WASHINGTON - The House gave final approval Thursday to a $33.5 billion energy and water bill, a snap compared with a future Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta package some lawmakers now envision.
The appropriations bill funds projects throughout the Central Valley, including Delta levee studies and regional flood control. Its final passage was never in doubt, as it is one of a dozen bills needed to run the federal government in fiscal 2010.
But even as lawmakers were approving the energy and water bill, which includes $40 million for restoration of the Delta and San Francisco Bay, they were starting to anticipate a potential new bill focused strictly on the vulnerable Bay-Delta region. If it flies, the prospective Delta legislation could literally reshape California.
"The Delta estuary has enormous national significance," Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein reiterated Thursday, and "it is seriously at risk."