some operations in the San Joaquin valley that have
clearly flouted the 960-acre provision of the law. And everyone's
aware of those operations, and all we were trying to do is to
advise the department not to hit the smaller individuals that were
living within the letter of the law and the intent of the law in
their haste to go after those breaking the law.
Chall: That's one of the oldest problems around for the Central Valley
Golb: Have you seen a copy of the letter?
Chall: No, all I had was your journal.
Golb: I have a copy of the signed letter that Senator Seymour sent.
Chall: I think that would nice to put into the archives.
Golb: Here's the closing paragraph [reads]: "I strongly oppose any change
in reclamation law that would disrupt normal management practices
used by the family farmer to create economies of scale, to take
full advantage of management and technical expertise, and to remain
competitive at home and abroad."
So you can see that this was not an attempt to circumvent what
was happening in the legislature or within the department, although
we were opposed to bills that Congressman [George] Miller and
Senator [Bill] Bradley had introduced on acreage reform. This was
simply to point out to the department: Look, if you're going to do
this, do it right. You want to go after those that breaking the
law, great. But in your haste, don't jeopardize normal family
Chall: I know that you said that Senator Bradley attended only three of
the hearings there were four in '91--
Golb: Senator Bradley attended three of the four hearings. Senator
Seymour attended all four. March 18, Los Angeles; May 8,
Washington; May 18, Sacramento; and September 4, San Francisco.
Concerns About the Miller-Bradley Bills
Chall: What was the primary problem with respect to Senator Seymour and
the farmers' take on the Miller-Bradley bills? Was it primarily
the transfer issue?
Golb: Both Senator Bradley 's bill, which was introduced first, then
Congressman Miller's bill, which was introduced second, were
fundamentally different. You know now it's been almost five years
since I've participated in that debate and I haven't had a chance
to really consider those thoughtfully since, but they were
fundamentally different. I think Senator Bradley philosophically,
looked at this issue and sincerely wanted to address two problems:
some of the environmental problems that the Central Valley Project
had caused, which are well documented, and he wanted to develop a
water transfer arrangement that would free up some of the water
supplies from within the Central Valley Project.
Golb: And I think there was a sharp difference between Miller and
Bradley. And so even though everybody refers to the ultimate
legislation in [H.R.] 429 as the Miller-Bradley bill, there were
fundamental differences between the two in how they approached the
issue as politicians, as policy makers, and where they were coming
from philosophically. Very, very different. I personally believe
that Senator Bradley was coming at this at a much more pure policy
level as opposed to Congressman Miller, who had much more of a
Chall: I see. You generally agree with Jason Peltier, who felt that
Miller was punishing agriculture. 1
Golb: It's rare that Jason and I actually agree. We're probably not
going to agree on a lot of things, but yes, in that perspective I
do agree with Jason.
'Jason Peltier, The Passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement
Act, 1991-1992. Regional Oral History Office, University of California,
United States Senate Subcommittee on Water and Power,
hearing on S. 484, Sacramento, California, May 18, 1991.
Left to right: Senator Bill Bradley, Senator John Seymour,
Richard K. Golb.
Concerns About The Omnibus Water Bill, H.R. 429
Chall: In June of '91, H.R. 429 [Omnibus Water Bill] passed the House.
Initially it contained almost no CVP provisions, and it was
considered weak on reclamation reform. In October, Bradley held a
hearing and claimed that he would put the CVPIA into 429. Were you
concerned about 429 even before Senator Bradley claimed he would
include the CVPIA?
Golb: There was always concern that CVP legislation would be included in
429. Remember, in the prior Congress, going back to 1990 before
Governor Wilson was elected governor out here and came into office,
there had been an attempt to move reclamation reform legislation
through that was tied to the projects. All the western water
projects that were included in 429, all of those titleshave you
looked at where they go? Arizona, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, South
Dakota, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, Utahjust about every
state in the entire West had a provision in 429. And they had been
held up, held hostage, by Congressman Miller and Senator Bradley
for years. So we initially assumed that after Senator Bradley had
introduced his legislation that it was very possible that the
hostage for all of those projects would once again be something
that they wanted. Initially, we were less concerned, but as time
went on, it became apparent that their strategy was to tie CVP
reform to all of the other western water projects.
Chall: At the Sacramento hearing, Bradley was there with [Tom] Jensen;
Somach and Schuster were present. According to my notes, there was
a debate about transfers. Seymour said that the urban people must
get on board the Seymour bill. Then, did he ultimately work out
something with Carl Boronkay so that there would be water transfers
that would be satisfactory to the Metropolitan Water District
Analyzing Senator Bradley 's Bill, S. 484
Golb: Right. Were you going to talk about S. 484 or the Bradley bill, or
do you feel you have enough information on that?
Chall: I'd like to find out whatever you have to say about S. 484.
Golb: Okay. I think it's important to note and I didn't see a lot of
this in Jason's or Barry's interviews that while I personally
believe that Senator Bradley 's intentions were sincere, there were
major legislative problems with his bill. 1 Even though Senator
Bradley was focused on the water transfer issue--! mean, if you
look at the bill, and I've got a copy of it right herethe total
amount of water that could be transferred . Do you have a copy of
Golb: What it basically says is that the secretary of interior is
authorized to make available 100,000 acre-feet of Central Valley
Project water for sale through water service contracts. That's on
page five, line five. So basically the way that we were going to
solve this water supply problem in California was by making 100,000
acre- feet available. That's it.
There was a lot of other problems with the bill. It would
have set major precedents for all of the other irrigation projects
throughout the seventeen western reclamation states. It would have
redefined the project purpose of the Central Valley Project, which
as you know was prior authorized for navigation, flood control,
irrigation. In 1956 it was amended to include project
authorization for fish and wildlife, even though it hadn't been
operated appropriately to handle the problems with fish and
But Bradley 's bill would have made fish and wildlife a project
purpose almost to the exclusion of urban water supplies,
agricultural water supplies, navigation, flood control, power
generation. And there's big problems with that when you start to
look at the financing. You can only pay a certain amount for water
based on what you're doing with it. And if what you do with it is
you take 10 percent of the entire water supply of the CVP--which is
what the Bradley bill would have done- -and reallocate it,
somebody's got to pay for that. The general public, water users,
whether they are urban or agricultural, power contractors. Those
costs have to be allocated somewhere, and the Bradley bill didn't
include any provisions for allocation for the financial--
Chall: Just the water.
Golb: Just the water. Just reallocate 10 percent of the water. And a 10
percent reallocation of water is kind of like a 10 percent flat
tax: it's fair to some, unfair to many. There are many water
districts, urban and agricultural, that have implemented tremendous
'Jason Peltier and Barry Nelson (separate volumes), The Passage of the
Central Valley Project Improvement Act. 1991-1992. Regional Oral History
Office, The Bancroft Library, the University of California, Berkeley, 199A.
water conservation programs. And there are others that have a way
to go. But a 10 percent reallocation from a water district that's
already implemented extensive water conservation programs and is
using a minimal baseline, that's a serious cut. You're talking
about, you know, responding to that maybe by fallowing land. Well,
that's a bad proposal whether you consider it under an economic
perspective or under an environmental perspective.
So there was some serious problems. The water transfer
provision in the bill would have basically auctioned this off to
the highest bidder.
Chall: That's where the money would have come from?
Golb: Well, that's where part of the money for the water transfer would
have come. The secretary was available to make this waterthis is
on page five, line eighteen: "Payments shall in no case be less
than one hundred dollars per acre-foot." So they arbitrarily
established the floor for what the minimal amount of the cost would
have been for the water. So do you see what's happening here?
It's that 100,000 acre-feet would have been taken out of the
project, of water that was already being delivered to people, it
would have been put on the auction block, the minimum price would
have been a hundred dollars , the maximum price would have been
whatever the highest bidder was willing to pay. Now who could pay
for that water? If there was a bidding war, would you guess that
MWD or the city of Orange Cove would win that bidding war? Now you
know as well as I do that when you put a public resource like water
on the auction block, you establish a real dangerous precedent. I
believe Bradley 's provision needed to deal with third party
impactsregional concerns, environmental ones.
Chall: Now that water was already that isn't part of the unallocated
water that was considered-
Go Ib: That's correct.
Chall: Is this unallocated water?
Golb: No. This was water that the secretary of interior would have made
Chall: Could he have taken it from unallocated water, though?
Golb: Actually, according to the Bureau of Reclamation, there is no
unallocated water in the Central Valley Project. There was talk years
ago of a million acre- feet that was unallocated, but it's not there.
Chall: And it wasn't there?
Golb: I don't think it is. The bureau today says it's not there. I
think water contractors in the San Joaquin Valley made the argument
that there was always this unallocated yield so that they could get
more water, but I've never seen it. It's never been put on--.
There is a moratorium on contracting, which Congressman Miller got
into effect precisely because he doesn't think there's an
unallocated yield. I think most folks that are very familiar with
the project and project operations would tell you that there is no
unallocated yield in the Central Valley Project.
Chall: I see.
The Minority Report of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Golb: Have you read the committee report that was written on S. 484 7 1
Golb: Okay. Can I read you a section of it?
Chall: Yes. This is the committee report on S. 484?
Golb: This is the committee report on S. 484 from the Energy and Natural
Resources Committee on May 7, 1991, and I would be happy to make
this copy available to you. Here's one of the editorial comments
in the beginning of this committee report: "The impact of the
legislation, S. 484, on the rural economy is likely to be
devastating especially in those areas in which agriculture supports
the entire economy."
Chall: That's from the committee or the subcommittee?
Golb: That's from Jim Beirne, committee staff, who has worked on the
energy committee for--I don't know- -twenty- five years?
Chall: He's the senior counsel for the minority. That means Senator
Golb: That's correct. At the time, Senator Wallop was the ranking
Republican on the committee. That's correct.
Chall: All right, I would like to have this. Do you want to make a copy
of it or just give it to me?
report, plus correspondence, articles, and memoranda, have been
deposited in the Water Resources Archives.
Golb: Why don't you let me hang on to it, and what I'll doall these
documents you want I'll put right there, and I'll make copies for
Chall: I just wanted to know where that came from. That was the minority
Problems With the Bill
Golb: Right. The point of this is that there were a lot of problems with
it. In addition, the state of California had just initiated a
drought water bank which was much heralded in California. This
would have put the state in competition with the federal government
for making this water available in terms of the water bank.
Bradley 's bill also really preempted state law in that the Bradley
bill required, mandated, a 10 percent reallocation of water from
farming communities to the environment.
The only problem is that that water isn't federal water; under
water doctrine law, all the water that resides in the state is
California water. So really it was a preemption of states' rights.
Most argue that the state should have the right to water use and
water allocation. In this case, Bradley 's bill would have changed
that and would have unilaterally redirected a certain amount of
California's water supply.
Chall: I was under the impression that Senator Bradley was always
concerned that California water rights would be taken into account
in his bills.
Golb: I think overall he was concerned about some of the legal aspects,
but the fact is that the way the bill was drafted there would have
been some negative effects from it in terms of the reallocation of
water, conflict with state law, auctioning off water, the way water
contracts would have been amended- -there were some major problems
with the bill.
Chall: Let's see, that bill (S. 484) came out in February. What were
Senator Seymour and his staff doing with respect to this? I mean,
you had the ear of Jim Beirne and Senator Wallop.
Golb: I don't know if we ever had Senator Wallop's ear. Senator Wallop
was an excellent ranking committee member on the committee. He was
a good senator, and he attempted to help us as much as possible.
But his obligation in this situation was to the committee itself,
which included a number of members, Republican and Democrat, from
the West, that had projects in H.R. 429.
We worked well with Jim Beirne. Jim Beirne is an outstanding
Senate staff person; he is bright, he is knowledgeable, he is
probably one of the finest Senate staff in Washington.
Chall: I noticed that you had contacted him quite often. I mean, he was
one of the people that you turned to frequently when things were
getting pretty hot.
Golb: He was very helpful, and at that time I didn't have a lot of
experience on water issues from the federal perspective, and Jim
was very helpful and also had high expectations for Senate staff
whose senators were on committee. So his expectations of me were
pretty high. He is a just a fine person and very knowledgeable.
Gary Ellsworth, who was the counsel on the committee, was also
heavily involved in this debate. Gary, very knowledgeable, worked
on both the House side and in the Senate. He was also helpful to
us. Both Jim and Gary attempted to do as much as they could for
The Activities of Senator Seymour and His Staff
Chall: We're still concerned about the senator's bill.
Golb: I think you just asked me what we were doing after the Bradley bill
was introduced. After the Bradley bill was introduced, we spent a
lot of time talking to all of the various interests, trying to
determine their view of the bill. We did a lot of analysis of the
bill in terms of looking at it from the legal perspective,
economic, environmental. The state of California reviewed the
bill. A number of water districts, urban, agricultural,
environment interests looked at the bill, and there were many
problems with it. There were a lot of problems with the bill from
a drafting standpoint, from a legal standpoint. The state of
California opposed the bill, and a lot of water districts wrote
Senator Bradley letterswhich I have some copies of where they
had concerns with the bill. And there were some things that needed
to be cleaned up. That's not unusual. Often when a bill is
introduced, it's not a perfect product, but there were some things
that needed to be addressed immediately.
After the Bradley bill was introduced, Senator Seymour
introduced S. 728, which was the Upper Sacramento River Fisheries
Restoration billthat was in March of '91. Throughout the early
part of that spring, we spent a good deal of time reviewing the
Bradley bill and the Miller bill, doing a lot of outreach with
California constituents and interests in the state, attempting to
look at what the environmental problems really were.
Senator Seymour spent a lot of time in California and spent a
lot of time viewing facilities, talking to a lot of different
people. I spent a tremendous amount of time in California and
spoke with every single interest that either called, wrote, or
asked for a meeting. And Senator Seymour talked with nearly every
interest. Now I know that some in the environmental community, and
Barry Nelson in particular, claim that Senator Seymour would never
meet with them and had never met with them. That's just not the
case. In fact, I have some documents that I think are pretty
persuasive-- just to kind of show you what Senator Seymour had done.
Contacts with the Environmentalists
Golb: If you go back to the very beginning, Senator Seymour asked Ed
Osann of the National Wildlife Federationthis is in June of 1991
--to assemble all of the environmental interests that he believed
would be useful to talk about Central Valley Project legislation.
Ed Osann was in Washington; he was the representative of the
National Wildlife Federation at the time, and it was our
understanding that he was kind of leading the California
environmental community effort on CVP reform. So Senator Seymour
wrote him a letter and said, "We would like to get all these people
together and start talking."
Chall: Did they?
Golb: Yes, we did. In fact, we met with Ed- -Ed did pull together a lot
of people including Kathryn Tollerton from the Defenders of
Wildlife, James Waltman from the National Audubon Society, Don
Hellman from the Wilderness Society.
These are all people that Senator Seymour wrote letters to on
June twenty- seventh of 1991, thanking them for meeting with me and
asked them a number of questions. Here's a couple of them: "Will
the measures provided in Senator Bradley 's bill help solve fish and
wildlife problems in the Central Valley? What additional measures
should be considered? Are the timelines adequate and realistic?
Do you have an estimate on whether the water resource requirements
are available? Should additional storage capacity dedicated for
fish and wildlife be considered?" A number of questions like that
on what needs to be done. He said, "In order to facilitate this
process, I request that you provide your written comments as
quickly as possible. If you have any questions, please feel free
to contact Rich Golb or Ann Ball of my staff, at this phone
So we initiallybefore the Seymour legislation was drafted--
remember now, this was in June of '91; the Seymour bill was
introduced in November of "91. The Bradley bill came out in
February of '91, the Miller bill in March of '91. So immediately
after the Miller and Bradley bills were introduced, and after we
had a chance to review those, we started meeting with the
environmental community and soliciting their input. Those meetings
with the people I just listed were held in Senator Seymour's office
in Washington, D.C., with me. Additionally, Senator Seymour met
with a number of other members of the environmental and
conservation communities and talked with them.
There are two letters here from Senator Seymour: on July 15,
1991, to Richard Spotts from the Defenders of Wildlife, and to
Leslie Friedman from the Nature Conservancy- -who I met with here in
California. In addition, there's a letter to John Buetler, who was
the executive director of the United Anglers of California, a
fishing group based in Berkeley that I met with in California. In
these letters, which I will also make available, you can see
Senator Seymour asks John Buetler and Leslie Friedman and Richard
Spotts, "How do we make S. 484 better? How do we improve on it,
how do we really solve the problems?" So there are those that I'll
make available to you.
Ducks Unlimited was also involved in these meetings in June
and July in California, and I have copies of letters from Ducks
Unlimited to Senator Seymour.
Chall: You can lay those out as proof without going into them further
because we can put some of them into the volume.
Golb: Right. The last thing is that we also started working with Tom
Graff from the Environmental Defense Fund and spent a lot of time
with Tom throughout the process.
Chall: You did?
Golb: We did. Here's a letter from Senator Seymour again thanking Tom
for meeting with me and others, and we asked him a number of
questions. Seymour believed Graff wanted to be constructive and he
respected him for that.
Chall: And when was that? Because I know that he wrote to you in "92,
after visiting with Senator Seymour [August 14, 1992]. l
Golb: Right. There was a meeting in San Francisco--! believe in early
July in '91--with the following groups: Environmental Defense Fund,
the Natural Resources Defense Council, Save San Francisco Bay
Association, California Waterfowl Association, Pacific Coast
Federation of Fishermen's Association, the Bay Institute, and Clean
Water Action. Some of the individuals that participated in that
meeting included David Yardas from the Environmental Defense Fund,
Hal Candee from the National Resources Defense Council, Barry
Nelson, David Behar from the Bay Institute, Zeke Grader and Bill
Kier from Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association, and
Patricia Schifferle. I met with all of these people in San
Francisco--! believe it was at NRDC's [National Resources Defense
Council] officeto talk about what the best way is to develop CVP
I think the environmental groups that we met with will tell
you that they were pretty much wedded to Senator Bradley 's bill,
and understandably so, since they wrote a good portion of it. But
we continued to try and work with the environmental community
throughout the entire debate.
In May of 1992, Senator Seymour met with all of the fishing
industries. Again, it's both the commercial and sport fishing
groups: Golden Gate Fisheries Association, Pacific Coast Federation
of Fishermen's Association, NorCal Fishing Guides and Sportman's
Association, Central Valley Fisheries Coalitionall of these
groupsand this is a document that I'll give you as well. That
was on May 9 of 1992. Senator Seymour also met with Tom Graff at
the September 4  hearing in San Francisco.
Senator Seymour had a pretty good relationship with Tom Graff.
