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A deal was reached so that until the Colorado River runs dry



Arizona, California and Nevada agreed to take less water from the drought-stricken Colorado River. This is a breakthrough agreement that, for now, prevents the river from falling so low that it would endanger the water supply of major western cities such as Phoenix and Los Angeles. and also for some of America’s most productive farmlands.

V agreement, announced Monday, calls on the federal government to pay about $1.2 billion to irrigation districts, cities and Indian tribes in three states if they temporarily use less water. The states also agreed to make additional cuts beyond those related to federal payments to provide the overall cut needed to prevent the river from collapsing.

Combined, these cuts will amount to about 13 percent of total water use in the lower Colorado Basin—one of the most aggressive the region has ever seen, and will likely require significant restrictions on residential and agricultural water.

The Colorado River provides drinking water to 40 million Americans in seven states, as well as part of Mexico, and irrigates 5.5 million acres of farmland. Electricity generated by dams at the river’s two main reservoirs, Lakes Mead and Powell, powers millions of homes and businesses.

But due to drought, population growth and climate change in recent years, the flow of the river has fallen by one-third from historical averages, threatening to provoke a water and energy disaster in the West.

California, Arizona, and Nevada get their share of their water from Lake Mead, which is formed by the Colorado River at the Hoover Dam and is controlled by the federal government. The Bureau of Reclamation, an agency under the Department of the Interior, determines how much water each of the three states receives. Other states dependent on the Colorado River receive their water directly from the river and its tributaries.

“This is an important step forward towards our shared goal of laying a sustainable path for the basin that millions of people call home,” Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Kalimlim Tuton said in a statement.

This past weekend’s agreement is only valid until the end of 2026 and still needs to be formally adopted by the federal government. At this point, all seven states that depend on the river, including Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, could face a bigger reckoning as the decline likely continues.

The Colorado River talks were sparked by a crisis: Last summer, water levels in Lakes Mead and Powell, the two largest reservoirs along the river, dropped so much that officials feared the hydroelectric plants they were powering would soon stop working.

There was even a risk that reservoir levels would drop so low that water would no longer reach the inlet valves that control runoff from the lakes, essentially drying up the river downstream.

Faced with that prospect, the Department of the Interior last June asked seven states to find a way to reduce their water use by two to four million acre-feet of water per year. (An acre foot is about the amount of water used by two or three households a year.) The states failed to reach an agreement, even though water levels in the two reservoirs remained dangerously low.

This inertia led the federal government to lay the groundwork for unilateral cuts for these states. Adding to the pressure, the Interior Department said last month it could ignore age-old rules determining which states should bear the brunt of the cuts and propose a different formula instead.

The federal government has given states until May 30 to comment on the prospect of unilateral cuts. But behind closed doors, the Biden administration has been negotiating with states to reach an agreement and avoid the need for cuts that will certainly run into legal problems and ultimately delay any action.

Under the agreement announced Monday, most of the 2.3 million acre-feet reduction will come from water districts, farm operators, cities and Native American tribes who have agreed to take less water to qualify for federal subsidies offered under the inflation in 2022. Reduction law. These payments will amount to about $1.2 billion.

Another 700,000 acre feet will come from California, Nevada and Arizona, which have agreed to cuts among themselves in the coming months. (Under the terms of the agreement, as many as 200,000 acre feet of these clearings may qualify for compensation through other federal programs, but these arrangements have yet to be worked out.)

If states don’t define those 700,000 acre feet in additional cuts, the Department of the Interior has said it will suspend the water supply, which could run into legal and political problems.

Collectively, the reductions will save three million acre feet over the next three and a half years on top of existing agreements. That’s a lot less, on an annualized basis, than what the federal government demanded last summer.

The Department of the Interior was able to negotiate less drastic cuts thanks to an unusually wet winter when snow levels in the Colorado Basin were well above average, especially in California. This is expected to significantly increase the amount of water in the river, at least temporarily.

The terms of the deal were described to The New York Times by a senior Interior Department official who was involved in the negotiations and spoke on the condition that his name not be released. Washington Post announced elements of the deal last week.

The structure of the agreement allows the Biden administration to bypass the issue of which states will bear the brunt of the cuts for now.

The Department of the Interior declined to provide a breakdown showing how much of the 2.3 million acre-feet of federally compensated voluntary cuts would come from each state. And finding an additional 700,000 acre feet remains a challenge for the lower basin three states.

As a result, what until recently looked like a match between the states in a cage has resulted in an outcome that is more bearable for the states involved, if not entirely desirable.

The rules governing the river, which date back to 1922, state that most of Arizona’s supply from the Colorado River will be reduced to near zero before California’s cuts occur. While Arizona will continue to see significant cuts in its water supply, the deal effectively removes the threat of drastic cuts.

“I’m very pleased with this offer,” Tom Buschatske, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources and the state’s lead negotiator, said Monday. “I think there’s a lot of justice in that.”

Sarah Porter, director of the Kyle Water Policy Center at Arizona State University, called the agreement a positive step, but it can only offer a delay. “Before 2026, we may again be in this danger zone,” she said.

