The House on Wednesday passed a controversial emergency drought-relief bill to help farmers in California's Central Valley, despite White House opposition.

The bill would divert water from the San Joaquin River to farms, homes and businesses — a move opposed by the Obama administration and environmentalists largely because it would halt an ongoing project designed to protect salmon and other fish.

The river restoration project has caused fierce battles spanning years that have pitted farmers in need of irrigation water against groups pushing to bring the river's salmon runs back to historic levels.

The Republican-controlled chamber passed the bill 229-191, with the tally mostly along party lines. But the measure stands little chance of surviving the Democratic-run Senate.

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