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White House Threatens To Veto Republican-Backed California Water Bill

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WASHINGTON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The White House threatened to

veto legislation on Wednesday that would curtail federal rules

limiting the amount of water pumped out of California's San

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Joaquin-Sacramento River delta while the state struggles with

its worst drought in decades.

              The Obama administration said the bill would "undermine

years of collaboration between local, state, and federal

stakeholders to develop a sound water quality control plan for

the Bay-Delta."

              The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the

Republican-backed water bill later on Wednesday.

              A record-breaking dry spell has led to a water crisis that

could further endanger California's Central Valley agriculture

hub.

              Supporters of the bill have argued that it would help

provide relief by allowing state and federal water managers to

deliver water to farmers and communities during dry years.

              The White House said in a statement that it "strongly

opposes" the bill. "H.R. 3964 would repeal the San Joaquin River

Settlement Agreement, which the Congress enacted to resolve 18

years of contentious litigation. Full repeal of the settlement

agreement would likely result in the resumption of costly

litigation, creating an uncertain future for river restoration

and water delivery operations for water users on the San Joaquin

River.

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