Friday, July 10, 2009

Government-imposed Dust Bowl update


In my ongoing effort to convince congressional Democrats that Californians need relief from a government imposed Dust Bowl, I have been offering amendments to a number of bills in Congress. These amendments have been straightforward (see an example), despite the efforts of Democrat leaders in Congress and the Obama administration to generate controversy and defeat them.

If enacted, my amendments would prevent federal authorities from depriving Californians access to essential water supplies. Because of federal actions, as much as 500,000 acres are being forced out of production and, according to a recent forecast by economists at the University of California, Davis, more than 40,000 people will lose their jobs.

In Washington this week, the moral bankruptcy and unconscionable heartlessness of congressional Democrats continues to rise to new levels. The party pretends to champion working families but backs the agenda of the radical environmental lobby instead. For the people of the San Joaquin Valley, the Democrat majority and the Obama administration have chosen the delta smelt, a three-inch minnow, over working families and intends to add salmon, sturgeon, killer whales, and steelhead to the list.

This week we tried yet again to get the water flowing to the valley. Late Tuesday night, my friend from California, Ken Calvert, offered an amendment during an Energy and Water Appropriations (markup) meeting, which would have put on hold the biological decisions that have, and will continue to, shut down the delta pumps. The Congressional injunction would have given Congress time to implement a more permanent solution, which would protect families.

A thirty minute debate followed, which included outrageous statements and outright threats (go to 6:28 of this video).

One of my colleagues on the committee said that California’s water is critical to “salmon and other endangered species like killer whales.” He went on to say that “the culprit is not the Endangered Species Act, but climate change.” (go to 2:15 of this video)

Another member of the committee declared the Calvert amendment a “wish amendment.” That same member went on to threaten members of the committee that they will lose their earmarks if they support it.

My questions on the House floor yesterday are simple:

What do ocean wondering killer whales, which traditionally inhabit Puget Sound 700 miles to the north have to do with land-locked farmers in California?

What does climate change have to do with 40,000 people out of work?

I find it ironic that my Democrat colleagues didn’t have that same concern in 2003 when they supported an Energy and Water bill that overturned the Endangered Species Act on the Silvery Minnow. In fact, 31 Democrats currently on the appropriations committee supported overturning the Endangered Species Act back then (smelt and silvery minnow pictured below)

What has changed for my Democrat colleagues? The Slivery Minnow and the Delta smelt are both three inch bait fish.
 “Wish” is certainly the right word to use — families in the San Joaquin Valley wish they had a government that would do its job and deliver water to them.
 My good friend from Idaho, Mike Simpson, said it best late on Tuesday night, “The Endangered Species Act wasn’t written by God. It was written by man. If we can’t make exceptions to it when necessary, what kind of representatives are we.”

Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution says that the Congress shall have the power to provide for the general welfare of the United States.

Congress has the basic responsibility to provide water to its citizens. Congress has abysmally failed in its constitutional duty.

It has been 652 days since I warned of the government imposed Dust Bowl in California. Since then, the Democrat leadership of this country has sat back and watched the economy in the San Joaquin Valley deteriorate to the level of a third world country. Unemployment in the San Joaquin Valley of California is nearing 20% with some communities over 40%.

It is simple: Stop valuing fish over families. Just turn on the pumps and restore the flow of water to the families of the San Joaquin Valley.