That old threat?

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last night dropped threats to veto more than 700 bills unless the legislature brought him a water package to his liking. Rather, saying a deal was near, he declared the legislature in special session.

While the official reversal was more dignified than the Tweet that the Governor sent out reading, “going all out, signing two bills at once,” the proclamation for a special session itself is loaded.

Even if the governor enjoyed the consensus necessary to resolve differences over whether or not to build a peripheral canal around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the proclamation makes a difficult task all but impossible.* It bundles with a Delta fix demands for two previously rejected dam projects — current estimated costs between $4 and $5bn.

The Los Angeles Times has the story on some of what got signed and what didn’t.

UPDATE: *Politicians disagree and are out in

Have a nice day, Governor Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger's breakfast, via Twitter. His previous twitter from last night: "Water is biggest crisis facing CA. 40% unemplymt in Cent Val. Delta close to collapse. Leg must deliver water Friday or see lots of vetoes." Click on the smiley face if you can stomach more.

ONE month ago, the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Contra Costa Times, Capitol Weekly, Aquafornia, this website and others followed the California legislature down to the last weary minutes of regular session (intro here, news roll here, conclusion here). For the first time in a quarter of a century, there was a slim chance that a package of water bills aimed at securing the future of safe water supplies from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta might pass.

They didn’t. Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened legislature that unless Delta

“The governor should back off”

Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

WHILE the post-Zell Los Angeles Times news side has had only spotty coverage of the most important water legislation in a quarter of a century moving through the state legislature this year, the paper’s editorial pages have followed it diligently. (For an account of rolling news coverage across the press, click here).

The subject at the heart of the legislation is the future of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, source of water for two out of three Californians and the largest estuary on the Pacific coast of North America.

Today’s editorial in the Times gives credit to the much maligned legislature and looks at arguments over how to pay for an estimated $12bn worth of water infrastructure upgrades.

Their bottom line: “The governor should back off and allow lawmakers the additional week or two to craft a package that will work.” To read

“Just get it done” – Expediency over extinction

THE US DEPARTMENT of Interior yesterday bowed to pressure from Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other California legislators to submit key federal protections afforded to endangered fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta for review by the National Academy of Sciences.
The clear hope is that the academy will discredit opinions from federal scientists in the Department of Interior and US Chamber of Commerce that have led to cuts in water deliveries to Central Valley farmers.
Whether or not the National Academy ultimately contradicts conclusions of federal scientists used in enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, the San Francisco Chronicle today quotes Feinstein as demanding that the Endangered Species Act itself be waived in order to increase water deliveries to

Brackpool in the horse race

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES reports today that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed British-born water speculator Keith Brackpool to the state horse-racing board.

Brackpool, a horse-racing aficionado and country club owner, is better known for pursuit of a controversial groundwater project in the Mojave, which was rejected by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in 2002 as economically and environmentally unfeasible.

Since then, Brackpool has been pursuing other backers for his groundwater pumping operation in the Cadiz basin in San Bernardino County. On June 5th, 2009, Brackpool’s company, Cadiz Inc, released an endorsement by Governor Schwarzenegger for the project.

Months later, a spokesman for the governor confirmed that the endorsement was genuine, although its release

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