Hillary Clinton says she has been following California’s water issues from “afar” and as president would be open to having the federal government involved in long term solutions to benefit cities and agriculture.
But the Democratic Party front-runner declined to specifically address the latest dust-up over water deliveries to the southern part of the state.
“We have got to seriously address the California water situation because I know how difficult it has been,” Clinton said on NBC4’s News Conference program broadcast Sunday. “I have gotten some briefings about the drought which seems to have slightly improved but not for the long term.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, among others, have complained recently that water accumulated from El Niño-related storms in the northern part of the state could have refilled Southern California reservoirs to capacity.
Instead, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restricted the use of pumps sending flows into the California aqueduct for fear they could adversely impact populations of an endangered fish, the delta smelt. Water officials at the Metropolitan Water District estimate that Southern California reservoirs will remain only slightly half filled at the end of the rainy season.
Clinton said she has “the highest regard for Senator Feinstein and Governor Brown” and argued that there must be a role for cities and agriculture in finding a compromise.
“I am going to support, as strongly as I can, a process of Californians to reach the kind of conclusions and there is a role for the federal government to expedite that, to support that, I certainly will be open to it,” Clinton said.
The Democratic Party front-runner also spoke on issues from charter schools, illegal immigration and the Pacific Rim trade agreement known as the Trans Pacific Partnership.
She said that while the contested California primary with Sen. Bernie Sanders is her “primary focus,” she has needed to turn her attention to Republican Donald Trump.
“We can’t let what he says go unanswered and the kinds of insults he traffics in just be the political discourse,” Clinton said.
Watch the interview here.