He had a lot of respect for Tom Graff. They disagreed on a lot of
issues and particularly on CVP reform. But Seymour liked Tom, had
a lot of respect for him, felt that Tom was courageous
particularly when Tom attempted to develop some legislation with
Stuart Somach. He just had a lot of respect for Tom Graff. In
addition, remember, at each of the four hearings March 18 in Los
Angeles, May 8 in Washington, May 18 in Sacramento, and September 4
in San Francisco- -many of the environmental groups did testify at
these hearings. Senator Seymour was at the panel, and he asked a
lot of questions of the environmental groups. At the September 4
'Thomas Graff and David Yardas, The Passage of the Central Valley
Project Improvement Act. 1991-1992. Regional Oral History Office,
University of California, Berkeley, 1996.
ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND
Rockridge Market Hall
5655 College Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
(415) 658-0630 FAX
July 9, 1991
257 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10010
1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
1405 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO 80302
1108 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
128 East Hargett Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Austin, TX 78701
Office of the Honorable John Seymour
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Richard and Ann:
Sorry not to have gotten the promised enclosure off
to you earlier as a follow-up to our meeting of a week
ago yesterday. The 4th intervened, I guess.
I hope you will consider the letter carefully.
Perhaps Governor Wilson and Senator Seymour could tackle
this issue in tandem. I know it's a tough one both
substantively and politically, but without some kind of
resolution of this matter, I am deeply skeptical that
any significant progress can be made in expanding the
CVP's benefits to encompass all Calif ornians.
In any event, let's keep the lines of communication
open. I for one was really impressed with the time you
two took with our community last week and with the
patience you displayed in the face of not a little
Thomas J. Graff
100% Krcyled Paper
WASHINGTON. DC 20510-0503
June 27, 1991
Mr. Ed Osann
National Wildlife Federation
1400 16th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Dear Mr. Osann,
Thank you for meeting with my staff on Monday, June 24th
to discuss an alternate proposal to S. 484, The Central
Valley Project Improvement Act, which was developed by the
Central Valley Project water contractors and was presented at
the May 30th hearing on S. 484 in Sacramento. The meeting
was extremely useful to my staff in understanding your
As you know, I believe that by focusing our attention on
the fish and wildlife problems in the Central Valley, we will
speed the passage of legislation which will specifically
address these immediate needs. The alternate proposal
provides a basis for us to build upon in developing such
As a follow-up to the meeting, it would be extremely
helpful if you would provide written comments on the
proposal . I am particularly interested in any thoughts you
may have on the following:
1. Will the measures provided in the proposal help
solve the fish and wildlife problems in the Central Valley?
2. What additional measures should be considered?
3. Are the timeframes proposed adequate and realistic?.
4 . Do you have an estimate on whether the water
resource requirements are available? Should additional
storage capacity dedicated to fish and wildlife be
5. Can you provide estimated costs, and relative
priorities, for the measures in the proposal, or for any
additional measures which you feel should be considered?
Mr. Osaan ig
June 27, 1991
6. On each particular measure, would the action be
better undertaken at the Federal or State level, or would a
coordinated action be required?
In order to facilitate this process, I request that you
provide your written comments as quickly as possible. If you
have any questions , please feel free to contact Rich Golb or
Ann Ball of my staff at 224-9628.
I appreciate the effort you have contributed to this
process, and I look forward to continuing to work with you as
we move toward the passage of Central Valley fish and
cc: Senator Bill Bradley
Senator Malcolm Wallop
Senator Conrad Burns
Senator Mark Hatfield
Central Valley Fisheries Coalition
855 Gold Street Redding, CA 96001 916-244-5040
May 6, 1992
The following is a list of the people who will be meeting with Senator Seymour
Chairman, Central Valley Fisheries Coalition
President, Norcal Fishing Guides & Sportsman's Assn.
Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman Association
Golden Gate Fisheries Association
United Anglers of California
Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman Association
Golden State Trailers - 1086 Committee
Share the Water
Farmers Rice Cooperative
Colusa Glen Production Credit Association
Glen Colusa Irrigation District Farmers Group
California Rice Industry Association
Norcal Fishing Guides & Sportsrnan's Association
Farmers Rice Cooperative
Enclosed is a list of the organizations that are members of the Central Valley
Fisheries Association, as well as a list of the agriculture organizations we are
working with to save our salmon.
hearing in San Francisco, Senator Seymour asked a number of
questions of Barry Nelson and Tom Graff, and this is included in
the report language on the hearings on S. 484. I'll give you a
copy of this. This is on page thirty-five.
Chall: I think that's all in the public domain. Researchers can find that
as long as we'll have the notation of exactly what it is. But I
would like a copy for my files.
Golb: The point is that this hearing was a good hearing because it was a
small hearing; there wasn't a lot of people there. There was a
real healthy exchange, a productive exchange, where Senator Seymour
asked Barry Nelson, who was only sitting five feet away, a number
of questions. He asked Tom Graff a number of questions. So there
was a tremendous amount of dialogue between John Seymour and myself
and the environmental community. Personal meetings, telephone
conversations, written correspondence.
The Constraints of Compromise on Both Sides of the Debate
Chall: As you say, S. 484 and the Miller bill went through quite a number
of changes. I think at various times they tried to meet some of
your objections. I think that Senator Bradley tried to meet some
of the objections. In trying to make some revisions in the Seymour
bill over the years, who really made the decisions about whether or
not there could be any kind of compromise? I mean, were you held
or sort of constrained by the agriculture people in the CVP, many
of whom didn't want to make any changes at all, from what I
Chall: I was asking about constraints placed by the farmers on your making
compromises. But you say that these environmentalists, primarily,
were sort of wedded to S. 484 because they helped write it. That's
Yardas, of course, and Graff to some extent. And your side, were
they wedded as much to, let's say, some of the Schuster /Somach
drafts of S. 2016 so that never the twain could meet? The twain
seemed to meet occasionally, particularly toward the very end; you
made some rather important revisions to 2016. But on the whole was
this a real problem with respect, not of just meeting, but of
compromising? Was there no way to compromise? Was that a problem?
Golb: There were a lot of problems in this debate. There were a lot of
problems. This was an extremely political debate. Extremely so on
a state level, on a national level, in terms of political
partisanship, in terms of organizations, even within the
environmental community, within the agriculture community--! mean,
some will probably portray or will attempt to raise a veneer that
the agriculture community, the environmental community, the urban
interests were a block, and each individually all agreed on how
things should be done. That's not the case. There was tremendous
acrimony within the various interest groups on how things should be
This was unlike any other legislation in which I had been
involved; it was extraordinarily political. The media had a
particular direction that they were advocating. The Democratic
party was doing their best to make sure that John Seymour was
defeated. Some Republican members were trying to help John Seymour
stay in office. The governor had a particular perspective- -which
was a rightful role in what he was attempting to do. I thought he
did a good job and acted appropriately. So this was an extremely
political debate in how things were accomplished. The
environmental community did a superb job of characterizing and
defining this debate in a certain way, in such a way that they
outmaneuvered most of the agricultural community from the beginning
to the end.
The Environmental Community Defined the Debate Politically
Chall: What was their way?
Golb: What the environmental community did isthis is my perspective on
it; they probably have a different onethey did a very good job of
capitalizing on the drought. Most of the fish and wildlife
problems that we've had in this state have been going on for a long
time. The salmon declines really picked up in the mid-sixties to
early seventies, the problems in the Delta itself had been going on
for some time, but most people didn't know about it. Well, the
drought really was an excellent way to move these issues from the
back page of the newspaper to the front page, to get local elected
officials involved, and to get Congress to take the issue head on.
What happened is that the environmental community did a great
job of taking this issue, of taking the drought, where people were
suddenly aware of water and where it went in the state, of what
people were paying for it, and trying to put these environmental
issues to the forefront. They did a great job of that. And the
agricultural community had difficulty dealing with that from a
political standpoint. They weren't as well equipped as the
environmental groups were in terms of the political dynamics of the
The agricultural community initially was focused on- -well,
initially they just ignored the environmental community, which they
had basically been doing for years in this state. And that's why
we have the environmental problems we have; there wasn't enough
focus and attention on it. But I think what happened is that the
ag community initially did not view this as seriously as they
Chall: Now, would one of the reasons be that in all the years past the
western senators had always been sympathetic to California? I
mean, California never had lost all their western colleagues as
they did because of the hostage of S. 429. They had always been
able to be sure that western senators were on their side. That was
one reason. The other reason may have beenat least that's what
some people feelthat it never occurred to the agricultural
community until the end that this bill would pass. Even Dan Beard
said that up until the end there were times when he was sure it
would pass, and then there were times when he didn't think it could
or would, or even that the president would sign it. 1 There's a
feeling that you didn't really have to do very much until the end
because you were so sure that the Miller-Bradley bill would never
Golb: Well, we weren't sure at all. What we were sure of is that there
was an influential senator, Bill Bradley, aggressively moving a
bill and we spent a tremendous amount of time on it. John Seymour
made this legislation perhaps his priority during his tenure in the
U.S. Senate. We took the environmental arguments and Senator
Bradley 's and Congressman's Miller's efforts extremely seriously.
Senator Seymour introduced three different bills to deal with it,
he offered lots of new proposals, and we can talk in a minute about
all the actions that he undertook. We took it very seriously.
I think the environmental community took it seriously, and
ultimately if you look at their actions, they did a good Job of
creating the political will to move the bill along, coupled with
Bradley and Miller's actions in terms of the hostages. So we took
it very seriously, and we didn't think that we could just sit on
our hands and let it happen. There were some in the agricultural
community that felt that it would never happen, and they felt that
you just, "Oh, don't worry about it; it'll get taken care of."
'Daniel Beard, The Passage of the Central Valley Project Improvement
Act. 1991-1992. Regional Oral History Office, University of California,
Again, they struggled early on--I think the environmental community
looked at it and said, "Okay, we have a policy, and a philosophical
objective, and we need a political strategy to achieve it." What
they then did was effectuate a political strategy, a media
campaign, coalition efforts, grassroots, to do that. They hired a
Washington, D.C., lobbyist, David Weiman. They raised a lot of
money, they brought people together to work on policy issues, to
draft amendments. They handled the issue politically.
Additionally, there were also some of the members of the
environmental community that went after John Seymour personally,
and were quoted in newspaper articles which I have a copy of right
here. This wasn't part of the CVP debate, but Barry Nelson was
quoted in the Associated Press from July 9, 1992: "Barry Nelson
complained that 'Seymour has repeatedly refused to meet with
environmentalists about his bill. Senator Seymour is not the
senator from California; he is the senator for welfare
agriculture," Barry Nelson, coordinator of Share the Water
Environmental Coalition, said Wednesday."
Well, as we just talked about, I've just showed you letters
that Senator Seymour personally wrote. We've talked about how
Senator Seymour met personally with a number of environmentalists,
how he talked on the phone to several of them, how he met
personally with some of them, how I met with lots of them. So this
is an incorrect statement, given its date and whatnot. I'll make
that a copy for the record as well.
They put together a very sophisticated plan to achieve a
policy objective. The agriculture community initially did not.
Initially, they dealt with this solely on a policy level, and they
attempted to debate with the environmental community on a policy
level. Well, it wasn't a policy debate; it was a political debate.
So what happened is that while the agriculture interests were
attempting to negotiate, to deal, to work with the environmental
community on the policy aspects of it, the environmental community
was approaching it politically and by leaps and bounds went ahead
of the ag community.
Ultimately, the agriculture community increased their efforts
and became just as political as the environmental community and
used every means available to them, some of which the environmental
community never has available to it. But that's a really important
part of the debate that people need to realize, that this was from
day one an extremely political debate by most of the players, and
that guided what happened. This was really not a debate about how
to increase salmon numbers on the Sacramento River.
Chall: It was not?
Golb : No .
Policy. Not Politics Would Have Produced a Different Bill
Chall: You feel that if it had been done just on the policy itself that
this bill would be totally different?
Golb: The bill would have been different. I mean, if you look at
Congressman Miller's bill initially, [H.R.] 5099, and if you look
at Senator Bradley 's bill, S. 484, both of those bills don't
include all of the specific provisions that were ultimately
included in the final legislation that were in Senator Seymour's
bill such as a temperature control device at Shasta Dam which is
now under construction. All of those provisions came out of the
fishing community. Those were in Senator Seymour's bill, S. 728,
which came out of all the commercial and sport fishing industry.
Those were the provisions that the fishery biologists said we
You know, the Red Bluff Diversion Dam has historically been a
major problem on the Sacramento River and took as much as 50
percent of outmigrating salmon. The Red Bluff Diversion Dam is a
very simple dam; it's just a straight diversion on the Sacramento
River. But the way it was constructed, the fish ladders weren't
completed correctly, so when young salmon would go underneath the
dam's gates, the salmon would get tumbled around like in a washing
machine, and they would come out disoriented. Huge squaw fish-
three feet long--lurk on the other side of the dam and just nail
They've made some changes up there, and the bureau's working
real hard to fix that. But you see, Mrs. Chall, if the concern
were really fish, what you would do is focus not on more water, but
solving Red Bluff. Now, more water is needed for fish--I think
most people agree on that. But no one ever had any defensible
numbers as to how much. There was never any scientific documents
or reports offered that justified three million, two million, one
and a half, or 800,000 acre-feet. If you look at the CVPIA today
with a retrospect of five years, you can see that the law has
tremendous problems . And that is a function of the political
debate that characterized most of the actions and discussions back
in 1991 and '92.
The Pivotal Role of the Metropolitan Water District
Chall: Part of the debate was also besides fish--was on water transfers.
That was another issue. I gather that you brought [Carl] Boronkay
into some of the decisions about what would go into 2016 with
respect to transfers. I think that Senator Seymour mentions this
when he was trying to influence somebody elsethe fact that
Boronkay did have something to do with this bill. Was the
Metropolitan Water District really sort of pivotal in this whole
issue of transfer?
Golb: Boronkay did have something to do with the bill. Metropolitan is
pivotal in just about everything that goes on in California water.
They had expressed a tremendous amount of interest in CVP
legislation. Initially, their interest was just water transfers; I
don't think they were concerned about the fish and wildlife
provisions or any of the other provisions. While the water
contractors were working on S. 2016, before it was introduced and
while they were working on some of the drafts, they negotiated with
MWD and came up with the water transfer language that was
ultimately included in Senator Seymour's bill. And that water
transfer language was fundamentally different than what was in
Senator Bradley 's bill or Congressman Miller's bill. Their
language didn't even come close to it.
The only problem is that that language was ultimately amended
and changed significantly, and if you look at historyhistory's a
good barometer of whether it's worked. This is 1996, May 3, and
there hasn't been one water transfer from a Central Valley Project
farmer or a water district to an urban or city or municipality
outside the Central Valley Project.
Chall: We've had plenty of water this year.
Golb: We've had plenty of water this year; 1994 was the fourth driest
year on record.
Chall: Could transfers have taken place almost immediately?
Golb: Almost. They would be authorized by law the law, after President
Bush signed it, did authorize the secretary of interior to review
water transfers. Of course, there has to be rules and regulations
for the transfers, and that's been a lengthy process. I think the
environmental groups and farm groups would agree few of the things
they agree on- -but they probably would jointly agree that the way
that law's been implemented has been inefficient. It hasn't worked
out well. But the reality is that we've had no water transfers.
That's a fairly good indication that that provision in the final
bill doesn't work.
And the Metropolitan Water District has been trying very hard
to buy water from Central Valley Project water districts.
The Problems With the Water Transfer Provisions of the CVPIA
Chall: And why are they unable to?
Golb: They're partially frustrated by the ambiguity that the law creates,
and that manifests itself in terms of regulatory oversight, that
makes it difficult. It makes it burdensome. The law is unclear.
The political debate that characterized those discussions in '91
and '92 are seen in the law itself. It's sloppy, it's not well
written, there are provisions that refer to other provisions that
don't exist in the bill. You've read it; you know. There's not a
good audit trail of congressional intent. The report language is
not very clear at all on what the law was intended to do.
Many of the members that participated in the law's development
had philosophical disagreements and different interpretations of
various provisions. The administration changed hands right after
the law was signed. So there are some fundamental problems with
the law itself, and transfers are a good example of how the
political nature of the debate has caused a problem that we're all
living with today.
Chall: Can these problems be solved without gutting the whole bill?
Golb: Sounds like you've been listening to the environmental groups.
Chall: [Laughter] I always ask those questions.
Golb: You can solve a lot of the problems administratively. Some of the
environmental groups --you know, David Yardas and Tom Graff,
particularly, have noted that there are some administrative fixes
that could be made to the law, and they're correct. You could
solve a lot of the problems in the law administratively. Some of
it is going to require a change in law. Now whether or not that
will ever happen, I don't know. But some of it will.
I'm sorrythe answer to your question is yes. Metropolitan
was heavily involved; Metropolitan negotiated bilaterally with the
water contractors that resulted in the water transfer language that
was included in the Seymour bill.
Chall: Ultimately, the Metropolitan Water District would go from your side
to the other side. Is that because they felt one side might win
rather than the other? Did they go to the winning side rather than
care about what was in the bill per se?
Golb: Metropolitan's general manager at the time initially
Chall: That's Mr. Boronkay.
Golb: That's correct. He personally negotiated many of the water
transfer provisions that were included in the Seymour bill.
Metropolitan Water District's Board of Directors on a 49-2 vote,
supported Senator Seymour's bill. When the debate became much more
intense over the summer of '92, Metropolitan began to waver, and
they felt that they needed to consider other bills that they might
get a better deal out of.
Chall: Would that be a better deal in terms of transfer or a different
Golb: In terms of support from the environmental community- -they were
looking for support. It seemed to me at the time that the deal
that was struck was that Metropolitan supported Miller and
Bradley 's efforts in order to obtain support for water transfer
provisions from the environmental community.
Chall: A different kind of transfer language, then?
Golb: Similar. I think the transfer language that was included in
Seymour's bill was pretty close to what they wanted, ultimately.
After thinking about it, and as time went on, they learned- -we all
learnedthat a lot of these provisions needed to be amended. The
reason these provisions were never amended in the Seymour billand
Seymour was criticized by the environmental community for never
amending his billwas the reason Bill Bradley never amended his
bill and George Miller never amended his bill. They couldn't. The
legislative process didn't allow it.
II THE SEYMOUR BILL: EARLY SUCCESS AND ULTIMATE DEFEAT
The Seymour Bill Moves Through the Senate Energy and Natural
Resources Committee and the Senate
Golb: The Seymour bill was introduced in November of '91. It passed out
of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee unamended [March 19,
1992]. The agreement by the chairman of the committee and the
committee members was to pass the bill unamended. It passed the
floor unamended [April 10, 1992]; that was the agreement. Because
Senator Bradley and Congressman Miller didn't want to support
Seymour's billthey wanted to support their own billthey didn't
offer any amendments to the Seymour bill, and we weren't allowed to
either. So Seymour was unable to amend his own bill.
