Press Releases

Washington, DC – At a news conference with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced her support for his $6 billion water initiative. The following is transcript of the news availability:

“I’m very happy to welcome the Governor here today.

We had a good, long discussion on water. I’m very happy to say that I’m very supportive of the Governor’s water program.

I really believe this: that we learned a lot from the electricity crisis. And, the water crisis in California that we face can make electricity look like kindergarten.

It is very serious. Not only is it a combination of increased population, but it is dwindling supply and the impact of the global warming on the Sierra Nevada, which is the major source of water that feeds our rivers.

So, we had a long discussion about water.

And I’m happy to turn it over to the Governor and have him say a few words. And then we’ll take some questions.”

“Well, thank you very much, Senator.

Thank you very much for having us here. And also thank you very much for spending an entire hour with us to talk with us about this very important issue, like the Senator said, water.

I was sent to Sacramento by the people to tackle this major problem that had not been addressed for a long time.

As you know, last year we tried to get our water storage off the ground and to fix the Delta. We couldn’t get that done because of $37 billion in commitments for infrastructure.

So, this year we are back, and talking about the same thing again. And, as the Senator, it’s extremely important.

We’ve got to fix our Delta. We’ve got to fix the levees and the Delta. We’ve got to go and create more of surface storage, especially now with what we have found out – that there will be 30 percent less water in the mid-century because of global warming.

We see the melting snow peaks, and there are more run-offs in the winter. We have floods in the winter, and we have less drinking water because of this in the summer.

What we’ve got to do is basically capture this water, rather than letting it run out into the ocean. So then, we have to got build more water storage.

It’s absolutely important.

We are right now talking to the Legislators. And I came here specifically to get the Senator’s support. We think, and we see eye-to-eye on those particular issues. And there are things where, if we work together, we can get it done much quicker.

And so, I am here today to just ask the Senator for the help and because she’s been very, very helpful. She has some great additional suggestions and recommendations, which has been really, very helpful again. So, we really appreciate that.

Thank you.”

“The key, I think, with water is being able to capture water from the wet years and hold that water for the dry years. And you have to do it through a number of different things. Certainly ground water recharge, surface storage. Those things play a major role. California is such that you cannot get enough just from one or two. You really have to do all the various options you can do to be able to put together enough water for the future.”

“Any questions?”

Mike Doyle, McClatchy:
“So, what do want congress to do with regards to California water storage?

“Well, we want to have the Senator be helpful. We want her to come out and to be part of the symposium.

We have a preliminary commission right now that is studying the subject very carefully. Because we need a special plan, an overall plan for the whole Delta and not to piecemeal the whole thing. That is very important.

So, we want to do it the right way. I think that the momentum is right. And we should go in and press this this year in a big way. And then fix it.

It’s one of those things for decades that it’s been there, and no one was able to really to do anything about it. And I think if we work together, it’s one of the mathematical things where 1 and 1 becomes 3. And this is exactly what we want to do.”

“Again, Michael, we have $94 million in the emergency supplemental. It is vital that we keep that money in there.”

Zac Coile, San Francisco Chronicle:
“Governor, did you get any indication from EPA Administrator Johnson today that he would support your [Clean Air] waiver request?”

“I don’t think that he has agreed that we will get the waiver. But I think he made it clear that they would do everything that they can to get it for us. Which means that it goes through a certain study; they still have to figure out what the interpretation of the Court means, and how they should deal with that, in general; then there will public hearings on the issue; and a comment period; and so on.

So all of that, we’re going to go through that period, which could be a few months. But even though it is important that we do it as quickly as possible, we have the patience. We have been waiting for it since 2005.

I think that the Supreme Court making that decision – that tailpipe emissions is a pollutant – which of course is a no-brainer. We all know that it’s a pollutant, but some people believed it was not.

So, now we can move forward. We are one step closer to being successful in controlling that area.”

Erica Werner, AP:
“Could both of you comment on decision of the State Lands Commission to deny the LNG terminal off the coast?”

“I’ll just say one thing. LNG is clean energy. Out of harbor facilities make the best sense for LNG. California needs LNG.

It’s really up to the Governor, though. But I just wanted to put on the record, though, that those are my sentiments.”

Erica Werner, AP:
“Senator Feinstein, I understand that it’s not your decision. But would you support, in fact, the specific project that is under consideration right now?”

“Well, I would have to talk with the State. The last I heard there were four projects. I don’t know what’s happened since then, so it’s hard for me really to comment on that.”

“Well, I think as the Senator said, we need more energy.

I think LNG is one of the things we should look at and have on the table.

But, it is again, at the same time, one of those things at the same, where you don’t want to go and protect on one side the environment and have less greenhouse gas emissions, and then on the other hand, you create more.

So, we have to really look at it, and I have not really seen all the studies. It’s going through, as you have seen, through the Land Commission and the Coastal Commission, where it goes through.

So there are various different studies, and everyone is going to look at it very carefully. Because you can, on the one side, save a certain amount of greenhouse gas emissions. At the other side, to transport it from Australia over to California on two ships a week, that could be increasing the amount of greenhouse gases because of the shipping.

So, we have to look at all of those things. I think at the same time, we want to find energy sources that emit less greenhouse gases. That’s what it is.

LNG is one of the things. If it’s the right place, if it is the right project, we don’t know that yet. The studies will indicate that.”

“Governor, on the environment as a whole. Can you talk about -- you’re on the cover of Newsweek, you’re doing [MTV’s] ‘Pimp My Ride’ – what’s your message out there? What are trying to convey to people? What are you hoping they will learn by doing “Pimp My Ride”?

“Well, I think the ‘Pimp My Ride’ was to take a hip show that the young generation loves and watches. Like, my son watches it fanatically; he watches it every single time. And to take something like that and make being environmental hip, rather than preaching down on people and making them feel guilty. That’s what it’s about.

So, what we did was, on that show, we took a 1965 Impala and made it into a low-rider. We dropped an 800-horspower engine into the car. That huge engine that goes zero to 60 in three second is biofuels. That means there’s 50 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, and it goes twice as far, the engine.

So, that’s exactly what the message is: You don’t have to get rid of the SUVs; you don’t have to get right of the hummers. We have to change the technology and make clean engines. That is the message.

It’s also with airplanes.

We have sent a rocket to the moon; we have had people land on the Moon that were sent with hydrogen fuel. Why cannot airplanes run on hydrogen fuel rather than fossil fuels that would create no pollution?

Those are the kind of things. Technology, in the end will save the day. This is why we have to push green technology.”

Erica Werner, AP:
“Senator, can you please comment on the fact that Governor Schwarzenegger is on the cover of Newsweek and he’s being coroneted as this sort of environmental crusader nationwide. Can you please comment on that?”

“I just got his autograph.”