The California Republican delegation, along with other key Western lawmakers, today introduced a bill that would loosen environmental restrictions on water being pumped to farms and cities in the drought-ridden Central Valley. The bill, officially introduced by David Valadao, also would free up major water storage projects in the west, offering more flexibility for the construction of dams and reservoirs.
The bill would sidestep a Fish and Wildlife Service order that restricted the amount of water pumped to farms and cities, instead letting it flow to sea in order to protect the Delta smelt, a threatened fish species. The bill would reopen those spigots and allow water to flow from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the agriculture-rich Central Valley until regulators can prove that the smelt and other species, such as the salmonid (a family of fish including various types of salmon), are being harmed by the pumping. Should they find the fish are being harmed, regulators would then have to undertake a study of viable alternatives before against imposing the limit. It also requires federal regulators to consider different surveys and monitoring techniques in evaluating the fish population.
I hope that the fight over the delta smelt was worth it (it was not), because this controversy over water rights will end with somebody being shot. I’d also suggest that the AP at least mention that one major reason that the farmers are not getting that water is because of a three inch fish that may, in fact, be extinct in the wild at this point. …And wouldn’t that be a kick in the teeth? The Democrats can’t even keep their goram pet fish alive; and yet, they want to set ecological policy. And cut off all the bits of agricultural policy that don’t fit in this particular Procrustean bed, of course.
PS: Sorry: the AP has some very cranky, and ultimately self-defeating, attitudes over ‘fair use.’ Short version: some farmers in California are taking their water and justifying it with existing water rights. It’s going to end badly. Very, very badly.
Officials Friday said that for the first time ever, the State Water Project that helps supply a majority of Californians may be unable to make any deliveries except to maintain public health and safety.
They also said they were cutting releases from large reservoirs in the northern part of the state to preserve supplies in the face of what could be the worst drought in modern California history.
Very important point (same link):
The State Water Resources Control Board announced that it is temporarily dropping requirements for reservoir releases to maintain environmental standards in California’s water hub, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
It’s pronounced ‘Kohl-bert,’ he’s up against Adam Schiff, and John can’t stand that stupid delta smelt, either. That last is starting to be a theme among California candidates and legislators: well, the Republican ones, at least. Anyway, we talked yesterday:
Newly-chosen candidate Carly Fiorina (R CAND, CA-SEN) had a conference call today, and spoke somewhat about an issue of some interest to both myself and the California agricultural community: the delta smelt.
For those who are unaware: the delta smelt is, to quote Rep George Radanovich (R, CA-19), “a worthless little worm that needs to go the way of the dinosaur” – mostly because it’s a two-inch fish whose protection under the Endangered Species Act caused the government to turn off the water in the San Joaquin Valley. That cost the state of California almost a billion dollars in lost revenue… and it turns out that the stupid fish aren’t even in (alleged) danger from agricultural needs; they’re in (alleged) danger from Sacramento sewage.
[UPDATE] Mike’s campaign site is now up; contribute here.
CA-18 is a D+4 district that voted for Bush in 2004; incumbent Cardoza ran unopposed in 2008. Of course, that was before unemployment in Cardoza’s district hit double digits*, and why Cardoza’s yelling for help from the federal government, while treating Speaker Pelosi like the radioactive career-killer that she is. Mind you, Cardoza’s also ducking those inconveniently public town halls in favor of nice, controllable mass phone calls; which tells you everything that you need to know about his interest in his consituency. Or his personal moral courage.