And if you look at his statements his floor statement on
November twenty-first when he introduced the bill, he said it's a
beginning; it's not a complete product. 1 The quote is it's not
even a perfect bill. He said that in committee hearings all along,
and he made commitments to the environmental community, to the
urban community, to Central Valley farmers that he knew it was the
first cut, that it was the first draft, and that there were going
to be problems with it. It was going to need a lot of changes.
Chall: What was going on inside that committee that brought it out
unamended? Could S. 484 not get out of that committee?
Golb: It didn't.
Chall: It didn't, but what was the reason why Seymour's bill did? What
'Congressional Record, Senate, November 21, 1991, pp. S17465-17466.
PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 102 CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION
WASHINGTON, THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 1992
Mr. SEYMOUR. Mr. President. I
would like to commend Chairman
JOHNSTON and Senator \\'AU.OI' for
their leadership and efforts on pas.-.ap.e
Of the Kcclai: atlon Projects Authori
zation nnd Ad;ustmcnt Act of iyi'2.
Boll) the chairman and Senator
\VALI.OI- have been very accommodat
ing In addesslng my concerns regard-
IIIR scvcrr.l provisions of this hill spi;-
clflc to my Stale of California.
The bill Includes several titles which
address California's pressinc water
ncetl.s. These Include compiehcnslve
water reclamation nnd reuse studies
for southern California cities nnd
counties. Further. It authorizes the
Secretary of the Interior to participate
with city and county of Los Angeles
nnd the city of San Jose In the dcslr.n
and construction of water reclamation,
reuse, ajid water quality procrams and
The bill R\! ~> authorises the Secre
tary to conduct research on available
methods to control salinity In the
Sallon Sea. Additionally. I am delight
ed that we were able to authorise a
permanent water contract for the San
Jonquil) National Vctcians Cemetery.
Mr. President. I was pleased that the
committee chose to adopt the S. 2010.
the Central Valley Project Fish and
Wildlife Act, I Introduced November
21. 1991, Into the Reclamation
Projects Authori/.atlon anil Adjust
ment Act of 1992. This bill directs the
Secretary of the Interior to undertake
specific activities to luliln-.-..-. fi.-.h and
wildlife problems associated with Cali
fornia's Ccntial Valley project. The
bill also removes the Federal barrier
which has historically prohibited
water transfer;; from agricultural user;;
to uilmii and lndn:,l rlul u:;r;.. and re
quires Central Valley project, nr.ilcitl-
tural users to use water more efficient
Last year, the Senate Energy Sub
committee on Water and Power held
four hearings on CVP legislation; In
Los Angeles. Washington. DC. Sacra
mento, and San Francisco. I attended
all /our. Approximately 75 witnesses
testified during these proceedings,
many followed up with written re
marks to supplement their testimony.
I and my staff have met with virtual
ly every interest In this debate; Includ
ing representatives of environmental.
agricultural, urban, fishery, conserva
tion, and power Interests. We also met
with representatives of the CVP and
State water districts, the State of Cali
fornia, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, the Department of the Interi
or, and the Department of Agricul
ture. My office has met with everyone
who has requested a meeting on this
In early March, Chairman JOHNSTON
requested that several Senators meet
In an effort to negotiate a compromise
CVP bill. UurliiK the ncBoUallons. It
became apparent that resolving the
central Issues In CVP ICRlslatlon was
much more complicated and costly
than anyone had Initially Imagined.
Possibly the most difficult Issue to re
solve was the question of water for the
environment. Everyone acknowledges
during dry periods, fish and wildlife
need firm water supplies that will
ensure survival of the species. But how
much water is required to ensure that
survival of various species now threat
ened? Where will It come from? How
much will it cost cither to develop this
new water, or to purchase it? And. who
will pay for It?
As we painfully discovered, there arc
no simple solutions. During drought
and we're In our sixth year now there
Is precious little water for anyone.
Just look at the cutbacks that urban.
Industrial nnd agricultural users have
endured for the past few years. How
much water do we provide for fish and
wildlife needs during drought? In the
absence of credible data. It Is difficult
and possibly Irresponsible to make
such a determination. When there Is
credible data, as In the case of wildlife
refiiKCN, we rnn Identify ways to deliv
er the water.. In repaid to the need: of
the fisheries. It Is clear more water Is
needed during dry periods. But we
should not delay adopting solutions to
already Identified fishery problems..
Unfortunately, various special Inter
est groups have become fixated upon a
slncle amount of water exclusively for
fish and wildlife needs. They believe
1.5 million acre-feet of water for fish
and wildlife Is the minimum amount
of additional water supplies necessary
for fish and wildlife In the Central
Valley. Frankly, their utter lack of
willingness to find a reasonable bal
ance Is one of the mnjor stumbling
blocks to developing compromise CVP
legislation that would address urban,
agricultural anJ environmental water
'J'ln: effect of roallor.-iiliiK 1.5 million
acre-feet away from urban und agricul
tural users solely to fish and wildlife
would be disastrous to California. Ac
cording to the California Department,
of Food and Agriculture, a rcallocatlon
of this water would cost the State
rotiKhly $0 billion In lost economic ac
tivity. It would nlso result In the loss
of over 10,000 Jobs over $210 million
In lost wages. CDF A also projects that
It would result In the Idling of over 1
million acres statewide a loss of over
$1.0 billion In gross farm receipts.
'Another matter Is how wo;:!cl this
water be acquired each year? Should It
be developed through new storage fa
cilities, through the idllni; of cropland,
or should It be purchased annually or
permanently? Is It even possible to
build nil of the facilities remiliod to
develop 1.5 million acre-feet, or would
It require a combination of new stor
age facilities and annual purchases?
Finally, what would it cost to acquire
that much water?
The Department of the Interior esti
mated that raising Clalr EniUe Dam
w'llh a pump-through stornpc to
Shasta Dam. construction estimates
only, not including annual operation
and maintenance, would cost approxi
mately $3 billion. If built, this facility
would yield approximately TOO.OOO
acre-feel annually. If you accept the
approach that you need an additional
1.5 million acre-feet. In this Instance,
only half of the annual delivery to fbh
and wildlife has been developed, at a
cost of $3 billion. And you would still
need to obtain an additional 000,000
Another option we explored was to
direct the Secretary of the Interior to
buy 1.5 million acre-feet annually.
This option was also financially unrea
sonable. Consider, the State of Califor
nia's 1991 wat-T bank. Last year, the
State of California purchased approxi
mately 750,000 acre-feet at a cost of
roughly $125 million. This was a one
time purchase. The costs associated
with purchasing 1.5 million acre-feet
annually would easily exceed $2M) mil-
Hun, rrcardUi.s.'i of whether tin: .Secre
tary purchased water rights associated
with poor drainage lands In the San
Joaqulli Valley, or bought storage
rights from existing storage facilities.
Then there Is the question of who
will pay for thlr, water for fish and
wildlife. Initially, there was specula
tion that a transfer fee could be placed
on water transferred from agricultural
use to urban use. It became apparent,
however, that any charge on water
transfers would not generate sufficient
funds, because once 1.5 million acrc-
fcct was devoted exclusively to fish
and wildlife, there would be no water
left In the Central Valley project to
transfer to other parched urban areas.
There was general agreement that
the structural Improvements for fish
and wildlife such as those In S. 2016,
based on rough estimates would cost
approximately $238 million. Acquiring
1.5 million acre-feet annually for fish
and wildlife on a permanent basis was
estimated at $2 billion, using $1.300 an
ncre-foot as the assumed cost.
Alternatively, to acquire temporary
water for fish and wildlife In cuhnlna-
tlve 150.000 acre-feet annual Incre
ments for 10 years based on $100 acre-
feet was estimated to cost roughly $1
billion. Two things became clear a.s a
result of this discovery. First, the costs
were much higher than anticipated,
and would cause serious economic con
sequences If Imposed over a 10-yen.r
period. Second, the goal of achieving
1.5 million acre-feet of water dedicated
solely for fish and wildlife was una
chievable In 10 years In all but very
wet years without the same economic
Senators ' JOHNSTON. BHAaury.
WALJ.OP. DUIINS, and myself then ex
plored the option to stretch out the
costs of these structural measures and
water purchases by examining the use-
of bonding authority. In each In
stance, the numbers told the story. It
appeared that Increases In power
charges might exceed 20 percent, agri
cultural rate Increases of 100 percent,
and municipal and Industrial rate in
creases of 200-300 percent. We even
reviewed the option to apply a charge
to prior rights and exchange rights
water users. There was also a recogni
tion among the negotiators that agrl
cultural and urban water contracts can
not simply be unilaterally amended to
Include a rate Increase. Ultimately.
none of the options we explored were
acceptable to me or the constituents I
represent. .It's easy to promise nil
thine* to all people, but the reality Is
that reallocating 1.5 million acrc-feot
of water exclusively for fish and wild
life simply would not work. And thai
reality became clear to all members of
the committee, before It reported S.
2010 as part of the measure now
Let me emphasize that the decision
to mipport my bill docs not abandon
California'* fish and wildlife, or any
particular group such as California's
commercial and sport fishermen. I be
lieve that the provisions of S. 2010 will
make It possible to begin the restora
tion of California's precious fish and
Nonetheless, during dry years there
must be minimum amounts of water
available for fish and wildlife needs. I
strongly support providing a minimum
amount of water for fisheries during
times of drought. In fact, S. 2010 pro
vldcs for establishing Increased flows
on both the American and Sacramento
S. 2010 would stabilize and augment
river flows to restore and enhance the
natural production of anndromous
fish. The economic Importance of
saunon and stcelhcad runs, ctrlpcd
bass, and other fisheries arc impera
tive to California's sport and commer
cial fishing Industries.
In March oi last year. I Introduced
S. 720. the Upper Sacramento River
Fishery Resources Restoration Act,
which Incorporated the recommenda
tions of the Upper Sacramento River
Advisory Council. Established by an
act of the California Legislature, the
council devoted a considerable amount
of time through open public hearings
and meetings to develop a manage
ment plan to restore Sacramento River
ll-jh habitat. Many of the require
ments contained In that bill, Including
mandated instream flow requirements,
have been embodied In this bill. S.
2010 directs thr Secretary of the Inte
rior to eslabllsl increased flows In the
rivers and streams below project dams.
Once established, these flows will
become a firm requirement of the Cen
tral Valley project S. 2010 requires
the initiation of fishery losses result
ing from the Tracy and Contra Costa
pumping plants; It provides authoriza
tion for the construction of a tempera-
lure control device at Shasta Dam for
cooler water releases for spawning and
oulmigratlnu salmon; It authorlr.es the
rehabilitation and expansion of the
Colt-man National Fish Hatchery by
1995; It requires the Secretary to enter
into an agreement with the State of
California to eliminate losses of
salmon and steelhead trout caused by
flow fluctuations at Kcswink. Nimbus
r\nd Lewlston Regulating Dams; it au
thorizes the construction of a new fish
hatchery at tho Tchama Colusa Fish
Facility, as well as authorl/.atlon for
the construction of a .salmon and stecl-
hcad trout hatchery on the Yuba
River; It authorizes the Secretary to
minimize fish passage problems for
salmon at the Red Hluff Diversion
Dam; It directs the Secretary to pro
vide flows to allow sufficient spawning
and out migration conditions for
salmon and steelhead trout from
Whlsketown Dam. Finally, the Secre
tary Is authorl/.ed to construct a bar
rier nt the heat! of Old Itlver In Hie
KaciiilniMlto-iStill J<m<i\ilu Dcllu, liy De
cember 31. 1995. to jwrtliilly mitigate
the Impacts of the CVP on the surviv
al of young outmigratlne salmon.
In addition, my bill provides for the
Immediate delivery of 300,000 acre-feet
of firm water supplies to the 15 na
tional wildlife refuges and wildlife
management areas In the Central
Valley. The wetlands and associated
habitat are Important to several
threatened and endangered species
such as the American pcrcRrine falcon,
bald eagle. Aleutian Canada goose, and
San Joaquln kit fox, and support a
winter population of nearly million
waterfowl. Sixty percent of the ducks,
geese, swans, and millions of shore
birds of the Pacific flyway crowd the
existing acres. By the year 2000. It di
rects the Secretary of the Interior to
increase the water supply to over
525.000 acre-feet annually. This lias
been Identified by the Secretary of the
Interior as the amount needed to fully
manage all lands within the existing
Willie I've focused upon the fish and
wildlife components of my bill. It Is Im
perative that any comprehensive
water bill for California address the
growing water needs of our cities.
That's why S. 2010 Includes a water
transfer provision that's the product
of negotiations by the metropolitan
water district. representing over
1C million water users, and CVP
water users. This historic agreement
would allow, for the first time. Central
Valley water users to transfer water to
cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego,
and other urban areas. This provision
provides for the protection of both
ground water supplies and safeguards
against third party Impacts. Given
California's explosive growth, volun
tary water transfers are an essential
component In any successful lone-term
water policy. This provision will help
ensure California's cities access to a
safe water supply In years to come. I
will continue to insist upon the water
transfer language as agreed upon In
California, In any final CVP legisla
tion. This week, the Slate of Cnllfor-
nla has announced a comprehensive
water plan, and I'm pleased to say
Governor Wilson's plan Includes water
transfer guidelines Identical to those
In my bill.
I would also note for the Rrrono that
some have stated that my bill will not
resolve the dredging issues in the San
Francisco and Oakland Ports. I urn,
however, committed to keeping these
ports open and vital.
For almost a year now. 1 have
worked aggressively to ensure tlmt bay
area ports remain open to large ve:;:;el
traffic. When I Ilrst became Involved
In this Issue, It appeared that most
maintenance dredging would be halted
at the Oakland and San Francisco
Ports. The holdup seemed to stem
from a hurcnwrniUe. wrl> that Involved
tin: Army Cor|>:i. the Knvli oilmen! ul
Protection Agency, and the Natlumil
Marine Fisheries Service.
At that time, each of these agencies
was working diligently, but Independ
ent of the other agencies. The result
was stalemate; no solution, no permits,
no dredging. And sadly, the potential
loss of up to a 100.000 Jobs and a $4.5
billion industry for the bay area.
I found it unconscionable that a
multlbllllon dollar Industry In Califor
nia would be at risk because Federal
bureaucracies could not seem to com
municate with one another. I vowed
not to let that happen. Since last July,
we have been meeting regularly with
all the pertinent Federal agencies. A3
a result, these agencies are placing
greater emphasis on keeping the ports
open and vital.
This new emphasis has yielded re
sults. In the Port of San Frnnclsco. the
dredging of pier 27. pier 29, pier 94.
pier OG. pier 00 (approach), pier 80
(Islals Creek), and Berkeley Marina
has been permitted. The Port of Oak
land, the Chevron oil transfer facility,
and the Guadalupc Slough have nlso
gotten permission to go forward with
needed maintenance dredging projects.
Since I Introduced, my bill last year,
It has become apparent that the State
of California would like to take over
the CVP. Although there ore numer
ous issues to resolve before this could
occur, I strongly support State owner
ship of the CVP. No other reclama
tion project Is as Integrated to a
State's water project as the CVP Is the
California's State water project. I
Intend to do everything I can to assist
California In this regard. In fact. Sena
tors, JOHNSTON and DUDLEY Indicated
that they would not object to Califor
nia's decision to take over the CVP.
I will not support legislation that
benefits one group at the expense of
another, or does not fairly address the
needs of legitimate California Inter
ests. Recently, various special Interests
have attempted to character l/.c Cali
fornia's water struggle as one of farm
ers versus fishermen. Let me say.
there is no place for this sort of
wedge-forming politics in this Issue.
Tills Is not a struggle between farmers
and fishermen. The Endangered Spe
cies Act will not go away simply be
cause we pass CVP legislation. Nor for
that matter will the bay-delta proceed
ings. Ultimately, there Is enough water
for fanners, fishermen, and for cities.
The challenge In for all Californlans to
The objective In balance. California
Is growing at a rate of 700.000 people a
year, and the demands upon our natu
ral resources will only continue to In
crease a." our population grows.- If Cali
fornia will ever clear this hurdle which
threatens our economy and the qual
ity of life for our cltl/.cns. we must bal
ance the often competing needs of our
cities and rural communities with our
limited natural resources. I do not be
lieve that commerce and conservation
arc incompatible. There will be sacri
fice, difficult decisions lie ahead of us;
but working together, we will resolve
the water dilemma which lias polar
ized our Stale for so long.
I'm committed to the resolution of
fish and wildlife problems In Califor
nia. I am equally committed to the res
olution of the water shortage prob
lems facing urban areas. For any legis
lation to achieve those objectives. It
must reflect the concerns of those Im
mediately affected. My bill Is a prod
uct of California, representing conser
vation, agricultural, and urban Inter
Critics of my bill have Indicated that
passage of S. 2016 would represent a
severe setback for the State of Califor
nia. Despite these .shrill predictions of
doom nnd gloom for the State of Cali
fornia, the Senate chose to support my
bill. The Senate has done so. Mr.
President, because may bill balances
the needs of urban, agricultural, and
environmental Interests. The ap
proach by special Interest groups docs
not truly reflect the broad Interests or
legitimate needs of my State, and It
will only result In endless litigation at
the expense of California's environ
ment and economy.
Golb: What was happening was political education. In March of '92, the
chairman of the committee, Chairman [Bennett] Johnston, assembled a
number of the members of the energy committee- -Chairman Johnston,
Senator Bradley, Senator Wallop, Senator [Conrad] Burns, and
Senator Seymour. This was in early March of '92, and they all got
together for about three of four days in the energy committee
library, which is a small library that's just off the committee
room in the Dirksen Building. And they all brought one staff
member, so Senator Seymour brought myself. And they negotiated
intensely over a period of about a week and a half or so how to
come up with CVP legislation.
There were extensive discussions on financial issues, on water
supply, on economic concerns, and on environmental provisions.
There are a lot of documents that came out of that where water
costs and deliveries were examined and where the committee looked
at bonding authority and how to pay for these provisions, where
they looked at historic water deliveries and how you could develop
a financing plan. These documents and these discussions a lot of
people don't know about; I don't know if the environmental
community knows about it.
Here's one document that's pretty interesting. This was a
document that asks the question: if you're trying to get a certain
amount of revenue--30 million, 50 million, 100 millionhow would
you come up with that revenue? We looked at, in these scenarios,
how those costs would be charged. On power customers, it would be
charged on millsyou know, kilowatts --whereas on water rights
holders and agricultural contractors and M and I [municipal and
industrial], there would be a certain charge per acre-foot
depending on how much money you were willing to come up with. They
looked at bonding authority, a thirty-year period at a certain
percentage and what the bonding debts would be. These discussions
were very intense.
Chall: Who provided, do you know, all that information?
Golb: This information was put together by committee economists,
primarily energy committee staff as well as input from the
Department of Interior staff. Those folks didn't participate in
the meeting, but they did help out with background information.
So there was a lot of discussion at the time in terms of what
could you do? How do you take the Miller bill, the Bradley bill,
and the Seymour bill, and accommodate or resolve all the
differences? And the discussions were productive in that it became
clear that these issues were a lot more difficult than it was being
characterized in the newspaperseither by the agricultural
community or the environmental community.