California, too, is doing better than it could otherwise. The Department of the Interior has raised the issue of cutting supplies in each state equally as a share of total consumption. Because California uses more water from Colorado than any other state, it would lose the most—a shock to Southern California farmers, as well as cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. This problem is solved mainly through voluntary layoffs.

Bill Hasenkamp, ​​Colorado River resource manager for the Southern California metropolitan water district, said the agreement could provide several years of stability for Los Angeles, San Diego and other California cities that depend on Colorado water.

The bigger challenge will be to reach an agreement after 2026, when the federal government may not want to spend as much on water conservation and states can’t expect more winters of heavy rain and snow. “We know that the future will be in third place compared to the past,” said Mr. Hasenkamp.

The deal is also a sort of victory for the Biden administration, which at times seemed unsure of how to respond to the growing crisis. Last year, he twice set deadlines for reaching agreements between the states, which they did not comply with. The Interior Department said the agreement shows states can work with the federal government to address Colorado’s decline.

This view will also be tested soon. The department said its next step would be to look into the implications of the states’ deal before deciding how to proceed. In the meantime, the next round of negotiations on what to do after 2026 should start next month.

Jack Healy report provided by Phoenix.


North Carolina Governor Says GOP Teachers Pay Voucher Plans ‘Disaster’ In Public Education



Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper seals his veto of a bill banning nearly all abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy at a public rally on Saturday, May 13, 2023, in Raleigh, North Carolina. to override Cooper’s veto after they had recently won non-veto majorities in both houses. (AP Photo/Hanna Schoenbaum)

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper launched a campaign Monday to try to push back on education and tax legislation from the Republican-controlled General Assembly, which he says, if passed, would destroy North Carolina’s public schools and shatter the state’s economic future.

“It’s clear that the Republican legislature is seeking to stifle public education,” Cooper said in a taped speech released Monday. He urged voters to “take immediate action and tell them to stop the damage that will set our schools back for a generation.”

In his video message, Cooper said he was “declaring a state of emergency” for public education, but indicated that it was not an official order. He urged residents to encourage their legislators to reject a spate of GOP-backed education bills in the final weeks of this year’s main legislative session. Parliament’s agenda for the coming weeks includes adoption of the state budget for the year from 1 July.

In the coming days, the Governor will hold public events across the state to rally parents, educators and business leaders.

Cooper said Republican public school teacher pay proposals fell short of expectations and would not solve the state’s teacher shortage. He argued that deeper income tax cuts in competing House and Senate Budget Proposals it would also benefit those on the highest wages, eventually emptying the public treasury.

At the same time, the Republican Party is moving towards a dramatic expansion state scholarship program for private schools K-12 so that families with any income level can receive financial assistance, and not just the poor and the middle class.

This expansion will ultimately funnel over $500 million in taxpayer money annually to the Opportunity Scholarship Program. Instead, the Governor said the Senate budget would increase the base pay of some veteran teachers by as little as $250 over two years.

“They have clearly abandoned public schools and instead decided to fund private schools,” Cooper told The Associated Press ahead of the speech. “This is a deliberate slap in the face for teachers.”

Republicans point out that their competing plans would see government spending on education rise by several hundred million dollars a year. And GOP leaders see expanding the private school voucher program as part of the philosophy of giving all children access to educational opportunities—regardless of source—to help them succeed.

Rep. Trisha Cotham of Mecklenburg County, whose recent change of party from Democrat to Republican gave the Republican Party a majority of seats in both houses, dismissing Cooper’s speech as “political theater”.

“The Governor stands for the systems, not for the students themselves,” Cotham said. tweet. “Education is not universal, and North Carolina families should be free to determine what education is best for them.”

Randy Brechbeel, press secretary for Senate Leader Phil Berger, shared similar criticism, noting that “pointless publicity stunts do nothing to improve education outcomes in our state.”

Cooper’s use governor’s hooligan department is because his ability to resist legislatures has been greatly weakened in the weeks since Catham changed the party. He said he would issue a loud call for education even if he had significant legislative backing to enforce his veto because education is critical to the state’s financial health. The public school system is often the largest employer in rural areas and prepares students for work.

“The general public is not aware of the impending disaster,” he told the AP.

The House proposal would raise average teachers’ salaries by 10.2% over two years, compared to 4.5% in the Senate’s plan, trailing recent inflation rates. Cooper’s budget proposal called for an average increase of 18%.

The Governor also accused lawmakers of doing little to expand the state’s early childhood education program for at-risk children and stabilize child care centers. And he warned of a proposed constitutional amendment that, if put to a vote, would make it impossible for him to appoint almost all members of the State Board of Education. Instead, members will be chosen in district elections.

“If they get their way,” he said in his speech, “our State Board of Education will be replaced by political hacks who can dictate what is taught and what is not taught in our public schools.”

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Ron DeSantis has an early opportunity to contact Donald Trump in Iowa



Ron DeSantis, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination this week, will have to quickly prove himself a formidable opponent of leader and former President Donald Trump.

