BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — As California grapples with a third year of drought, a new statewide survey shows water issues are top-of-mind for residents. It comes as our Congressmen in Kern are speaking out and demanding more information from the Department of Interior.

On Wednesday, Kern’s Congressmen Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and David Valadao (R-Hanford) sent a letter to the Interior Secretary requesting documents related to her review of the 2019 Biological Opinions. The opinions determined operations for the Central Valley Project and California State Water Project did not jeopardize endangered species.

Valadao noted if the review ended with a reversal of the decision, it would be detrimental for our local economy and Valley farmers.

This comes as a new survey by the Public Policy Institute found 30% of Californians surveyed ranked drought and water as the most pressing issues when it comes to the environment — ranking above both wildfires and climate change.

Both of our Congressmen were outspoken about this issue on the House floor in recent weeks. Just before August recess, the House passed a bill addressing wildfires and drought, which Valadao and McCarthy said did not go far enough.

“The majority has decided they would rather play politics with the most critical resource in the valley,” Valadao said. “Apparently passing political messaging bills to check a box is more important to my Democratic colleagues than trying to save the livelihood of thousands of Valley farmers trying to put food on the table of Americans across the country.”

Valadao offered four amendments to the bill that were rejected, including extending the WIIN Act to address water storage. McCarthy’s amendment to restore drinking water to a community in Tulare County was adopted.