Senator Seymour Offers Revisions; Fundamental Disagreements Remain
Golb: Ultimately, Senator Seymour made a number of proposals and offered
a lot of things that most people don't know about. This document,
which is a March 4, 1992, document, provided options and really was
the negotiation document that Senator Seymour used. You can see
that he madethis is actually the document he used--his marks in
the margins are his marks [shows document].
Chall: And he made specific changes in 2016?
Golb: He made offers to increase the amount of water that was provided
for the environment, above and beyond what was in his bill. He
offered, as you can see here, on "project purpose"--authorizing the
secretary to undertake a number of measures to mitigate the impact
of the project which wasn't really in 2016. He made offers on
water transfers. When it comes to upfront water, he committed
600,000 acre-feet upfront with additional water over a period of
time in installments. He made offers on new facilities, on
Chall: What did he do there?
Golb: He insisted on a forty-year contract but allowed for flexibility in
future negotiations. As you can see here, he also offered to go
down to twenty-five years. He made specific offers in terms of
fish mitigation measures, in terms of refuge water supply, and a
whole host of other issues.
He knew by that point that there were major problems with all
three of the bills. He was trying to go a little bit closer to our
opponents, and they did the same. This document reflects the
nature of the discussions and Seymour's efforts to compromise.
Chall: Is it a markup? Did he offer them as amendments to 2016?
Golb: What the senators were doing was they were negotiating among
themselves to see if they can conceptually come up with an
agreement. And if they could conceptually do it, then what they
would do is direct staff to go put it together. But Seymour and
this was actually something I was going to show you- -these are two
documents from staff regarding discussions on CVP legislation that
had gone on for a long time. You can see that members of the
energy committee, as well as members of the governor's office and
Senator Cranston's office, and from the environmental community had
all been involved. These discussions were going on for a long
time. When the senators got together, they were attempting to
negotiate a solution- -to come up with a deal. If they would have
had a deal, then that would have been incorporated into some
Ultimately what happened is that at that point, they could not
reach agreement, and there was a fundamental disagreement, and
Senator Johnston, who was struggling to get the energy bill out of
the Senate at that timewhich was his prioritydidn't want to
focus the time on CVP legislation. He had put a lot of time into
it, and his staff director, Ben Cooper, who is an excellent Senate
staff person, was working really hard trying to manage two
On the one hand, he had this energy bill that he was
overseeing and trying to get out of the Senate for the chairman of
the committee. Alternatively, he had now this major fight brewing
among committee members on this water legislation that had all
these projects in it a third of the Senate basically had a project
in there that they wanted out. So they were trying to find a
solution as quickly as they could that would maximize politically
their options and minimize disturbances to the energy bill.
The option that Senator Johnston proposed was to pass the
Seymour bill out of the committee unamended and to support it on
the floor of the Senate. And Bradley went along with it. Senator
Bradley, at the hearing, made a bunch of statements about how
terrible it was, but Bradley supported the chairman's plan to move
Seymour's bill, S. 2016, out of the committee unamended.
Golb: The evidence that he agreed with it is the fact that he voted for
the bill to be sent out of the committee, did not offer any
amendments in the committee, did not offer any amendments on the
Chall: And that meant that I understood that Senator Seymour was told
either to amend his bill or negotiate in the conference.
Golb: No. The chairman's deal denied Seymour the ability to amend his
bill, but Seymour continued to negotiate in the remainder of the
debate. The chairman's deal also, besides preventing the Seymour
bill from being amended, tied all of the western projects together.
Senator Bradley was attempting to negotiate with Seymour, and
they were attempting to do it one on one and in the committee.
Senator Bradley came by Senator Seymour's office a number of times.
They would speak on the Senate floor; they would take the
elevators; they would take the small train over to vote; they would
see each other in hallways, eventsthey spent a lot of time
together talking and trying to come up with a solution.
Ultimately the biology, law, politics it just didn't mix. So
the deal they agreed to at that time was to pass 2016, the Seymour
bill, out of the committee unamended, off the Senate floor, and
attempt to engage in negotiations in a conference between the House
and the Senate. Senator Seymour's statement at the committee was
pretty clear where he said he recognized that they were passing his
bill out but yet there needed to be amendments, there needed to be
changes to it, and we've got the statements here.
Senator Seymour's View of the Committee's Maneuver
Chall: I know the environmental community was shocked when this came out,
but I was wondering whether Senator Seymour was equally surprised
or unsure of what the ultimate end would be. I gather from you
that he knew what was going on.
Golb: Well, we were there when Senator Johnston said, "Okay, I've got a
deal you guys can't refuse. How about we pass out 2016?"
Chall: What did it mean to you? Did it mean that you might ultimately get
those amendments through?
Golb: We knew that getting the Seymour bill through Congress was a long
shot. But the 2016 bill was never intended to do that. What it
was intended to do was to put some ideas and some concepts into the
debate that focused on the problems of fixing fish and wildlife
problems in the Central Valley. His bill wasn't-- You know, it's
been mischaracterized by some people that never worked in Congress.
The Seymour bill was an attempt to get some legitimate ideas and
constructive ideas into the debate. And it succeeded because a lot
of the provisions from his bill were ultimately included in the
So in one sense it was a success; on the other hand, when it
was passed out of the committee, we did wonder if we could get it
through the conference. I don't think we ever deluded ourselves
that we would get it unamended through Congress, but we thought it
might be a vehicle from which to build on. Again, the political
nature of the debate was such that they didn't want to give Seymour
any credit in an election year, so they refused to even negotiate
from his bill as the basic point of legislation.
The Agriculture Community
Chall: Those revisions that he was willing to make, were they acceptable
to the agriculture community?
Golb: The agriculture community didn't know about many of those
provisions. There just wasn't time to talk with all of the members
of the farm community about the debate. The political process in
Washington, is such that sometimes you have to move fast, and
there's just not time in a state with thirty million people to
communicate with all of your constituents.
We had met with so many people and were in close communication
with so many members of the urban community, the environmental
community. I talked to Carl Boronkay probably twice a week. I
talked to the farm interests daily. I talked to some of the
environmental groups on a regular basis, sometimes daily. We met
with Dave Weiman, who was the environmental groups' representative
repeatedly throughout; anytime he called, we met with him. We met
with the state of California, with the White House. We had been in
such close contact with all of the interest groups that we felt
that we had a pretty good idea of how far they could go, and
Seymour pushed it right up to the edge.
Senator Bradley, in those discussions, agreed with Seymour on
probably more points than he disagreed. But on some of the points
that he disagreed, they were so fundamental to him that he couldn't
accept it. Senator Johnston actually disagreed with Bradley on
some of those points as well. 1
Senator Bennett Johnston's Mark
Chall: I see. Senator Johnston did have a mark out. He had a bill-
Go Ib: That's right. Which was worse than all the other bills combined.
Senator Wallop wrote Senator Johnston a letter where he stated his
concern, and was really perplexed as to why would a chairman of a
committee whose job it is to move things along and build consensus
with committee members, why would he put out a committee mark--a
chairman's mark that was so divisive, so one-sided, that it didn't
further the debate; it polarized it.
'More on the issue of the passage of the Seymour bill and the concern
of agriculture on pages 42-43.
I'll give you this letter to put in the archives. This is a
February 24, 1992, letter from Malcolm Wallop to Bennett Johnston,
the chairman of the committee. One of the provisions in it says,
"The chairman's mark incorporates the most onerous provisions of
both the Bradley legislation and a staff draft which was circulated
in November. It would undercut the agreements which have been
achieved in California between the urban and the agricultural
interests. In addition, it frustrates the considerable progress
which has been made with the conservation community."
That's a pretty tough letter, and Senator Wallop says he's
perplexed as to what the objective is in putting forth the
proposal. Then he says, "Frankly, several members of our committee
do not see the mark as a step forward but rather as a severe
reversal. We do not see how it forms any basis for discussion and
hope you do not propose it."
Chall: It was one-sided in terms of environmental--?
Chall: Did any of you have any idea why he would have done it?
Golb: To this day I don't know. We knew it was going to happen; his
staff told us. I don't want to mischaracterize; they were very
professional about how they conducted themselves. Senator Johnston
is a fine senator, and was a good chairman of the committee. His
staff worked very hard, and they were very upfront with us. Our
offices were right across from one another in the Dirksen Building
so I would see many of his staff throughout the day. You're
walking down to get lunch or you're leaving at the end of the day,
so we would see these folks all the time, and we talked on a
professional level. And they told us the chairman felt that there
needed to be some further direction, and he was going to put out
onto the streethe never introduced it as a bill, but he was going
to put this draft out that he felt would move things along. Again,
Senator Wallop wrote the chairman a really tough letter because the
chairman's mark didn't further the debate; it polarized it.
Again, there were attempts by a number of people to make this
thing work, including Senator Johnston's staff. [shows document]
This was a memo that went from the chief counselthe chief staff
person on the committee, Ben Cooperto the senator regarding how
to make these negotiations move ahead. You can see in this
document that it includes some revenue concepts, authority on how
to spend some of the funds, how water would be provided for fish
and wildlife purposes, and how other issues would be worked out
contracts, transfers of water. You can see that some of this was
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ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
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February 24, 1992
The Honorable J. Bennett Johnston
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
United States Senate
Washington, O.C. 20510
I am writing concerning the "Chairman's Mark" on the Central
Valley Project which you circulated last Thursday. I reviewed a
copy over the weekend and am perplexed as to what your objective
is in putting forth this proposal.
I understood from our earlier conversation that you had
intended to try to bridge the differences between the legislation
introduced by Senator Bradley and that introduced by Senator
Seymour. Unfortunately, this "Mark" incorporates the most
onerous provisions of both the original Bradley legislation and
the staff draft which was circulated in November. It will
undercut the agreements which had been achieved in California
between the urban and agricultural interests. In addition, it
frustrates the considerable progress which had been made with the
In your tiered pricing structure, you will subject farmers
to full cost water on their last increment no matter what the
size of their farm and even if they are in full compliance with
all provisions of Reclamation Law. Even President Carter with
his "hit list" never tried to penalize farmers in that fashion.
In the past, you had been supportive of this Committee's and
the Senate's hostility to the Gejdenson amendment on surplus
crops, which would have required farmers to elect between paying
full cost for their water and participating in a commodity
program. In this legislation, you require full cost for anyone
growing a commodity crop even if thev do not participate in the
program . That provision is destructive of the Agriculture
programs, contrary to Reclamation law, and will have serious
consequences on the environment, especially where certain crops,
such as rice, have produced artificial wetlands, habitat, and
forage for migratory water fowl. Whether intended or not, this
provision will destroy any hopes for a peaceful resolution in
The Honorable J. Bennett Johnston
February 24, 1992
This legislation would also be impossible to implement.
Rather than contributing to a solution to the fish and wildlife
concerns in the Central Valley/ it would frustrate any ability of
the State of California to make decisions. Since the Central
Valley Project controls slightly less than half the developed
yield of the Central Valley, it can not resolve all the problems.
This year, the Bureau has announced that it will deliver only 2
million acre feet of water, yet your legislation would commit
almost 3 million acre feet to fish and wildlife. Even in a wet
year, the effect of your measure would be to eliminate any
deliveries to agriculture contractors. That conclusion is
reinforced by the other provisions in the legislation, especially
the reformulation of the Project purposes.
I cannot support punitive legislation which, I believe,
would cripple the Project and have severe repercussions on both
the environment and the economy of California. Frankly, several
members of our Committee do not see your "Mark" as a step forward
but rather as a severe reversal. They do not see how it forms
any basis for discussion and hope that you do not propose it.
I remain willing to work with you, Senator Seymour, Senator
Bradley and Senator Burns to develop a responsible approach to
California's problems. I regret that this "Mark" is not the
basis on which to begin those good faith negotiations.
Ranking Republican Member
provisions that Seymour authored. Senator Johnston agreed with
Seymour's language. On contract renewals, they agreed on a forty-
year contract. They agreed the transfer of the project to the
state was a good thing. There needed to be a lot of provisions
worked out, but they believed the transfer of the project to the
state was good.
Chall: Does this say '95?
Golb: That's correct.
Chall: And when was this written? Oh, I see, that was until '95.
Golb: What they were going to do was make the Seymour language law for
three years and then state law would preside over water transfers.
You can see here that the amount of water to fish and wildlife is
600,000 acre- feet, which is the same number Senator Seymour offered
during negotiations , in the document that I showed you a minute
I hope what these documents show you, and what you've read in
my journal, is that Senator Seymour made a number of offers on
substantive matters above and beyond what was included in this
bill, and was attempting to negotiate in good faith to solve the
Governor Pete Wilson and the CVPIA Debate
Chall: Some environmentalists assume that Senator Seymour was more
interested in negotiating and making changes than was Governor
Wilson, that Governor Wilson was so tied to the Fresno farm
interests--! guess that's how it's put--water/ag peoplethat he
even didn't like 2016--but that may not be correct. They believe
that Governor Wilson was unwilling to make the kind of compromises
that Senator Seymour was willing to make. Was that a problem or is
that just a rumor that I picked up somewhere along the way?
Golb: Part of the problem is--and this isn't their faultbut a lot of
the farmers and the environmentalists that had some kind of a role
in this debate were so far removed from Washington that they're
just unfamiliar with politics, and they're unfamiliar with
policymaking . That's not to say that a lot of them don't have a
lot of experience in these particular issues they work on, but most
of them are really unfamiliar with the workings of a legislative
process, particularly in a debate this big.
What happened is that, you know, the rumor millwhether it's
a coffee shop or whatever- -was substantial. From what I saw,
Governor Wilson was actively engaged. He spent a tremendous amount
of time on this issue at a time where he was in the midst of
getting a budget with the state legislature which was extremely
divisive. He flew back to Washington on a number of occasions and
sat in meetings with Senator Bradley, Senator Johnston, Senator
Wallop, Senator Burns. I personally participated in some of those
meetings with the governor. He spoke with Senator Seymour on a
regular basis. His administration was actively involved in this
debate- -particularly Dave Kennedy and Doug Wheeler.
Chall: But what was their take on this? Were they adamantly opposed to
even the kinds of amendments that you just showed me: going to
twenty- five-year contracts and 600,000 acre-feet? My feeling is
that had they known, they wouldn't have accepted it. That may not
be true; you say they didn't know. But ultimately they did know,
and toward the lastwhich we'll go into in September and October,
there seems to be a considerable amount of uncertainty about what
the agriculture people will accept.
Golb: Governor Wilson, in meetings that I sat in, personally told other
senators in the debate that he was supportive of John Seymour's
position, that he was supportive of the direction that the Seymour
bill took. He opposed the Bradley bill, he opposed the Miller
bill. And Wilson felt that the best way to proceed ultimately was
to have the state of California operate the Central Valley Project,
and that's where he began to focus most of his effort. His
administration supported that position.
Transferring the Central Valley Project to the State
Chall: Now tell me about the idea to take over either buy or manage the
Central Valley Project. I noticed somewhere in here [journal] that
you had discussed within the staff, whether it was the right thing
to do. Apparently the staff did discuss this.
Golb: Oh, yes, the staff discussed it extensively.
Chall: What did you conclude?
Golb: A lot of staff felt it was appropriate. On a public policy
standpoint, it made sense. The project's here, the land's here,
the water's here, the constituents are all here, and even though
these federal decisions can be taken in Washington three thousand
miles away, it affects their lives here. So it made sense from a
lot of perspectives. If the state owned the project, they could
manage it, and they could solve these problems a lot easier than
the federal government could. So there was a natural sympathy or
affinity toward the state owning the project, but politically there
were some concerns with that.
I think a lot of the environmentalists felt that politically
the state takeover effort was just a ploy to stop the legislative
effort. I think some of the farmers felt that the state, if they
took it over, would have to increase the costs so much that farmers
wouldn't be able to pay for water. I think George Miller felt that
if the state took over the Central Valley Project he would lose one
of his favorite projects to oversee. So he was opposed to it.
Senator Bradley repeatedly said that he supported the idea of the
state taking over the project. He said that in meetings with John
Seymour which I attended as well as in the negotiating session with
the other senators.
I think that philosophically there was a lot of support for
it. Procedurally it was kind of difficult, and the timing wasn't
so great. 1
So there was a lot of effort hereagain, we talk about how
political the debate was--we kept getting away from the policy
issues and what's the best way to increase salmon population and
other fish in the Sacramento River or more water for refuges .
Or transfers. What's the best way to transfer water? Right.
Those were the three primary issues: fish, refuges, and water to
With some people. With others, there were other major objectives.
But those were clear. The ultimate legislationthere were two
major provisions of it essentially: moving more water from
agricultural to urban users and resolving fishery problems.
One objective had to do with contract renewals and things of that
sort. But that's an age-old problem.
Contract renewals, if you think about it--
They tied it to conservation.
'See also pages 66-67.
Golb: Yes, it's tied to conservation, it's tied to water pricing. I
mean, these are things that are legitimate issues to be resolved,
but again, those issues aren't directly related to the salmon
problems or the water transfer problems directly. So they
detracted a little bit from what we felt should have been the
focus. And that was part of the problem. The political debate
overrode some of the policy issues. The policy got ambushed by the
politics at just about every corner of the debate.
The Continuous Round of Phone Calls, Conferences. Meetings Prior to
the Energy Committee's Decision to Move the Seymour Bill
Chall: Let's see, I noticed in your journal something to do with
insurance, which is probably not too related to the bill. 1 didn't
understand the meaning of the entry.
Golb: We met with the Prudential Life Insurance Company based in New
Jersey, which is where Senator Bradley 's from. At the time they
had a tremendous amount of loans outstanding in the Central Valley.
Prudential had a portfolio exposure of over a billion dollars.
That paper isn't worth a whole lot if the paper you're holding is
going to farms that can't get any water. So they were extremely
concerned, as were some of the other insurance companies and banks
that had made loans over the years to farm interests in the Central
Valley. They were very concerned because they had huge financial
exposure. So when you start taking water away from those farms, it
has an impact on their lending rates, it has an impact on how their
loan structures are set up. So all of a sudden what becomes a
pretty simple idea, which is what a lot of people had--"Hey, let's
just reallocate a little bit of water from these farmers "--becomes
a pretty complicated process in that the banks that they have
mortgages with for their homes and their equipment and their land-
suddenly these loans become more difficult to pay back. It gets
Chall: So that's really what that entry was related to?
I wanted to go into some of the meetings that you had in March
1992. This was before, of course, the bill [S. 2016] came out of
committee. But you were having quite a number of meetings, as
you've already said. In one of your notes, March 12, Seymour
apparently is uncertain about what is going on, and he asked, "Tell
me what to do." What did that mean?
Golb: During the business meeting?
Chall: It's March 12 in the journal.
