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Greens Slam Water Deal as Hurting Taxpayers, Helping Big Water Users

The Green Party of California today slammed a late-night vote by the state senate to overhaul the state's water system - and approve a longstanding controversial peripheral canal - as a "commodification of water" that doesn't benefit Californians, other than wealthy land-owners.

The State Senate Monday night approved a plan to create a council to oversee management of the Delta; but it was largely seen as the beginning of a legislation to approve $9.9 billion in bonds to build new dams and the peripheral canal.

"The packaged water legislation will be sold as a triumph, and will, in fact, be a failure. It repeats the failures of another Democratic Party-backed solution to the same set of problems, Sen. Diane Feinstein's infamous CALFED Bay Delta Program," said Wes Rolley, Co-Chair, EcoAction Committee, Green Party of the U.S.

He said the action further creates a "bureaucracy without authority...setting goals without funding their implementation and getting all of California to pay for benefits of the a few large scale farms on the West side of the San Joaquin Valley.

"Water flows toward money and the tax payers of California are already subsidizing those who have both. One Westland Water District farm recently sold its water rights for $77 million. That is not what we want happening with our taxes," said Rolley.

This is an effort to privatize the profits of the few and to socialize the costs of water distribution on the backs of the many - the average taxpayer who is already footing the bills for mistakes that big banks and big business have made, said the Greens.

"These large farms pay less than $100 per acre foot for water and can easily resell it to urban users for $300 per acre foot and not lose their water rights. It is time to stop allowing major users to profit from the commodification of water," said Rolley.

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