"Spending Bill Includes Millions for San Joaquin Delta"

"The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta would become a "national heritage area" and receive federal funding and planning oversight under a controversial provision slipped into a massive spending bill that died a sudden death Thursday night.

Introduced by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the proposed Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Heritage Area would have been eligible for up to $10 million over the next 10 years. The five-county area would also get a new management plan, though private property owners could opt out.

'The provision directs modest funds to the Delta to be used for programs like tourism promotion, economic development and community revitalization,' Feinstein's press secretary Tom Mentzer said Thursday.

Some lawmakers, nonetheless, remain leery of the national heritage area idea and what it portends for private property and water rights. The idea will continue to incite debate, even though Senate Democrats on Thursday night abruptly withdrew the giant funding bill to which it was attached."

Michael Doyle reports for McClatchy Newspapers December 16, 2010.

 

Friday, December 17, 2010