Golb: That was during the business meeting. It's also reflected in the
committee hearing notes . There were a series of amendments that
were being offered, and we were going to offer an amendment
unrelated to the CVP legislation. Ultimately Seymour and Bradley
were able to work out an agreement, and so we didn't need the
amendment. Bradley was going to offer the amendment, but it worked
out for us well.
So the committee staff thought there was a Seymour amendment
when there really wasn't. There was really a Bradley amendment and
so when the issue came up, and the chairman is saying "Seymour
amendment", and Seymour didn't know he had an amendment, so he's
saying, "What?" and I'm trying to tell him you don't have an
amendment; Bradley 's got it. Seymour's listening to the committee
staff saying, "Well, I don't have a Seymour amendment."
Chall: Oh, I see. Terribly confusing.
Golb: Yes, it was just a confusing situation, and it's just one of those
things that happens when you're moving so many bills through in a
short time period.
Chall: On the 17th you indicate that you were conferring with [David]
Kennedy and [Larry] Goldzband. He was a deputy of Wilson?
Golb: Larry Goldzband was a deputy cabinet secretary to Governor Wilson;
he was one of the governor's senior staff.
Chall: And then you referred to the Kennedy-Wheeler rift. What was that
and what did it mean to the movement of the CVPIA?
Golb: In the grand scheme of things? Not much. There was just a
difference of opinion on how to proceed. I think Dave Kennedy
looked at this from one perspective, and Doug Wheeler looked at it
from another. They are both strong personalities; each had very
good points. I think Doug misread the political nature of the
debate a little bit, and I think Dave understood that a little bit
better. Dave has the benefit of having been through a lot of
issues like this, and while I respect both of them, I think Doug
just misread the debate a little bit and thought that we would be
able to work a little bit closer with Senator Bradley and
I think by the end of the debate Doug realized that their
objectives were not the same as ours. Againand this gets back to
the political /policy angle. Doug is a very thoughtful guy who had
put together a lot of ideas on how you could fix some of the
fishery problems in the Central Valley, and those ideas weren't
really being considered and when he would try to broach those ideas
in Washington, they really didn't go that far. And the reason they
didn't is because people I think weren't really interested in
solving a lot of the problems.
There was some disagreements between Doug Wheeler and Dave
Kennedy as to how the governor should proceed. It did not affect
John Seymour's position, and I believe that they were able to
resolve their differences. And what I saw was Governor Wilson
proceed in a manner that I thought was appropriate.
Chall: Was Governor Wilson less willing to compromise than Wheeler on some
Golb: Well, Doug Wheeler is an appointee of the governor, serves at the
pleasure of the governor, takes his direction from the governor.
Anything that Doug is going to do is going to be at the behest of
Chall: Mr. Peltier said that the state was not involved, and that there
was a heavy denial that the bill would pass. That's in his oral
history. Do you have that same feeling?
Golb: No, I don't. Maybe Jason and I just view this in a different
perspective, but I think the state recognized that there was
tremendous risk from what Miller and Bradley were proposing. But
they had just taken office here in California, the governor had
just gotten in office, he was embroiled in a tremendous debate over
the budget in the state. We have the hindsight now of saying that
that worked out well given that California now has a budget
surplus. So he was heavily involved. He had his own fight on his
But he had his top staff people involved in this debate on a
personal level: Dave Kennedy, Doug Wheeler, Larry Goldzband. I was
in constant communication with those folks. Senator Seymour spoke
with Governor Wilson on a regular basis, sometimes daily. We
exchanged a lot of information through fax and federal express, and
the governor was personally involved. Again, I sat in a number of
meetings with Governor Wilson and Senator Seymour here in
Sacramento and in Washington, D.C. The governor was up to speed,
he knew what was happening, and he acted appropriately.
Chall: In the same March 17 entry of your journal, it says "Push the
Bradley bill." You met with Senator Burns, Senator Bradley,
Senator Johnston, and Senator Seymour. They all met. If I'm
correct, this is March 17, 1992. What do you mean by "Push the
Golb: You know, I need to look at that entry to tell you.
Chall: When I took notes, sometimes things would sort of leap out at me.
Eventually they didn't mean anything, but sometimes they did.
Golb: This was the meeting from the previous Tuesday where all the
senators were meeting in the library in the Energy and Natural
Resources Committee and talking about what the options were. In
this particular section, Senator Johnston was getting frustrated
because the financing didn't work out. Senator Johnston thought
that if the environmentalists want all this water for fish- -which
no one ever quantified in terms of how would it be provided to the
fish, at what times of the year, on what river systemsthe Feather
River, the American River, the Sacramento River. Is it going to be
in January that we're going to make this water available? Is it
going to be in March? None of that information was ever available,
but Johnston said, "Well, the heck with all that. Let's just build
some more projects, by God." Build more storage. "Let's provide
the water from the storage facilities for the environment . " Which
made sense to a senator from Louisiana.
That idea- -I think that philosophically we thought that was a
good idea, but we also realized that that probably wouldn't work.
And so in this particular entry Senator Johnston got pretty
frustrated and said, and I quoted this: "We either try to work
something out here or we'll just push Senator Bradley 's bill." But
I think what happened is that Senator Johnston realized that the
Bradley bill had as many shortcomings as any of the other bills,
and the Seymour bill was the only one that had any consensus
whatsoever in California.
The Bradley bill was supported by the environmental
communities. Strongly supported. The Miller bill wasn't really
supported by very many people; I think the environmentalists
supported the Bradley bill more. But the Seymour bill at that time
did have the support of MWD and some other urban entities: San
Diego County Water Authority, some other groups, and some business
ventures . I have some letters here that I can make available to
the record. So there was--
Chall: Oh, I see. That's a good explanation for that entry.
Golb: So Johnston, in a very shrewd move, ultimately got the committee to
support the Seymour bill. It also did some other things; it also
had the effect of tying CVP legislation to 429.
Chall: Yes, right.
Golb: It was a very shrewd move.
Chall: It was an important milestone.
The Agriculture and Environmental Communities Try to Understand the
Golb: And that was mischaracterized by a lot of people in the media and
some of the constituency groups in that they all said, "Oh, my
gosh, this is doom and gloom. This is terrible." I don't think
many of them listened to what was being said by the principals, by
what the senators were saying. What the senators all saidSenator
Johnston, Senator Bradley, and Senator Seymourat the following
committee hearing was, "We're doing this to move the process along
and to continue negotiations and discussions on the legislation."
Which we did. We didn't reach agreement ultimately, but it did
continue on, and Seymour did continue to negotiate, did continue to
make offers on how his bill could be amended.
Again, Seymour was unable to amend his bill because the
committee and the legislative process didn't allow it. And the
agreement with Bradley and Johnston was no amendments.
Chall: Did that in a way almost mean a no-win situation for him?
Golb: For Seymour?
Golb: We felt it wasn't a great situation. Some of the newspapers
portrayed it as a victory for Seymour and for the agribusiness
interests. We didn't view it that way; we viewed it as a mixed
bag. We thought it was good that 2016 was included in the package
because it raised the level of awareness about all of the other
features besides just providing water for the environment, which
was really an important part of the debate. People needed to know
that the salmon problem we had on the Sacramento River wasn't
simply because there wasn't enough water in the river; it was
because we had projects like the Red Bluff Diversion Dam that were
taking huge numbers of salmon, and that there were other aspects of
the state and federal water projects that needed to be fixed.
Those concepts were good, and they needed to reach a wider
audience by including 2016 in H.R. 429at that time, it did
accomplish that. But we also recognized the limitations of being
unable to amend the bill, which we looked at as very serious. And
I've showed you how we had tried to understand the issues. You've
seen Seymour's handwritten marks on the documents, and there are
others. Here is another Seymour document thatthis is all his
writing- -lays out 2016 on the right side of the page and on the
left side is his new proposal in terms of what he was thinking of
at the time. You can see that there is tiered pricing provisions
in it, there are water transfer provisions in it, there's a
transfer provision here, there's upfront water, there's a
restoration fund, contract links to twenty-five years from forty in
his original bill.
So there was a tremendous amount of movement by John Seymour
in those negotiations. It's just that that's not the thing you put
in a press release or you tell the L.A. Times. But as a
legislator, he did everything he could at that time, at that point,
to negotiate with Bradley and Johnston. He made further proposals
and further negotiations later on, and when we get to that point
I ' 11 show you those documents .
The Business Community and the CVPIA
Chall: All right. Then we'll move on.
During this period in the spring of 1992, there was some
correspondence to and from [Richard] Rosenberg--! guess, the head
of the Bank of Americaand also from Mike Harvey--
Golb: Jim Harvey. The chairman of Transamerica.
Chall: Yes, Jim Harvey of the California Business Roundtable. Also who
comes into the picture from time to time is the Bay Area Economic
Forum's Mike McGill. Can you tell me something just in general
about the relationships you had with these business people?
Occasionally you indicated in your journals that there was some
correspondence, and you wanted John Seymour to answer this
correspondence with the business people. What was their
communication with him? I think they were more in favor of Miller-
Bradley than they were of 2016, but what was going on?
Golb: I can't speak for Jim Harvey or Dick Rosenberg other than their
correspondence, which I saw because I was directed by Senator
Seymour to draft a response to them which he ended up rewriting.
That happens a lot.
Chall: Of course. It happens to all of us.
Golb: So I saw these letters, and I thought that at the time the letters
from Jim Harvey, from Transamerica, and even Dick Rosenberg, were a
little bit off the mark in that they were focusing primarily on the
water transfer provisions; they didn't understand that better
transfer provisions in John Seymour's bill would have resulted in
more market-based transfers than what was in Miller or Bradley.
Based on their letters, I can assure you that Jim Harvey, the
chairman of Transamerica, and Dick Rosenberg of BofA, didn't read
Seymour's water transfer provisions. I don't think men at that
level have the time to probably do so, and I understand that. But
if they would have, they would have seen that his transfer
provisions actually embodied many of the concepts that they
They put out four principles on water transfers, that came out
of basically Bank of America and the Business Roundtable. Those
principles were primarily addressed in Seymour's water transfer
Chall: Do you have that information about their four principles?
Golb: Somewhere amidst these piles, yes. The very first one is that
existing water rights should be respected. And then another one is
that all water rights should be made as freely transferable as
possible, which conflicts with the first one in a sense. And there
were two others, but I don't recall what they are.
Chall: If you can't put your hand on it now, you may be able to when
you're editing the transcript.
Golb: Anyway, Senator Seymour wrote back to them on May 18, 1992, and I
would be happy to make a copy of that letter available.
Chall: Yes, very good. They continued, I guess, right up to the end to be
concerned about the bills.
Golb: Yes, they were concerned about the water transfer provisions in the
bill, and at the time Michael McGill was spending a lot of time
with them at the Bay Area Economic Forum encouraging them to be in
the debate. And you know now that Michael McGill is the chief of
staff for Senator Feinstein in Washington, D.C.
Chall: Right. I also know that McGill had something to do with Mr.
Fazio's suggestion at the end about the commitment of water and
money that went into the debate in the final conference. We'll
talk about that. 1
George Miller Introduces H.R. 5099; Revises it to Accommodate
Central Valley Congressmen
Chall: With respect to House bill 5099--I notice you have a pile of them
on a chair over therethat was Mr. Miller's bill, and it was
somewhat similar to the Johnston mark. After that bill came out,
Miller made a deal with Vic Fazio and Congressman [Richard] Lehman
and some others which the environmental community considered
weakened the bill from their standpoint. But the constituents of
Fazio and Lehman were quite upset with them. Can you talk a little
bit about that? [Dan] Beard claims that anything they would do
would anger their constituents even though, apparently, they were
hoping that they were working for something on their side.
Golb: There was a lot of uncertainty about what was happening. This
legislation that was being debated and discussed was unprecedented
in terms of the effect that it would have on people's lives, on the
water projects, and there was a tremendous amount of apprehension
about what would happen and how these things would take place. Any
time there was discussion among congressmen or senators about
something that might happen, a document would come out, there would
be a flurry of activity over what's in the document --what does it
do, what does it mean? Analysis would be written and drafted, and
all this action would take place. And so it was difficult for any
of the congressmen that represent the Central Valley to put
something forward that didn't immediately attract a lot of
attention. Fazio's proposals probably had more support from
Sacramento Valley ag interests than many realized. But
alternatively Lehman's constituents were much less enthusiastic
about his discussion with Miller.
Golb: Just because people felt that Congressman Miller was not acting in
their best interests. I think if you were a farmer in the Central
Valley, and you knew about Congressman Miller or you had seen him
give a speech on TV or you had read something that he said in the
newspaper, most of the time it was negative about who you were and
what you did. So why would you want your congressman negotiating
'Thomas Graff and David Yardas interview, p. 81.
Chall: I see. General distrust of Congressman Miller in the Central
Golb: That's right. They distrusted him because of his previous actions,
And he did nothing in that debate to change their perception of
The Conference Committee
Chall: During this period in May, they were making plans for the House-
Senate conference committee. In your May 7 entry in your journal,
you write, "Tell Wallop that Seymour wants to be a conferee."
Later, you indicate he changes his mind. The agriculture people
want him in the conference and Seymour doesn't want to be in the
conference. Can you explain that?
Golb: At the time, we were trying to figure out what was the best way to
proceedshould he be a conferee, should he not? He always felt
that he should be a conferee. In fact, there's a June 2 letter I
have here that I'll put in the record from Malcolm Wallop. It
says, "Dear John, thank you for your recent letter requesting to be
a conferee to the conference on H.R. 429." Seymour wanted to be a
conferee; he always did. Except at this point we were feeling that
the conference was going to be a slam dunk, that it wasn't going to
be a true House-Senate conference; it was a political setup.
Seymour was talking to me at meetings saying out loud, "Why the
heck should I be a conferee and try to put some more time into this
if all they're going to do is [snaps fingers] take the Bradley bill
or the Miller bill and just try to ram that down our throat?"
Remember, the way conference committees are structured is that
it's the house of originin the Senate and the House of
Representatives as well as relevant committees. I've got a list
here of the conferees on 429 from the Senate and the various
committees. In the House of Representatives, there were
representatives from the Committee on Interior, the Committee on
Merchant Marine and Fisheries, the Agriculture Committee, Public
Works and Transportation- -there were a lot of people on it. But
there were always moreat that point Democrats than Republicans,
more non-Calif ornians than Calif ornians. So we always felt we
didn't even get a fair shake at this. Didn't think that we would.
Ultimately, Seymour realized that he had to be a conferee,
there was no other choice. He wanted to be a conferee, and he felt
that was the way he should proceed. It was funny because the first
day of the conference, George Miller came out right off the bat
Water proposal protects our farms
One of your recent guest edi
torials criticized me for au
thoring a bill on the Central
Valley Project that is backed by
many of California's farmers. The
premise of the editorial appears to
be that if farmers support some
thing, it must be detrimental to the
larger interests of the state.
Nothing could be further from
- the truth. Over the years, Califor
nia's agricultural interests have been
repeatedly and unfairly maligned by
environmental groups, politicians
and even some media organizations.
These critics can challenge federal
water policy and agriculture's use of
water all they want, but they have
no business making personal attacks
on California fanners. These farm
ers, after all, are the folks who put
food on everyone's table.
The farmers have gotten a bad
rap, and so has my bill, the Central
Valley Project Fish and Wildlife Act
(S. 2016). It is designed to solve the
overriding problem of California's
water policy namely, rinding le
gal ways to transfer CVP water to
non-CVP users, such as our big
cities, while apportioning more wa
ter resources to fish and wildlife
Stripped of all the legal language,
that's what my bill does. It enables
CVP farmers to sell water through
out the state, and dedicates new wa
ter for environmental purposes
such as saving our salmon fisheries.
It does this, moreover, without
wrecking the farm industry or dev
astating the economies of rural com-
munides in the Central Valley.
The United States Senate ap
proved my bill last spring. More re
cently, the House approved a com
peting measure sponsored by Con-
gressman George Miller despite
the objections of all our democratic
Central Valley Congressmen.
A House-Senate conference
/\ committee may take up the
A. JLtwo reform bills in attempts
to develop a compromise measure.
The timing of the conference is to
tally up to George Miller, because
he chairs the House committee that
has jurisdiction over water issues. I
am ready to go to work on this com
promise. But George Miller is silent;
he's delaying action on compromise.
I think I know why George
hasn't acted. His bill, backed by the
most vocal environmental extrem
ists in the state, would have devas
tating consequences for California's
environment and economy. Miller
claims that his bill, like mine, will
enable farmers to sell water to urban
consumers. But his bill is so laden
with unachievable environmental
mandates and confiscatory water re
quirements that no meaningful water
transfers could ever take place. His
bill would take so much water from
Central Valley farms and cities
up* to 2.0 million acre-feet annually
that there would belittle if any
water left to sell to urban- and. indus
Miller's bill also claims, erro
neously, to benefit the environment,
particularly by restoring commercial
fisheries. But Miller's effort to save
our salmon could only be accom
plished through massive "water real-
locations" taking water away
from farm communities.
The real culprit in all of this is
not solely the Central Valley Project.
California fishery biologists say that
the real villain is six years of
drought, particularly in Northern
California's Klamath River basin.
State biologists also cite another cul
prit* salmon are being eaten by sea
lions, a species protected by the Ma
rine Mammals Act. Would the
groups so concerned about the fish
eries advocate we take sea lions off
the protected list so that endangered
salmon can live?
More importantly, Miller's bill
would hurt California's economy.
State economists estimate that
Miller's bill could cost up to S8 bil
lion in lost economic activity, and
thousands of jobs in the first year
Enally and Miller doesn't
ike to admit this his bill is
i trial lawyer's dream. Why?
Because water lawyers will send his
bill, if it becomes law, straight into
the courts. And it won't just be
agribusiness hiring the lawyers. An
army of attorneys for special-inter
est groups and environmental orga
nizations are poised to litigate, hop
ing to make an end-run and achieve
in the courts what they cannot ob
tain from Congress. In addition to
providing work for these highly paid
hired guns. Miller's bill includes a
"dozen's suit" provision that would
allow anyone with a typewriter and
a postage stamp to challenge any
water transfer in court
So much for reform.
While trial lawyers make a wind-
rail, Califomians and their jobs will
suffer under Miller's bill. Cities
won't get a drop of new water while
the issue is tied up in the courts.
Family farmers, unable to borrow
money without a firm supply of wa
ter, will go broke. And fish and
wildlife will continue to suffer, get
ting no more water than they get to
T I The House-passed bill is noth-
\ ing less than a gilt-edged invi-
JL tation to years of litigation.
