Monday, June 22, 2009

Paul Rodriguez fighting for us...

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Recently, vital water pumps in California were shut down to protect a 2-inch minnow. Now, since then, farmers and workers have been protesting that decision and appealing to lawmakers to reverse it.

Our own Ainsley Earhardt visited the region in May. Take a look at this.

AINSLEY EARHARDT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California's Central Valley is considered by many to be the richest and most productive farmland in the nation. But this land is being threatened by the small, harmless-looking minnow called the delta smelt.

Recently, it landed on the endangered species list, prompting a federal court to shut down vital pumps to farmers to help preserve it.

(on camera) All of the farmers along all of this land, 2/3 of the state of California have depended on water to grow their crops. The water is turned off here, so none of these farmers can expect to get any water.


EARHARDT (on camera): Two years ago, I wouldn't have been able to do that. This was a canal full of gushing water irrigating the farmland here in the San Joaquin Valley. But as you can see, it is all dried up.

(voice-over) The pumps were turned off after environmentalists won a federal court case.
REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-CALIF.: What we have today is a manmade brought on by laws, passed by Congress, to where we're starting the breadbasket of the world and starving it of water to save little fish, which is outrageous.
HANNITY: And joining me now is actor/comedian Paul Rodriguez. He has been an outspoken opponent of shutting down the pumps.

Paul, good to see you.

You know, we're not going to be farmers any longer. We're going to be selling fire wood, because our trees won't last another six months without any water.

It's really a sad situation that those of us who chose to farm, my mother and my family in the central San Joaquin, perhaps the most fertile soil in the world, are now just sitting there getting ready to go on welfare or some other kind of support because we can't farm.

HANNITY: Paul, this is so serious, and it's almost mind numbing that this could happen. All right. So we showed the little delta smelt, this little minnow fish that is now on the endangered species list. Now, they literally have shut down — you are getting and farmers are getting zero percent water. Their trees and their farms are dying. Is that right?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, in other years they've given us less allocation, and we've put in drip irrigation. And we've tried to compromise to try to continue to get our crops out. But now the second opinion from the federal state fisheries commission has come out, and they're saying that our actions were like 300 or 400 miles inland. Our actions is also threatening the killer whale, the steel head, and also the green sturgeon. Now, these fish I've never seen.

HANNITY: But the killer whale is, what, 60 miles away?

RODRIGUEZ: The killer whale — I've never seen one on the highway, you know, but apparently we're affecting — we're affecting their reproduction, you know.

I don't know what to do. It's so ridiculous. They might as well put — they've taken 80,000 jobs. Mendota, the city of Mendota and Firebaugh has 41 percent unemployment, the — unemployment the highest in the nation.

I don't know what they want us to do. We tried to get the attention of the administration. Mr. Salazar was gracious enough to fly over our valley but didn't land. I don't know why. There's plenty of places to land, you know, because there's no farming going on. It's pathetic.

How I got involved is simply because there was no water coming to our farm, and the problem here is that there isn't a drought. There's plenty of water. We've tried everything from doing bubbles and lights to prevent the fish. We've asked for a peripheral canal. They closed all these ideas.

I think that when the Endangered Species Act was put on, they didn't take human — humans into consideration.