The White House and congressional leaders are bracing for a fight over how best to respond to a historic drought in California after the first mandatory water restrictions in the state’s history were issued this week.
Republicans argue that dry conditions aren’t solely responsible for the alarming water shortage, accusing the Obama administration and congressional Democrats of diverting water away from Californians in the name of rigid environmental protections.
The White House counters that the drought is inextricably linked to climate change, which validates the president’s aggressive and controversial plan for combating warming temperatures.
Perhaps the only thing both camps agree on is that the situation is dire.
Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown is ordering local water agencies to slash use by 25 percent, but many doubt whether localities can meet that benchmark or if it will make much of a difference in addressing the crisis.