It's not reform, and it's certainly not
balanced. The only thing it will do,
for sure, is continue the gridlock and
stalemate over California water poli
If the House and Senate confer
ees want to enact a balanced long-
term water policy for California,
they should support the water trans
fer policies in my bill. It provides
our best hope for restoring fish and
wildlife habitats, and our only hope
for transferring water from farms to
our thirsty cities. The major water
districts in the state already know
this. That's why my bill is supported
by the Metropolitan Water District,
the San Diego County Water Au
thority, the Kern County Water Dis
trict, and all of the Central Valley
If George Miller is willing to do
the right thing, we can enact an his
toric water policy bill for all Califor-
nians this year. If he's not, Califor
nia's fisheries and cities will pay the
price for his intransigence.
Sen. John Seymour represents
California in the US. Senate.
[snaps fingers] and said as soon as the conference started, "Well,
we've got a deal. Here it is, I've got this package that I've
worked with all my colleagues on--" And Seymour says, "Who did you
work with on it?" Miller said, "Well, I worked with all the
members of the delegation." Seymour said, "I haven't seen it."
And Rick Lehman said, "I haven't seen it." And other members of
the California delegation that were on the committee Cal Dooley
said, "I haven't seen it." That precipitated a sharp exchange
between Seymour and Miller over the fact that actually Miller had
drafted a document, hadn't shown it to anybody except Vic Fazio
five minutes prior to the conference, but yet told everybody he had
a consensus package.
So Seymour's fears were realized in that they tried to ram
something down his throat.
Senator Seymour's Stamina; Dealing With the CVPIA and His Election
Chall: I would guess that about this time- -this is getting into September
almostwhat with the elections, Seymour might have been having
real problems with nerves, being tired, being unsure of a lot of
things. It must have been difficult to keep his mind on this.
Golb: He worked very hard; he was very committed. He took the commitment
of being appointed to the seat seriously, and he wanted to win the
election, and he worked very, very hard. Most of the time he would
fly out to California on a Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, he
would return on a red-eye on a Sunday night, and he would get into
Washington, D.C., about four or five in the morning. Somebody
would go out and pick him up and take him back to his house, he
would have a shower, say hello to his wife and kids, get dressed,
and he would be in the office at seven or eight in the morning. He
would work a full day and stay there as late as the session
He did that almost for two years. He couldn't sleep on
planes, so he didn't sleep muchit wasn't like he was napping. He
was very engaged. He called me in the morning [chuckle] a number
of times very early, and he would call me very late. I had dinner
one night with Dave Kennedy at a place in Washington, D.C.; we had
just finished dinner, we were looking at the dessert tray, and the
waitress came out and said, "Is there a Rich Golb at this table?"
Needless to say, I didn't get dessert.
So he was very engaged, and he worked very hard, but yes, it
wore on him. It would wear on anybody. I mean, flights from
California to Washington and Washington to California are pretty
rough when you do it once a week.
Chall: That would be rough enough, but in addition if you're trying to run
a campaign in an election year--
Golb: A statewide campaign in California.
Chall: Then you're having real difficulties.
Golb: His work ability was pretty amazing; I haven't seen anyone work
harder than he did. He worked very, very hard. A lot of people
don't realize this, but the night that he was actually on the floor
filibustering against 429, he had flown out to California the
previous weekend to see his son who was in a treatment program.
And based on the circumstances, his son could only have visitors on
certain days, and that Sunday was a day that he could have a
visitor. So the senator flew out and visited his son and came back
to Washington on a red-eye, got back into Washington at five or six
in the morning on Monday.
At nine or ten o'clock Monday night, Senator [Alfonse] D'Amato
began his filibuster in which Seymour joined in. We were up all
night and through the next day, and that wasn't resolved until
three o'clock the next afternoon. So the guy didn't sleep for over
two days and was sharp as could be.
didn't show it. Quite a guy.
He was probably exhausted, but
The Somach-Graff Negotiations
Chall: We're going to back up a bit and talk about the Somach-Graff
negotiations. Then I would like to ask you also about the meaning
of a Dooley-Lehman deal or draft which comes up toward the end of
September and early October. Talk to me about the Somach-Graff
Seymour was apparently quite upset after it was all over, and
I think it's quite interesting when he asked, "What am I? A
mushroom? Kept in the dark and fed B.S.?"--I guess that's a fairly
accurate account, from your journal.
Golb: Yes, he asked me that. He was in California, and I hadn't had a
chance to brief him on this. So when he got there [Washington], he
had a memo on his desk that I had written for him. He got the memo
and said, "Where is this stuff? I want to see it; what's going on?
What's up? What am I? A mushroom? Kept in the dark, fed B.S.?"
So we sat down, and I briefed him.
But the Somach-Graff meetings had been going on for almost a week
or more. They had been asked to meet by--Mr. Peltier says it was
his G-4 group who asked Somach. Tom Graff said he was called by
Joe Raeder of Dooley's staff. But however it was done, I mean,
each one of them was asked because you were obviously both sides--
at an impasse and felt that something must be done. So they asked
these two people, who were both credible in terms of their sides,
to get together.
Tom Graff says that they met on June 8, 9, 10, and 11; most of
the time just the two of them. When they were ready to present the
draft on June 16 Somach was called out and told that he couldn't go
in and brief the sides because Governor Wilson had, at the behest
of Mark Borba, decided it was the wrong approach. So how did
Seymour react, once he found out about it
The Somach-Graff draft came out on June 15. Seymour was out of the
office and came back in on June 16, the next day, and said, "What's
going on?" And then you saw in my journal probably why I gave him
a copy of the whole document.
And he asked Somach to come in and brief him too, right?
Right. And he talked to Tom Graff about it, I believe. Seymour
was supportive; he thought it was great that Tom and Stuart were
working together. And again, that's why he respected Tom Graff so
much. He felt Graff was a stand-up guy. Graff knew there was a
problem and thought there was a way to solve it. They avoided all
the political games and attempted to do it. They sat down, and he
and Stuart worked very hard.
Stuart deserves a lot of credit. He was criticized by some of
his clients and some folks for attempting to do this, but they were
trying to solve the problem, and that's the way the issue should
have been handleda sincere attempt to come up with something.
And they did; they came up with it on the 15th, and it went out.
There are a lot of stories about why there wasn't a negotiation,
and whether or not Stuart was told not to go into the room or asked
not to go into the room and negotiate or
Isn't that pretty well understood, that he was told not to go into
Golb: That's the story that goes around.
Chall: You don't believe it? You think there's another story. Let's have
Golb: Well, has anyone asked what happened inside the room when the
meeting occurred? When Tom went in by himself?
Chall: Well, he was pretty well beaten up.
Golb: Environmentalists beat him up, and George Miller just skewed him up
one side and down the other.
Chall: They didn't like his side either.
Golb: They thought it was terrible.
Chall: But they did allow him to go in and explain it.
Golb: Sure, they just wanted to hear how bad it was so they could then
beat him up. That's a very telling portrait of what was happening
in the debate. Here is a respected member of the environmental
community, one of the more senior members, Tom Graff, who goes out
and comes up with a document, goes back to Washington, and the so-
called environmental congressman beats him up for negotiating
something that probably would have done a lot better than anything
else introduced at that point. That says a lot.
And as for the other side, there were a lot of farmers that
thought Stuart had made a mistake, had misstepped. They didn't
want him negotiating. Some of them didn't want him negotiating
with Graff, and some of them didn't want to negotiate with Miller.
But again, I thought Stuart was doing the right thing, and Seymour
was very supportive of both Somach and Graff, and thought the
document they produced was a step forward.
Chall: It worked its way into the final document, too.
Golb: Some elements.
The Ongoing Debate Over the CVPIA
Chall: But taken how they had left it--a lot of it for further study, and
all that sort of thingit just occurred to me the other day
thinking about it that maybe you would still be debating it today.
Not that you're not still debating it.
Golb: Just because President Bush signed CVPIA, that hasn't ended the
debate. There are major provisions in the law: the water transfer
section, the 800,000 acre-feet for the environment, the contract
renewal provisions, and a lot of the fish and wildlife elements.
There haven't been any water transfers from ag to urban, so the
water transfer section needs work.
The Bureau of Reclamation can't identify what the 800,000
acre- feet is going for, where it's going, or how it's being
utilized. The contract renewal provisions have just been a
disaster in terms of the way the bureau has attempted to
renegotiate contracts with the water districts. Many of the
provisions in the bill aren't going forward because the bureau is
not allocating the $50 million a year that the water and power
contractors are paying into this fund.
Chall: They are paying it into the fund?
Golb: Yes, $50 million a year. And those funds have to be allocated by
the bureau, and the bureau's not allocating all of the money; only
small amounts of it. And I think if you talk to a lot of the
members of the environmental community or Tom, he'll tell you that
the bureau is using too much of the money for overhead and
The fish and wildlife problems haven't entirely gone away.
Some of the major problems that people were legitimately attempting
to resolve haven't gone away. We have a law that has lots of flaws
in it; it's only partially working. Again, that is a function of a
debate that was characterized more by politics than policy.
Chall: So you really don't think much at all of the bill. Is that right?
Golb: I think something had to be done. I won't dispute at all the
tremendous problems with fish and wildlife, and the fact that the
projects have created most of those problemsor a good portion of
them. I don't dispute that at all. I think we needed some
legislation. Senator Seymour offered a bill that he said was a
first step. He made offers that exceeded the provisions in his
bill; he attempted to go further than that, and he would have gone
further had there been more time.
But again, because it was a political debate and because
various members of the interest groups were continually making it a
political debate, there was an urgency to get something done.
Because there were a lot of individuals that headed large
organizations that felt that they could cut a better deal and get
what they wanted and would jump ship from one bill to another in
order to get that, that played into this whole process of Just
getting a bill. And what they got was a law that doesn't work very
well. We needed something. We didn't need that law.
Chall: Are you as concerned about the twenty- five year contract renewal
limits as Mr. Peltier? Do successive twenty-five years seem as
disastrous to you as it did to him at the time?
Golb: Jason was in a difficult position at the time in terms of where
things were in California and what was happening. I think that
from our perspectivewell, more appropriately, it's Senator
Seymour's view, having been involved in a lot of financing issues
as a real estate developer- -including some large projectshe knew
that twenty- five years wasn't as good as forty years, but under the
circumstances it was sufficient.
Chall: Why don't we just go into the last month? But in between, is there
something on the table here that you want
Correspondence Between Senators Seymour and Bradley
Chall: I did start to ask you what you might want to talk about that we
hadn't covered thus far.
Golb: Following this chronologically, it's pretty clear now based on
some of the documents that you've seen and that I'll make
available that Senator Seymour was very much engaged in the issue,
he spent a tremendous amount of time on it, it was a priority for
him. He attempted to negotiate extensively with Senator Bradley
and other members of the Senate. He met with all of the different
interests at one point or another, and he was doing his best to
come up with a package that would work.
There's some additional documents here that I'll make
available to you. One is a January 3, 1992, letter from Senator
Seymour to Senator Bradley, expressing again a desire to attempt to
negotiate more. This was after the hearings had ended by now and
the beginning of the new year. Then Senator Seymour again
responded to Senator Bradley later that year in September with a
letter September 18, 1992outlining some of his major priorities
in CVP legislation and again reiterating that he wanted to continue
to negotiate, to try to keep going.
Here's another letter that's interesting. This is a September
17 letter from Bill Bradley to John Seymour. It says, "I'm writing
to follow up on our conversation last night. You asked me whether
I was open to making changes to the House offer on the CVP title of
J. IINNETT JOHNSTON. LOUISIANA. CHAIRMAN 5 2 3
DALE rjMPERS. ARKANSAS MALCOLM WALLOP. WYOMING
WENDELL H FORD. KENTUCKY MARK 0. HATFHLD. OREGON
ILL BRADLEY NEW JERSEY PETE V DOMENICl NEW MEXICO
JCFF BINGAMAN. NEW MEXICO FRANK H MURKOWSKI. ALASKA
TIMOTHY E WIRTH COLORADO DON NICKLES OKLAHOMA
KENT CONRAD NORTH DAKOTA CONRAD BURNS. MONTANA
DANIEL K AKAKA. HAWAII LARRY E CRAIG. IDAHO
WYCHE FOWLER. JR. GEORGIA JOHN SEYMOUR. CALIFORNIA
RICHARD C SHELBY. ALABAMA JAKE GARN. UTAH
PAUL WELLSTONE. MINNESOTA COMMITTEE ON
BENJAMIN S COOPER. STAFF DIRECTOR ENCPfSV AND NATI IRA1 PFSm IRPFQ
MICHAEL HARVEY. CHIEF COUNSEL ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
C ROBERT WALLACE. STAFF DIRECTOR FOR THE MINORITY
GARY G. ELLSWORTH. CHIEF COUNSEL FOR THE MINORITY WASHINGTON, DC 2051 0-6 1 50
September 17, 1992
Honorable John Seymour
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
I am waiting to follow up on our conversation last night.
You asked me whether I was open to making changes to the House
offer on the CVP title of H.R. 429. As I said last night, and
have said to you previous ly in hearings on the CVP and during
other conversations, I welcome your ideas and would be pleased to
receive your recommendations on CVP reform. I am quite prepared
to accept constructive amendments .
You have not offered any written proposals to me, nor, as I
understand it, has your staff communicated proposals to my staff
or to the Majority staff of the Energy Committee.
Given how little time is left in the session, and the
importance of passing H.R. 429, I certainly hope that you will be
able to bring your ideas forward soon, within the next day or
two, so that the Conference Committee has time to consider your
Bfcdl Bradley, Chairman
~ Subcommittee on Water and Power
ECIVEQ SEP 1 71992
JOHN SP/MOUR r 9 , COMMITTEES.-
CALIFORNIA D AGRICULTURE. NUTRITION. AND FORESTS
ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
WASHINGTON, DC 20510-0503
September 18, 1992
The Honorable Bill Bradley
United States Senate
Washington, DC 205 10
As I have said to you personally and in writing, I am committed to working with
Chairman Johnston, Senator Wallop, yourself and other members of the Senate Energy
Committee to develop responsible legislation which addresses legitimate fish and
wildlife problems in California's Central Valley Project.
I appreciate your offer to review any ideas I may have on how we should resolve
the outstanding issues involved in CVP legislation. I am, however, somewhat perplexed
by your suggestion I have not offered any written proposals to you. I'm sure you
would agree I was very flexible in offering several proposals as we attempted to craft
compromise legislation earlier this year in the Energy Committee library with Senators
Johnston, Wallop, and Burns. While I was willing to continue those discussions, I am
unaware of any efforts to maintain them. As you recall, after considerable discussion
we all realized that the "Chairman's Mark" and various versions of it were simply
unworkable and too costly. The proposal offered by Congressman Miller and yourself
contains many of the same onerous provisions.
In an effort to move the other titles in H.R. 429, the Committee and Senate
passed S. 2016. 1 would hope you would consider this bill which includes twenty-two
provisions to restore fish and wildlife habitat and allows for the transfer of Central
Valley water to cities statewide. This bill is supported by California urban and
agricultural interests alike.
I am seriously concerned the proposal put forth by Congressman Miller and
yourself will have severe social, economic and environmental consequences upon
California. This year, the Central Valley Project will only deliver roughly 4.5 million
acre feet. Yet, your proposal would commit up to 2 million acre feet to fish and
wildlife. According to California's Department of Food and Agriculture, this would
cost California up to $8 billion annually in lost economic activity and thousands of jobs.
To generate funds for fish and wildlife activities, your proposal mandates a $50
million annual tax on all CVP water and power sales. I'm sure you are aware this will
ultimately be passed along to the people of California.
The Honorable Bill Bradley
September 18, 1992
Despite the proposal's inclusion of a water transfer provision, cities and
municipalities will find it nearly impossible to purchase water from CVP water users.
The reallocation for fish and wildlife removes much of the available water supply
farmers could transfer. Additionally, the imposition of a 15% tax on all water
transfers and authorization for the Secretary of the Interior to arbitrarily revise water
transfer agreements between willing buyers and willing sellers will simply act as a
disincentive to any meaningful water transfers.
I also question the wisdom of including a citizen suit provision so lenient anyone
with a postage stamp and a typewriter could file suit against the Federal Government.
At the Sacramento field hearing on May 30, 1991, you indicated to me that a citizen suit
provision was not helpful, and in fact detrimental to CVP legislation. I think we share
the goal of legislation which resolves fish and wildlife problems. This provision would
only encourage litigation at the expense of California's environment and economy.
These are some of my primary areas of concern. What suggestions might you
have to mitigate the devastating economic consequences of yours and Congressman
Miller's proposal? I remain willing to work with you to develop a responsible
approach that truly reflects the concerns of all of California's needs.
H.R. 429." Senator Bradley says, "As I've said last night and have
said to you previously at hearings--" and on and on and on, "I
welcome your ideas and am pleased to receive them." And then he
says, "You have not offered any written proposals to me." I'll
make that letter available, too.
You know now that you've seen the original Seymour bill,
you've seen the document that was in the negotiations, you've seen
some of the written documents--! can tell you that that's not the
case, and that's a mischaracterization. Unfortunately, that was
not infrequent in this debate. Because it was so public, there was
a need for various individuals to posture about how they said
Here again is a September 24 letter, which I'm going to make
available to you, from John Seymour to all of the members of the
Energy and Natural Resources Committee; it's a new proposal that
lays out specific new provisions. It's basically the Dooley-Lehman
proposal with some minor changes to it. I'll make that available
Revisions of the Seymour Bill Rejected by Congressman Miller and
Chall: I did want to talk about what this Dooley-Lehman proposal. That's
in that letter?
Golb: Yes. It outlines some of the major provisions, and it goes further
than what was in the original Seymour bill 2016. That was
rejected. That proposal was rejected by Miller and Bradley; it
didn't go far enough. So we had the original Seymour bill, which
didn't go far enough. Then we had Seymour make additional
proposals on upfront water, on project purpose, and on a number of
other areas, in the Senate negotiations in the Energy and Natural
Resources Committee library. That wasn't enough. So then the
Dooley-Lehman proposal came forth which Seymour embraced; that
wasn't enough for Miller and Bradley. Then Seymour came out with
another proposal which is dated October 1, two weeks later, that he
sent in the form of a letter to all the members of the committee;
I'll make that available to you. And that wasn't enough for Miller
By then, they had the train moving, and it was all the
momentum built up by the hostages that were included in H.R. 429.
All the states so badly wanted their project. They saw that it
looked like Bush was going to lose the election at that point .
JOHNSfYMOUR ^^ NUTMT10M ^ ^^
5 3 a tNtRGY AND NATUlL HISOUHCES
WASHINGTON, DC 20510-0503
September 24, 1992
The Honorable Malcolm Wallop
United States Senator
Washington, DC 20510
Enclosed is a new proposal regarding California's Central Valley Project
put forth by Congressmen Cal Dooley and Rick Lehman.
This proposal goes far beyond the CVP bill (S. 2016) adopted by the Senate
earlier this year and seems to me to be an honest effort to try and bridge the
differences between my legislation and the latest proposal made by Congressman
According to the sponsors, the Dooley/Lehman proposal would:
Establish fish and wildlife as a project purpose of the Central Valley Project.
