Yes, our governing officials do need an updated legal framework to protect our water.
Indeed, in past years, the supervisors did a good job protecting the environment because they had been given the proper legal framework and planning tools by the voters, and particularly with the first ever, and very controversial at the time, Ag Preserve zoning designation of 1968.
But that was another time, and conditions — and supervisors — have changed. Protections have eroded. Current supervisors, whose campaigns have been funded by project interests, have embarked on an accelerated increase in approvals of new wineries and of existing ones that require utilizing 75 percent Napa grapes. With the valley floor now essentially fully planted, developers now look to the hillsides — our watersheds.
In the absence of relevant regulation, the supervisors have been left with no tools at their disposal to deny one hillside conversion application over another, which will ultimately lead to the deforestation of our hills.
Are the people of Napa County willing to support the trade off of our hillsides, our oak woodlands and forests, and shockingly, the quality and quantity of our water supply, for the benefit of business interests?
The Oak Woodlands and Watershed Protection initiative will give voters the chance to determine the future of our valley one way or the other.