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The water conference committee signed off last night on a five-bill package to address Delta conservation and water supply issues.

The conference report got the eight signatures needed to pass out of the committee in time for a floor vote, but none of the Republicans on the panel were on board with the plan.

Sen. Dave Cogdill, the lead Republican in the negotiations, called the conference report "an unbalanced package of bills that ignores the need for a reliable water supply and only caters to the interests of extreme environmentalists."

"These bills will guarantee that we never improve the failing condition of California's water system. We had hoped that the Democrats had listened to the numerous hours of public testimony before drafting their conference report but it appears they haven't heard the cries of farmers, farm workers, businesses and residents throughout the state," he said in a statement.

The package is also missing one crucial component: a plan for paying for water projects. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he will only sign a water package that includes a water bond to finance the proposals.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg issued a statement last night vowing to push ahead with a water package in the final 48 hours of the session.

"This package represents crucial advancements in resource infrastructure for the state, but it is incomplete without a financing plan to go with it," he said in a statement. "I will continue to work with members and the stakeholders in the coming days to make sure California can pay for the important improvements that this water package offers the Delta ecosystem and California's water delivery system."


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