Include new language on wildlife refuges - the proposal modifies the language to
provide an additional 230,000 acre-feet of water immediately to fifteen National
wildlife refugees and management areas. Within ten years, die Secretary is
required to provide 525,000 acre-feet to the same refugees.
Establish a Central Valley Project Restoration Fund - this fund will collect up to
$15 million annually from CVP water and power users to fund fish and wildlife
restoration measures contained in the bill, incorporating language developed by
the House Appropriations Committee to deal with budget concerns.
Require the Secretary of Interior to participate in the San Joaquin River
Management Program - this program under development by the State of
California is designed to resolve fish and wildlife problems on the San Joaquin
Modify water transfer provisions - provides for State control of all Central
Valley Project water transfers by 1997.
The Honorable Malcolm Wallop
September 24, 1992
I am reviewing the proposal, and I would welcome any suggestions or
concerns which you may have on the draft. It avoids many of the contentious
and, in my view, irrelevant provisions of the Miller draft such as citizen suits and
focuses directly on fish and wildlife. Given the limited time left to the Congress,
I believe we can work out some agreement which will begin to address the
legitimate fish and wildlife needs of the CVP and enable the project to assist in
meeting California's water needs. Although I have some reservations over the
Dooley/Lehman proposal, I believe it is a good offer.
I realize the time constraints upon you and your staff at this point are
enormous, however, I would be deeply appreciative of any comments you may
have. Please contact Rich Golb of my staff at 224-9628.
tf John Seymwur
They didn't want to wait for another Congress to begin. They
wanted their project so badly that they were willing to sell out
the California provisions in order to get what they wanted.
Seymour continually made proposals.
The fact that what we have today in law is a bad bill was
evidenced by the fact that the majority of California's delegation
voted against it in Congress. The governor was opposed to it, most
of California's delegation--! think the number is actually twenty-
five members to nineteen- -voted against the bill in the House of
Representatives. In the Senate, it was split. Senator Cranston
voted for it, and Senator Seymour voted against it.
I think what you see is that there was a real effort and an
attempt to engage on the policy issues. In addition, Seymour
offered another bill--
Chall: Yes, I wanted to ask you about that S. 3365.
Do you have an extra one? [points to document]
Golb: I think I do.
Chall: I didn't know about that at all until I read your material.
Senator Seymour Submits S. 3365 and Filibusters Against H.R. 429
Golb: Here's what happened on the floor of the Senate; there's a lot of
confusion about this. Senator Seymour knewand he was very clear
about it; there wasn't any hidden agenda. He told everyone that if
the Miller-Bradley bill proceeded forward, and if they rejected his
proposal, that he would attempt to stop it. He had been urged on
by many of the members in the House as well as the governor, so he
attempted to join a filibuster that Senator Alfonse D'Amato from
New York began over another issue.
This started about nine- thirty at night on a Monday evening,
and Senator Seymour went to the floor, and assisted with the
filibuster. Seymour helped D'Amato, and we continued that. When
the next day arrived, Senator Seymour requested- -which is a
parliamentary procedurethat the Central Valley Project
Improvement Act bill be read in its entirety; it's a procedure to
delay, to take up time, which Seymour was attempting to use as
negotiation. And they did. They began to read the bill all the
way through, line by line. It's not an unusual procedure; it's--.
Chall: Yes, it's done, but what was he expecting? It was practically the
Golb: It was almost the end of the session, and he felt that that offered
him some leverage, that he might be able to get further negotiation
and try to get some provisions that California could live with.
Chall: But that would mean that it would be most likely done the following
Golb: Well, it's possible. It was pretty late in the session; there
wasn't a lot of time left. You know, at the end of the session is
when many deals are finalized, and you would be amazed at what
happens in the last day of a legislature.
Chall: Then why did he think thatthis bill, 3365, is not that much
different from what he offered in April or March. Yet there seemed
to be some significant differences or revisions from 2016 that
might not have been acceptable to the agriculture community.
Golb: We went out on a limb [laughter]. It's kind of unfortunate in a
way, because in the debate itself people just didn't know this.
This wasn't something, again, that you publicize. He felt that
there was a problem, it needed to be solved, he was in the
legislature, and the arena in which you solve these problems in the
legislative process is negotiation. Sometimes that means you have
to give on some things and take on the other. He was willing to
give on many of the provisions that some of his constituents had
the most difficulty with.
Seymour was willing to provide more water up front in exchange
for more certainty on contract renewal. He was willing to provide
some form of elevating fish and wildlife needs from what they were
in terms of project purpose in exchange for commitments to build
projects to recover the water that was provided for fish and
wildlife. So you provide a certain amount of water for fish and
wildlife, and that would be taken away from agriculture initially,
but at some point that water would get back to agriculture. Maybe
you would build some more off -stream reservoirs or something.
He was willing to make and did make extensive offers that
some of his constituents would have had a lot of difficulty with.
Actually some of his constituents asked him to just go for a veto
of the bill much earlier on. He didn't go for a veto of the bill
until his filibuster was broken, and the conference report passed
the Senate. At that point, he then proceeded to attempt to secure
a veto by the president. But up until that point, he was still
negotiating, and it was actually in negotiations with Bradley that
led to this final bill, S. 3365.
What Seymour did is that in negotiations with Senator [Robert]
Dole and the former Senate majority leader, George Mitchell, on the
floor of the Senatewhat they told Seymour is, "Look, you can't
filibuster forever. You have a limited amount of time, and you're
going to have to at some point give it up." And Seymour was
getting a tremendous amount of pressure to stop the filibuster. He
was also getting a lot of encouragement. Again, something a lot of
people don't know is that a lot of congressmen came over from the
House of Representatives--Cal Dooley, Rick Lehman; Vic Fazio even
called from the Chicago airport. A whole bunch of the members of
the House- -even some not from California- -came over and personally
encouraged him and said, "You're doing the right thing. No one's
going to know about it, but don't let go." A lot of people did. A
number of senators came over to him and said, "I know you feel
lonely, you're all alone, but you're doing the right thing."
But ultimately there wasn't enough support. He was alone and
didn't get the support he needed. He had to break the filibuster.
So he agreed that he would stop his filibuster in exchange for a
certain amount of floor time to discuss the issue and argue against
Senator Bradley, and if he was allowed to introduce a new bill.
And he did this because we thoughtwe knew this was unlikely, but
we thought that if President Bush did veto the bill, H.R. 429, that
we wanted to have another bill available to start with, to start
the discussions with.
So this was really just an attempt that if 429 was vetoed, we
would have something else to throw into the debate. And this bill
went a lot further from 2016.
Chall: Certainly it was. And I just wonder whether it would have been
also a non-starter in the following session. I guess we don't
Golb: We'll never know.
Attempts to Gain Agriculture's Acceptance of the Revisions
Chall: It had some elements in it that I would think some of the CVP
growers would not have accepted. And they didn't accept it along
Golb: They had a tough time with it.
Chall: In your journal here, toward the last, you were meeting a great
deal with Beirne and Ellsworth on the Dooley-Lehman proposal. And
with Johnston, with Somach, and with Roger Fontes. Who's Roger
Golb: He's with the Central Valley--he's with the power contractors.
Chall: I see. Dave Kennedy, Gray Stapleswho is Gray Staples?
Golb: He was a legislative assistant to Congressman Rick Lehman.
Chall: Dan Nelson and Senator [Larry] Craig. I gather, just from reading
parts of your journal from middle of September to when it was all
over, that you talked to these people and a host of others almost
Golb: We were trying pull agriculture, and others, further along.
Chall: Trying to come up with what you said was a reasonable alternative?
Golb: At that point, a lot of Central Valley farmers thought they would
get a veto from President Bush. And Seymour didn't think that was
a good strategy. He just said, "How the heck do you go ask for a
veto when we're not even finished with the legislative process?
Let's not give up." But we were having trouble getting some of the
farmers to give more in the negotiations. So I spent a tremendous
amount of time you can see in the journal- -try ing to find a way to
get them to go a little bit further so that Seymour could make more
overtures. Ultimately, he made a lot of them anyway.
Chall: Yes, he ultimately did without even getting their approval.
Golb: Right, which he felt he had to do. But we were trying as
desperately as we could to move ahead.
Chall: At eight-thirty--this was on the night of September 24-- [according
to the journal] "Kim [Schnoor] and Somach called him at home." Now
I don't know whether that means they called you at home, or Senator
Golb: What's the date?
Chall: September 24. I imagine it was you.
Golb : Right .
Chall: They called to say that the farmers would not approve upfront water
and wanted to go backwards from the Seymour bill. Right?
Golb: That's right.
Chall: And you wrote, "Seymour wants to look reasonable." You were really
in difficulties here at the very end, trying to deal with this.
Yeah, it was horrible; it was really bad. At that point in the
debate it was so political, and most of the people in the debate
had basically forgotten about the policy. It was either how do you
get a veto or how are we going to get this bill through the Senate.
Some of the farmers, not all, but some of the fanners had started
to go south and said that we went too far on 2016. They had no
idea that Seymour had gone way beyond 2016 at that point.
You see, no one saw it in print. Environmentalists didn't
know that Seymour went much further because Bradley and Miller
wouldn't tell them. Or didn't tell them. And the farmers didn't
know, and the urban guys really didn't know. But Seymour had gone
much further, and so we were under a lot of pressure at that point
from many of our constituents to not go much further.
But obviously Seymour did because he felt it was the right
thing to do. He felt if you were going to be in a negotiation that
you've got to be reasonable, and the only way you can do that and
be credible is to continue to try to solve the problem. In this
case, that meant he had to give on a couple points: he had to give
on contract length, he had to give on upfront water, he had to give
on some of the water transfer provisions, some of the restoration
fund issues. That doesn't mean you have to give it all away, but
you have to go a little bit further. He did.
But it just seems that it came so late,
tried it earlier and didn't succeed.
Of course, I guess you
Golb: Again, as we've talked about it and as I've showed you, when
Seymour introduced the bill in November of '91, he said, "It's just
a beginning." It wasn't until March that the negotiations began in
earnest in the Energy Committee library, and at that point, he made
a number of offers on a whole bunch of issues. Then his bill was
passed out of committee, and at that point the people that he was
negotiating with went and put their own package together. By the
time we got back into it, he made three more proposals, and he went
much further than what was in 2016.
Chall: Toward the end, September 30, according to your journals, you faxed
fifty pages from, or to (I wasn't sure) Somach and [Gary] Sawyers.
You worked on it all day. Who faxed? This entry seems to
encompass September 30 through October 1.
Golb: Actually, at this point, this is where Seymour wanted to introduce
a new bill. So he wanted to change his bill a little bit. So what
he did herein the journalis that he wanted to send a new
proposal to all the senators on the committee and say, "Look, this
is my final offer." What I write in the journal is that Gary
Sawyers was in, and so I faxed him the fifty pages--
Chall: You faxed him?
Golb: Yes, on the latest draft; we started making changes to it. Gary
Sawyers is a good attorney. He represents the Friant water users,
and he was heavily involved in the debate and has a good feel for
the CVP. He, along with Stuart Somach, provided a lot of the legal
Another attorney that was also heavily involved is Mark Atlas,
who represents the Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority. Mark is really
knowledgeable about the T-C Canal issues and about Sacramento River
water contractssettlement contracts, and he was actually very
Chall: So at the last minute there was just a lot of activity. All kinds
of people. But who, if anyone, actually helped write the revisions
in 2016 and that final effort 3365? Who worked on these final
Golb: I wrote many of the revisions at Seymour's direction, along with
some of the committee staff --Jim Beirne, Gary Ellsworth, and some
of the California attorneys. Some of the changes were based on
ideas from the conservation interests such as Dan Chapin of the
California Water Fowl Association.
The Conference Committee Produces the Final Draft of the Omnibus
Chall: Tell me a little about Vic Fazio and his activities within the
conference. Now he seemed to have some place in the conference
although toward the end I gather that Senator Seymour didn't. But
Fazio brought in according to Tom Graff it probably originated
with Mike McGill the idea for a $30 million restoration fund and
800,000 acre-feet of water. That was a Fazio proposal that stayed
Golb: Right. Congressman Fazio came out in the end and made some
amendments that were included in the final bill, that are now in
the final law, and that had a tremendous impact on the debate. He
did a really good job of identifying some issues where there was
room to maneuver. He had a pretty good rapport with the
environmental community as well as the agricultural community and
c Q INWGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
WASHINGTON. DC 20510-0503
October 1, 1992
The Honorable Malcolm Wallop
Ranking Minority Member
U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC. 20510
Enclosed is yet another counter proposal to try to find an equitable solution on
the most contentious issue of reform for California's Central Valley Project (CVP).
My objective from the outset has been to ensure an orderly transfer of CVP
water from agricultural needs to urban, industrial and environmental needs. My
priorities from the very beginning have been (1) people and their jobs and (2) fish,
wildlife and environmental enhancement.
I am well aware that water projects in other states, important to my colleagues,
have been included in this bill. It is unfortunate that Senator Bradley and Congressman
Miller have held these projects "hostage" to CVP reform.
I am hopeful we can, in the brief time remaining, yet conclude an agreement.
However, in the event that is unsuccessful, I am fully committed to defeat this
legislation in every possible way.
Thank you for all your understanding and support. I would be pleased to meet
with you, should you have any further ideas on how I might conclude a successful
SEYMOUR CVP PROPOSAL 10/7/92
S. 3365, the Central Valley Project Fish and Wildlife Act of 1992
1) 25 year successive water contracts for all CVP water contractors;
2) $20 million restoration fund for fish and wildlife restoration measures;
3) Project purpose for fish and wildlife tied to specific mitigation, protection,
and restoration actions;
4) Twenty-two specific fish and wildlife restoration and mitigation measures;
5) Provides for State control of all Central Valley Project water transfers by
January 1, 1996;
6) All fish and wildlife mitigation, protection, and restoration measures shall
be carried out in a manner which facilitates transfer out of the CVP to the
State of California;
7) Immediately provides an additional 230,000 acre feet of water to
California Central Valley wildlife refuges. Within ten years, a total of
525,000 acre-feet of water shall be provided;
8) Removes unlimited CVP water contract renewal based upon water transfer
agreements, and provides 20% from all water transfers for fish and
wildlife purposes; and
9) The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Governor of
California, shall identify additional actions to mitigate CVP impacts and
will protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat.
was able to make some changes that the other congressmen and
senators were able to go along with.
Chall: Is that because his district is a little different?
Golb: It's because his district was a lot different, it's because he's
been around a long time, he's a Democrat, and he's very good at
what he does, and there's a lot of respect for him in Washington.
Whereas Seymour was a Republican, hadn't been around that long, and
they felt at that point he was going to lose the election so they
didn't want to give him anything. They wanted him to lose the
election, and they felt that one way to get rid of him was to beat
him bad on CVP and make him look like the loser. And so Fazio was
able to get some provisions in that had been very helpful, and he
did a good job. He's a class guy and handled himself very well
during the debate. Seymour and he actually got along very well.
The Omnibus Water Bill Passes Through the Congress; Analysis of
Some of the Factors Involved
Chall: I guess toward the end the western water people wanted 429. There
was no way they were going to support Senator Seymour at that
point. There's a lot of interesting information in the
Congressional Record and the Congressional Quarterly, but anybody
can read that .
How did you all feel when 429 passed? Disappointed?
Golb: It was tough; it was really tough. We had spent almost two years
working on that, and for me it was the primary issue that I worked
on. We had put in a lot of eighty- ninety-hour weeks, a lot of
trips to California, a lot of frustration. For somebody that was
twenty-nine years old, that was about as big a debate as you could
ever be involved in or ever want to be involved in at that level.
I imagine Seymour felt pretty bad. He felt pretty bad when it was
over, but I know that he felt confident that he had done everything
he possibly could have. Everything. I know he did; I've talked to
him since. I know he feels like what he did was the right thing.
Again, remember that if it was purely political, and all he
cared about was his campaign, he wouldn't have advocated the
agricultural position. He would have advocated the urban position.
All the votes in this state are in Los Angeles, San Diego, San
Francisco. That's where all the big fundraising efforts are. If
you want to make a lot of money fundraising as a candidate or you
want to get votes, you go to the cities. You don't go to Fresno
J. KNNETT JOHNSTON. LOUISIANA. CHAIRMAN
DALE SuMPERS. ARKANSAS MALCOLM WALLOP. WYOMING
WENDELL H FORO. KENTUCKY MARK O. HATFlfLD. OREOON
ILL BRADLFY. NEW JERSEY PITI V. DOMfMCi. NEW MEXICO 60 a
JEFF IINGAUAN. NCW MEXICO FRANK H MURKOWSKI. ALASKA
TIMOTHY L WMTH COLORADO DON NtCKLES. OKLAHOMA
KINT CONRAD. NORTH DAKOTA CONRAD tURNS. MONTANA
DANIEL X. AKAKA. HAWAII LARKY E. CRAKS. IDAHO
WYCHE FOWLER. JR. GEORGIA JOHN SEYMOUR. CALIFORNIA
RKHARD C. SHfUY. ALAIAUA JAKE OARN. UTAH
PAULWELLSTONE.M*NUOTA ^^^ w CHPKTOR COMMITTEE ON
TMKHAEL HARVFT O^CMNSEL" ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
a ROBERT WALLACE. STAFF DIRECTOR FOR THE MINORITY
OARY 0. ELLSWORTH. CHW COUNSEL FOR THE MWOBTY WASHINGTON, DC 205 10- 1 50
October 5, 1992
The Honorable Pete Wilson
State of California
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Qoyernor Wi 1 son :
I am writing in response to your letter of October 4, 1992
regarding the Central Valley Project provisions of H.R. 429, the
omnibus water package. I understand your pain, but I regretfully
disagree with your conclusion.
You have been absolutely correct in your insistence that the
only real solution to California's long term water situation is
for the federal government to turn over at least operational
control of the CVP to the State so that it can be integrated into
the State Project. While that option would leave California in
control of its future, that option is not available given the
political climate in Congress.
I also agree with you that the issues surrounding the CVP
have absolutely nothing to do with the other measures involved in
the omnibus water package. You and I both fought to prevent the
hostage taking last Congress when projects we both supported were
linked to amendments to Reclamation Reform. We lost that effort
to unlink the measures, and I regret that we lost that effort
again this Congress. There comes a point when we both must
accept the unpleasant reality that those interested in their own
social agenda are in control and are willing to inflict as much
pain as necessary to achieve their objectives, regardless of the
I made an effort to convince the Majority to counter
Congressman Miller's proposal with a modified version of the
proposal made by Congressmen Dooley and Lehman. Had there been
some goodwill and a willingness to be responsible, I think that
we could have produced legislation which would be workable and
which would preserve your options as Governor to chart a course
for California. I directed my staff to work with Senator Seymour
and the California delegation to identify what was possible and
then to submit, on my behalf, a draft based on the proposal by
Congressmen Dooley and Lehman. They did so, but the offer was
rejected and I was informed that the Majority would only consider
changes to Congressman Miller's proposal.