Iowa and its evangelical voter base may provide Mr. DeSantis with the best opportunity to strike Mr. Trump, who has achieved a huge lead over all of his GOP opponents in national polls, while aggressively attacking the Florida governor as weak. enemy.

Mr. Trump last week may have helped Mr. DeSantis rally support in Iowa when he criticized as “too harsh” a Florida law the governor recently signed into law that bans abortions after six weeks. Mr Trump told The Messenger that “many in the pro-life movement” felt the six-week ban was excessive.

Abortion supporters in Hawkeye State, who in the past made up the majority of all voters in the GOP caucus in Iowa, listened. And frowns.

“No Mr. Former President, many in the ProLife community don’t find saving babies too cruel,” tweeted Bob Vander Plaats, head of The Family Leader, the state’s leading Christian organization. “The door to the Iowa caucus has just been flung open.”

In the Republican Party’s primary calendar, which is still being drafted, Iowa is listed as the nation’s first primary presidential contest. While the January 8 date for the Iowa GOP caucus is tentative, the state is likely to offer the very first face-off between Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis.

“It would be great if DeSantis beat him,” said Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University in Des Moines.

A big win in Iowa, or even “a touchdown within earshot” of Mr. Trump, Goldford said would help Mr. DeSantis gain momentum in the next crucial primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

“But if Trump just crushes him 2-1 or something like that, then DeSantis is in trouble,” he said.

Mr. Trump lost the 2016 Iowa caucuses to Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who ran to his right and enlisted the support of the state’s evangelicals.

This time around, Mr. DeSantis’ uncompromising support for ending abortion has done away with Iowa’s pro-life evangelical voters, who made up more than two-thirds of GOP voters who turned out in 2016.

Not only do they agree with Mr. DeSantis on a ban on abortion, but they support him on social issues, including his decision to sign laws to ban teaching of LGBTQ issues in public schools and to ban biological men from participating in women’s sports or using women’s public lockers. . rooms or toilets.

Mr. Goldford said Mr. Trump remains hugely popular with Iowa voters and may be touting his appointment as Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn the ruling against Roe. Wade, 1973 legalization of abortion.

But many evangelicals are willing to consider alternatives, especially those voters who may have grown weary of Mr. Trump’s brash personality and legal woes.

Mr. DeSantis, who has built a national reputation for rejecting Covid mandates and an “awakened” liberal agenda on social issues, offers a tempting alternative for Iowa GOP voters. In early spring, he nearly equaled Mr. Trump in some Iowa polls and surpassed him in others, while smashing other Republican nominees’ slates.

The latest Iowa poll, released May 12 by American Greatness, showed Mr. Trump leading Mr. DeSantis by 18 percentage points, showing a much closer race than the poll average, which gives Mr. Trump an edge in 37 points.

When it comes to pro-abortion voters, Mr. DeSantis differs not only from Mr. Trump, but also from the other candidates who follow him, but could rob him of support among GOP voters in Iowa. Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley did not support a ban on abortion at any specific stage of pregnancy and called for a “national consensus” on the issue, while Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican who entered the race on Monday, already came across the definition of its position on the prohibition of the procedure. Mr. Scott said he supports a 20-week federal abortion ban, but it’s not clear if he supports the stricter restrictions that many in the pro-life movement are pushing for.

Mr. DeSantis made two trips to Iowa, most recently last week tossing hamburgers and shaking hands with voters at a fundraiser picnic at a Sioux center in the conservative northwestern part of the state.

While in Iowa, Mr. DeSantis received dozens of endorsements from state Republicans.

“The Republican primaries are already a two-man race, and Governor DeSantis isn’t even a candidate,” said Erin Perrin, a spokeswoman for DeSantis’ pro-DeSantis PAC, Never Back Down. “As we saw during his recent visits to Iowa and New Hampshire, support for the governor is gaining momentum because he is the only Republican who not only speaks, but also fights hard fights, such as fighting corporations. The choice couldn’t be clearer for the primary voters. While Donald Trump may be talking about the big game, DeSantis is actually fighting and winning.”

Mr. Trump called Mr. DeSantis “completely unelected” on Monday when he greeted Mr. Scott in the race.

Mr. DeSantis attacked Mr. Trump on the issue of abortion at a bill signing ceremony last week, saying that almost everyone in the life movement supports a ban on abortion after six weeks, when fetal heartbeats are normally detected.

“The Legislature introduced it, I signed the bill, I’m proud to have done it,” Mr. DeSantis said. “He won’t answer whether he signs it or not.”

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While this may not be news to many of you, the following is still a clearing lens. Negotiation is usually a bargaining between two parties to get what they want. Leverage is often uneven. Sometimes one party doesn’t “get” anything, but simply tries to give as little as possible. But in the course of these negotiations, the Republicans receive different political priorities, and the Democrats “get” the agreement of the Republicans not to create a global financial crisis. This is extortion, not negotiation. The government cannot act consistently or sustainably when the results of the policy go to the party willing to credibly threaten the country itself with the greatest harm.

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