No money for flood control in Obama budget

2012-02-14T21:30:00Z 2012-04-17T17:23:56Z No money for flood control in Obama budgetPETER JENSEN Napa Valley Register
February 14, 2012 9:30 pm  • 

President Barack Obama released his budget just in time for Valentine’s Day, but Napa County officials aren’t feeling the love.

The proposed budget for 2012-’13 lacks money to complete the next phase of the flood control project — a bypass channel in the Oxbow —  and could cut dollars for eradicating grapevine pests.

Obama released his $3.8 trillion spending plan Monday. Local officials were hoping to get a $20 million allocation to finish the flood bypass channel in downtown Napa, but have to wait yet another year to get funding. 

Last week, the Army Corps of Engineers allocated $1.3 million, but that was for the current fiscal year and only enough to pay for federal supervision of work already underway.

County Supervisor Bill Dodd said the flood project’s absence from Obama’s budget puts additional pressure on county officials as they prepare to travel to Washington, D.C., next month to lobby for local programs and projects, including flood control.

Given the amount of discord among Congressional lawmakers about federal spending, Dodd said the county’s lobbyists have warned them that it could be hectic trip.

“She forewarned us that we’re going to have substantially more appointments,” Dodd said. “We have to show that we have a project that’s two-thirds of the way done. Our taxpayers have paid their share of this thing.”

Dodd said the lack of money in Obama’ budget and last week’s small allocation for current work were disappointing, considering how the Corps of Engineers had praised the flood project’s environmental sensitivity in the past.

“We had a reasonable expectation that the Corps was going to be able to come through for us,” Dodd said. “We have done a significant amount of promotion for the Army Corps.”

County Agricultural Commissioner Dave Whitmer said the president’s budget includes $2.5 million for eradicating the European grapevine moth, which causes significant damage to grapevines. He said another $2.5 million allocation has been requested.

Another pot of money — $12 million in emergency U.S. Department of Agriculture funds — that could be used to fight the European grapevine moth remains uncommitted, Whitmer said. 

Whitmer said he’s written a letter to the Obama administration to advocate for the allocation, saying it’s critical to ensure the pests are successfully eradicated.

“If that $12 million comes through there will be enough,” Whitmer said. “If it doesn’t, then we’re scrambling.”

Whitmer said that money is needed for enforcing the program’s quarantine area in Napa County, as well as trapping moths, treating vines, and inspections. The program has been successful in reducing the number of moths found in the county from 100,000 in 2010 to 113 in 2011.

“This is regarded as one of the most successful pest eradication efforts ever,” Whitmer said. 

Whitmer said the county could potentially have the quarantine lifted next year if the program is fully funded.

Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner Tony Linegar said parts of his county could be removed from the quarantine by the end of this year, but it also depends on funding. “It’s critical we get that money,” he said.

Whitmer said he wasn’t sure if the budget continued a trend of reducing funding for eradicating the glassy-winged sharpshooter. Last year, federal money for that program was reduced by $2.6 million.

The sharpshooter infests some grape growing areas of California, but has not established itself in Napa County.

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(9) Comments

    Report Abuse
    REPUBLICANKID - February 14, 2012 10:13 pm
    This is no Suprise. Guess the Money was needed for some Wind powerd Car company some plece in the China.
  2. Steph
    Report Abuse
    Steph - February 14, 2012 10:49 pm
    What a farce this political game is, no?

    We are forced to turn over huge portions of our paychecks then elect officials to beg for it back to be wasted in our own communities.

    What a joke.

    It's time for the grape growers to start paying their own way--enough with the subsidies, already, or demand to be allowed to keep they profits they make in order to pay fair wages without the support of welfare programs the rest of us pay for, and to pay for their own darned pest control!

  3. Cookie
    Report Abuse
    Cookie - February 15, 2012 5:54 am
    OK- It is time to put your "A" game together Congressman Thompson. First, take Obama out to dinner to a fancy restaurant. Next, slip him a gift certificate that gives him an unlimited number of bottle wines for the next four years. Now ask him about the flood project now. I bet you have better results.
    Isn't this how things get done in Washington D.C?
  4. antipc
    Report Abuse
    antipc - February 15, 2012 6:09 am
    Obama doesn't need to spend money in CA, it's already a lock for his re-election. Besides even the do nothing Dems in the Senate aren't going pass his budget, Harry Reid simply won't bring it up for a vote. Obama's last budget proposal failed something like 97-0 in the Dem controlled Senate.
  5. Thomas Paine IV
    Report Abuse
    Thomas Paine IV - February 15, 2012 8:02 am
    Federal funds for California were diverted to high speed rail. The citizens of Borden, all 1,500 of them, need a $100 billion rail system. Soon, we'll be cutting schools even further to pay the interest on the bonds.
  6. glenroy
    Report Abuse
    glenroy - February 15, 2012 9:43 am
    …… always has been always will be a lapdog never to be a bluedog….

    … another broken promise to finish this albatross of a crony project…

    Since obama took office, excluding the trillion dollars they packed on to Bush’s last FY, our Democrat Senate has yet to pass a budget which is required under our constitution. Those who failed Constitutional History both houses are required to pass a budget before a dime is spent.

    Liberals never did like that dang constitution because if followed we wouldn't be stuck with 'Imperial Liberalism,' they couldn't have ruined our economy. With stacked courts, lapdog liberal senate and a VERY compliant MSM...…nothing can stop them from spending your children’s future…

    I’d add there are more than a few vineyard and winery owners who are not obama supporters though for whatever reason support Thompson…of course most, but not all, of them being old school families dating to the former “Prune Capital of the World’…
  7. Joe B
    Report Abuse
    Joe B - February 15, 2012 10:51 am
    Maybe they'll feel sorry for them after all they've spent $400 mil and downtown is still threatened by flooding. Come on we just need another $20 mil....
  8. Tiredofcomplainingnapkins
    Report Abuse
    Tiredofcomplainingnapkins - February 15, 2012 1:33 pm
    TO Repubicankid,

    NOw you understand why I was upset in previous comment sections when I blasted the Bush budget for cutting millions that were suppose to go to the flood project, I'm equally upset with the Obama administration for cutting funding too. This project shouldve been finished years ago.
  9. reason-ator
    Report Abuse
    reason-ator - February 15, 2012 5:44 pm
    Steph said: "...It's time for the grape growers to start paying their own way--enough with the subsidies, already, or demand to ... pay for their own darned pest control! Errgh!"

    I disagree.

    It's past time.

    WAY past time. With the money we've given the rich people to fix their problems, we could finish the project ourselves.

    I had earwigs and snails in the garden last summer. I didn't expect politicians to fix the problem. But then, I didn't contribute to anyone's campaign.

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