My judgment was, and remains, that this situation is only
going to get worse. I directed the staff to obtain as many
amendments as possible, focusing primarily on the specific issues
which you, Senator Seymour, and the attorneys for the various
contractors had raised. We were successful in the following
- elimination of the auctioning of 100,000 af of
California's water to the highest bidder;
- permanent protection for the Friant water users against
releases from Friant without a specific Act of Congress;
- requirement that the study of the San Joaquin/Stanislaus
be "prudent, reasonable, and feasible", which in my view
precludes trying to reestablish flows below Friant;
- removal of the term "enhancement" from the primary project
purposes, which is a significant change;
- grandfathering existing contracts from renewal (delay in
the penalty provisions) until the EIS is completed;
limitations on the additional charges imposed on the
Friant contractors to $4 - $5 - $7 from the House's $4 - $8 -
- tying the 800,000 af directly to the purposes of this
title and providing that if the water is not needed for those
purposes, it will be available for beneficial uses, which
eliminates the permanent dedication of the water which had been
in Senator Bradley and Congressman Miller's proposals;
changing the dry year formula for the 800,000 af and the
Wildlife Refuge supplies from the House proposal that there be no
reductions unless the prior right and exchange right holders were
reduced to a formula tied to the service contracts with an
overriding requirement that the Secretary can exceed the
limitations for health and safety, including both Agriculture and
- bringing the iteration of specific fixes into conformity
with the language used by the State agencies and incorporated
into Senator Seymour's legislation;
- extension of the renewal period to 25 years from the 20 in
the House proposal;
- protection of all court decrees, including the Barcellos
decree involving Westlands;
- modification of the inverse block tiered pricing from the
House proposal of 60-20-20 to 80-10-10;
- elimination of the 15% capital gains tax on farmers, which
both Senator Bradley and Congressman Miller had insisted on for
all water transfers, although we did agree to imposing an
additional $25 charge on the M&I user of the transferred water.
Even with these changes, I do not view this as a good
measure nor do I take any pleasure in the process. I honestly
believe that this is the best proposal which California is likely
to receive in the current political climate which I anticipate
will last a good long while. Perhaps that too is a dream for one
realistically has to suppose it will deteriorate markedly. Were
I the Chairman of this Committee, I can assure you that this
would not happen, but I am not.
Senator Seymour has fought courageously for California-, but
unless he gets help in the Senate next year, I think matters will
only get worse, not just for California, but for all the Western
States. There is an unpleasantness and a meanness which both of
us find distasteful, but it is no use to pretend that it does not
exist. I am not asking you to endorse this measure as good for
California, but I would earnestly request that you consider the
future. I see no hope that reason will prevail or that those not
affected would refrain from imposing their social agenda on the
farmers and others who labor for this Nation. The spiral has
been downward and all we can do is try our best to mitigate the
impact until the voters in California and elsewhere impose some
sense of sanity on the Congress .
I deeply appreciate all your efforts during this Congress
and I hope that on reflection you will reluctantly agree that we
have done the best we can and that this measure should be enacted
to forestall a far grimmer and more desperate future for
Ranking Republican Member
County or Shasta County. But Seymour fundamentally believed that
what was being advocated wasn't in the best interest of the state;
it flew in the face of conventional wisdom, it flew in the face of
good science, and it was bad policy.
He felt that the Bradley-Miller bills were political documents
that weren't designed to solve a problem but designed to go after
some people. I think Seymour felt that Bradley was sincere in that
he wanted to solve a problem, but the means with which he was going
to try to do it were wrong.
I know Seymour was exhausted, but he had at that point a month
to focus on the campaign so he went off and focused on the
campaign. I felt pretty bad; it was a difficult time in my life.
I just didn't know what more I could have done in the debate. I
made a lot of mistakes, I realize now.
Chall: You felt you did?
Chall: In what way?
Golb: Well, I think if we had to do it all over again, we probably would
have recognized earlier on that there was a way to maneuver that
probably would have worked a little bit better. We probably would
have been a little bit more public about the offers that the
senator made, and we probably would have let more people know about
these negotiations that were going on. We probably would have
raised some of the issues sooner. I think there's things that we
would have done differently, had we to do it all over again.
Chall: Maybe the two of you were too new in Congress.
Golb: You know, a lot of people say that. Michael Doyle wrote an
articleyou may have seen itwhere he addressed that issue. Some
people have criticized me for being too young or whatever and
criticized Seymour for not being up to the task. If anything,
Seymour was more qualified to be a legislator than most of the
people in that debate. He had been a mayor, he had served on a
city council, he had served in the state legislature, he had been a
private businessman. He understood what was happening; he knew
what was going on, and he knew the state that he represented. So I
think he was well qualified.
As to my perspectivecould I have used a few more years
experience? Yes. It probably would have been helpful.
Chall: You don't think it would have changed the outcome?
Golb: I don't think so. That debate was shaped more by the fact that we
were in such a terrible drought and that all of the hostages in the
bill just created such immense momentum that regardless of how much
experience we had or how long we had been there, I don't think that
would have changed the outcome.
Chall: You say that had he been more interested in just winning, he would
have sided with the environmentalists, but I noticed [from your
journal] that the Los Angeles Times had written, in perhaps an
editorial, about the fact that he was taking so much money from the
growers for his campaign that he was obviously in the pocket of the
growers--! guess Seymour was very upset with that article.
Golb: We wouldn't have sided with the environmentalists. What I've said
is that if Seymour was purely political, he would have sided with
the urban areas and with some of the environmental interests. And
if he would have done that--
Chall: And still have taken money from the contractors? I mean, that was
the gist of the--
Golb: Let's go back to your first premise. The first point is that
you're correct that--
Golb : You were asking if Seymour would have done something different if
he was purely campaigning, and the answer is yes, of course. He
would have gone after the urban entities and the business community
where there's a lot more money and aligned with the environmental
In terms of him being criticized for taking money from
agricultural interests in his campaign, that is something the
newspapers would have done anyway. If you look at a legislator
that's doing a lot of work on behalf of a particular industry,
they're familiar with his work, they're familiar with the issues,
and they donate. It's a logical occurrence, it happens at every
level in this country and in every state.
But that was a charge that was made, and Seymour did get a lot
of contributions from the agricultural community, but it didn't--.
Again, we would have been extraordinarily naive to think that we
would have gotten more votes out of Fresno than we would have out
of Los Angeles. If that was our campaign strategy, we would have
done worse than we did. Seymour wasn't motivated in this debate by
politics alone. There was a lot of principle that he felt strongly
about that was in place before I started to work for him. All I
did was refine his position.
Chall: What was the activity among the people on your side to get
President Bush to veto?
Golb: There was a lot of activity. A lot of people met with the
president's chief of staff. Jim Baker at that time was involved in
the campaign, and people met with Jim Baker, and people talked with
the White House, and they urged President Bush to veto the bill.
But in the election campaign, you know how that goes. They looked
at all the provisions for the West and felt like there was no way
that they could veto the bill. Just no way. They had to sign it;
and they did [October 30, 1992].
Chall: So at the end of November you all left, is that it?
Golb: Pretty much. Since Senator Seymour was an appointed senator and
not elected, he didn't have the privilege of remaining in office
for very long. So when he was defeated by Senator Feinstein, he
was actually out of the off ice- -the election was on a Tuesday, he
was out of the office by Thursday, and on Friday Senator Feinstein
had moved in to half of our office space. We were off the Senate
payroll about two weeks later. Pretty quick. You don't have a lot
of friends when you lose.
Chall: I guess that's right, as some of the Democrats have discovered this
Golb: It is a cruel business.
I actually found the document--! '11 make this available to
you. The vote on H.R. 429: twenty-five congressmen voted against
it, nineteen voted for it.
The Effects of the CVPIA on California Agriculture
Chall: Is there anything else you want to say? We have a little time, and
I may not have covered everything. Did you have anything that you
wanted to say in terms of how other people have looked at this
issue? I take it you don't feel as bitter about what occurred as
Jason Peltier. Is that correct? You worked very hard at trying to
get this bill out, and you were defeated. Do you feel that the
farmers were treated--or that the effect is as serious as Jason
felt it to be?
Golb: This was a painful experience in my life. That law has a real
effect on a lot of people's lives, and it has hurt a lot of people.
After the debate there was a number of auctions in the Central
10-06-92 09:53 PM
October B, 1992
CALIFORNIA CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION VCTZ ON H,R. 429
Western Water Projects
(including federal real location of Central Valley Project water)
not voting i 1
Valley for farm properties and farm equipment. A lot of land
values have gone way down. Bank loans are a little tighter and
tougher to get. It's had a tremendous effect on a lot of people
and a lot of people's lives. There will be effects that go on and
on from this law; it will continue. It's not just a one-time deal.
Chall: And you think it's the effects of the law rather than just what
would be happening economically in general in California.
Golb: I think you can separate the general economic trends in the state
from the law because for one you can look at the baseline. Look at
what was happening to land values over twenty years prior to the
law, and then look at since the law has been in place. I think
that you can look at some of the effects of the reallocation of
800,000 acre- feet to the environment. I think you can look at the
effects of the contract renewal provisions and how that's affected
Again, we have the benefit now today of looking at the law and
what is has accomplished and what it has not. On many accounts,
the law has failed to achieve what the proponents envisioned. In
certain areas it's been very helpful, and there are some success
stories. The Shasta temperature control device is under
construction, is basically on budget, on schedule, and is
proceeding. And that will help. There are some other provisions
in the law that are moving forward, and those will help.
In terms of being bitter about it, I'm really not. It was a
tremendous experience for me, and I wish it would have turned out
differently. I put pretty much two years of my life into that, and
it was difficult to see the way it turned out. But that's the
legislative process. When you have a job like that, you have to
accept that there are going to be times that it's going to go your
way for your bossSenator Seymour in this caseand there are
times that it's not. And you do the best you can, and sometimes it
works out, sometimes it doesn't.
I'm a lot less naive now about life than I was beforehand.
But again, I had a great opportunity; I got the opportunity to
personally work with several U.S. Senators that are dynamic people
whether you like them or hate them, and I got to see them work.
I've since had the opportunity to see what they have had to say
about this debate in writing and in print, and it's been pretty
fascinating to me the way characterizations have been bent and
shaped over the years, based on my memory of it all.
The Effect of the Experience on Richard Golb
Chall: How do you feel that it has affected how you do your job, and how
you work on water issues now? You are certainly in a crucial
Golb: It's helped a lot, it really has. I have a good understanding of
the legislative process and how it works. I think I probably view
some of these water issues with a little bit different eye than
some of my counterparts . Going through that debate taught me a lot
about how if you don't solve problems that are your own, on your
own, somebody else ultimately will. And they will much to your
dissatisfaction. I think that's what really happened here.
For years the environmental groups had been clamoring for
reform. I think in the fifties, the sixties, and the seventies,
they were policy oriented. They wanted protections for salmon,
they wanted more wetlands for waterfowl. But as time went on and
as the agricultural interests ignored them, they began calling for
pricing reforms, and contract renewal reforms, and reallocation of
water. At some point, you begin to believe your own rhetoric. All
the stars lined up when the drought hit because there were the
right people in Congress. All the provisions in H.R. 429 had been
languishing for years, and there was a sense of urgency in
California to do something. "We've got to fix the drought. We've
got to fix the water supply problem. We've got to do something for
fish and wildlife." It all lined up.
Some people were able to take advantage and benefit off that
situation, and othersparticularly those that had been looking the
other way for so many yearslost. It's unfortunate because it
really didn't work out. Again, we have the benefit of looking at
the law to see that we had really a tremendous opportunity in 1992
to solve some of these problems, but we collectively missed the
Refining the CVPIA
Chall: So there will be some refinements.
Golb: I think there has to be.
Chall: Earlier you said they might be solved administratively, but will
Congress also have to resolve some of the problems?
Golb: The current administration does not seem interested in doing
anything administratively. So I don't think we'll see any
substantive administrative resolutions from this administration. I
think a future administration may be able to do that. Maybe if we
get a different leadership within the current administration, we
would see some changes. I believe that even some members of the
environmental community like Tom Graff and some others would admit
to you that a lot of this can be done administratively. A lot of
the provisions of the law could be fixed administratively, but
they're not doing it.
There are some provisions that will require legislative
changes; that will require amendments. There's a bill now that's
pending that Congressman [John] Doolittle has introduced along with
some others. I think it reaches a little bit too far and probably
doesn't have much of a chance.
Chall: I guess taken from your experience that it would be better not to
reach too far. Try to amend things so that they'll work. Do you
think that the Central Valley Project will someday belong to the
Golb: It should. It definitely should.
Chall: Can the state afford this in terms of funds?
Golb: I think so. I think it can. I think water rates might have to go
up, and water contracts might need to be revised, but I think it
can. The State Water Project was only built thirty years ago or
twenty years ago, and it's working fairly well. So I don't see why
that couldn't be integrated with the CVP in terms of state
oversight. You wouldn't need as many people to run the Central
Valley Project. You would be able to tie it into some of the state
administrative processes. I think it could be done; I think it
would be to the benefit of the state's economy and environment.
Chall: And the Delta? Which was not covered at all much by the bill, but
certainly had to be considered. I don't know how you could deal
with 800,000 acre-feet without considering what was going on in the
Golb: That was another part of the problem. You've got all these federal
laws, including the CVPIA, that basically provide most of the
jurisdiction and oversight for the federal government to
participate in all this restoration that leads to the Delta. But
we know most of the problems in the Delta. We know that most of
the problems with fish are due to the state and federal projects.
The CVPIA could have been the initial step in solving a lot of
those problems upstream and in the Delta. Instead, because there
were people focused on other things, water conservation, tiered
pricing, contract renewal, we got a little bit away from solving
the environmental problems . That ' s really where the debate was and
should have been. I think that's where the environmental community
was twenty or thirty years ago.
Chall: I think that's where George Miller was at the very start. With the
Golb: Yes, his father was. That's right.
Chall: We'll see what happens.
Thank you. I really appreciate all the time you've given to
lay out all this materialand prior, when you laid out material so
that I could come and study it. I do appreciate it very much.
Golb: I hope it has been hopeful.
Chall: Oh, it has been; you've certainly added a great deal to the story,
and I appreciate it.
Golb: I don't know about it, but we'll see.
Chall: I think so. Thank you.
Golb: You're welcome.
Transcribed by Gary Varney
Final typed by Carolyn Rice
TAPE GUIDE- -Richard Golb
Interview Date: May 3, 1996
Tape 1, Side A 1
Tape 1, Side B 10
Tape 2, Side A 20
Tape 2, Side B 31
Tape 3, Side A 41
Tape 3, Side B 52
Tape 4, Side A 62
Tape 4, Side B not recorded
INDEX- -Richard K. Golb
agriculture community, 21-23, 33,
35, 36, 45-46, 55, 56-59
Bay Area Economic Forum, 43-44
Beard, Daniel, 22, 45
Beirne, James, 14, 15-16, 56, 59
Boronkay, Carl, 11, 25, 27, 33
Bradley, Bill, 9, 10, 11, 31, 33,
37, 41, 53
Bradley bill (S. 484), 11-20, 22,
24, 25, 28
Bush, George H. W. , 57, 63
California Business Roundtable,
Central Valley Project, transfer
to state, 36-37, 66-67
Central Valley Project Improvement
business community, 38, 43-
evaluation of, 24-26, 50-
52, 63-64, 65-67
insurance industry, 38
11, 12, 13, 25-27, 44, 51
water reallocation, 12-14,
15, 24, 51, 59
Chapin, Daniel, 59
Cooper, Benjamin, 31, 34
Delta (San Francisco Bay/
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Estuary), 21, 66-67
Democratic party, 21
Dooley, Calvin, 47
Dooley-Lehman proposal, 53-56
Ellsworth, Gary, 16, 56, 59
environmental community, 17-20,
21-24, 32, 35, 36, 59
Graff, Thomas, 18, 19, 49, 50.
See also Somach-Graff
Harvey, James, 43-44
Johnston, J. Bennett /Johnston
mark, 29, 31, 32, 33-35, 41
Kennedy, David, 39-40
Lehman, Richard, 45, 47. See
also Dooley-Lehman proposal
McGill, Michael, 43-44, 59
Metropolitan Water District (MWD) ,
11, 25-27, 41
Miller bill (H.R. 5099), 24, 25,
28, 41, 45-46
Miller, George, 9, 10, 11, 14,
37, 46-47, 53
Nelson, Barry, 20, 23
Northern California Water
Omnibus Water bill (H.R. 429),
11, 22, 41, 42, 53-54, 59-60, 63
Osann, Ed, 17
Peltier, Jason, 10, 40, 49, 52
reclamation reform, 8-9, 11, 52
Red Bluff Diversion Dam, 24, 42
Republican party, 21
restoration fund, 51, 59
Rosenberg, Richard, 43-44
Sawyers, Gary, 59
Schuster, David, 7
Seymour bill (S. 728), 7, 16
Fazio, Vic, 44, 45, 47, 59-60
Seymour bill (S. 2016), 28-32,
attempts at compromise, 24,
29-32, 43, 51, 52-54, 55,
conference committee, 46-47
filibuster, 54-55, 56
first drafts, 7-8, 11, 22,
Seymour bill (S. 3365), 54-55, 59
Seymour, John, 5-7, 17, 47-48,
Somach, Stuart, 7, 49, 50, 59
Somach-Graff negotiations, 48-50
United States Bureau of
Reclamation, 13-14, 51
United States Energy and Natural
Resources Committee (1991-1992),
14-15, 28-32, 41, 42
Wallop, Malcolm, 15, 33-34, 46
water marketing/transfers, 11,
12, 13, 25-27, 44, 51
water reallocation (acre-feet),
12-14, 15, 24, 51, 59
Weiman, David, 23
Wheeler, Douglas, 39-40
Wilson, Pete, 35-36, 40, 49
Graduated from Reed College in 1942 with a B.A. degree,
and from the State University of Iowa in 1943 with an
M.A. degree in Political Science.
Wage Rate Analyst with the Twelfth Regional War Labor
Board, 1943-1945, specializing in agriculture and
services. Research and writing in the New York public
relations firm of Edward L. Bernays, 1946-1947, and
research and statistics for the Oakland Area Community
Chest and Council of Social Agencies, 1948-1951.
Active in community affairs as director and past
president of the League of Women Voters of the Hayward
area specializing in state and local government; on
county-wide committees in the field of mental health; on
election campaign committees for school tax and bond
measures, and candidates for school board and state
Employed in 1967 by the Regional Oral History Office
interviewing in fields of agriculture and water
resources. Also director, Suffragists Project,
California Women Political Leaders Project, Land-Use
Planning Project, and the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care