Monday, January 25, 2010

My opening statement at the Congressional forum/townhall in Fresno on the San Joaquin Valley water crisis

Mr. Chairman,

The tragedy blanketing the San Joaquin Valley has been
decades in the making.

For four decades the radical environmental community has
relentlessly abused our judicial and political system.  This has placed a
stranglehold on our economic future. 

In 1970, we saw the enactment of the National Environmental
Policy Act followed by the Endangered Species Act three years later. 
These two laws have created a cottage industry of environmental lawyers
marching to the agenda of the 1960s radicals. 

In 1992, Congress passed the Central Valley Project
Improvement Act – also known as the Miller/Bradley – drafted by left wing
liberals who had strong ties to the radical environmental movement.

This bill alone dedicated over 400 billion gallons of
California water to the environment.  At the time, we were told this is
all the water that will be needed to restore the ailing Delta. 

Since then we have seen hundreds of environmental lawsuits;
biological opinions on the Delta smelt and Killer Whale; and a disastrous San Joaquin
River Settlement – all taking an additional 325 billion gallons of water we
cannot spare.

Today, 46% of all our State’s developed water is dedicated
to the environment and 76% of all water arriving in the Delta dumps into the
ocean.  Yet, we are no closer to a solution on the Delta.

Enough is enough.

The hardworking families in the San Joaquin Valley have been
vilified as a scourge to our environment.  They have been told that the
life of a three inch minnow is more valuable than their jobs. And in
consolation for their unemployment, they are offered token government
assistance – including carrots from China.

This is turning our great valley into a barren desert where
tumble weeds are king and famers are endangered species.

A simple solution exists.  Turn on the pumps.

It was done ten years ago in New Mexico, and if it was
justified in that case, it is even more justified now.

But, all we get from Secretary Salazar are hollow promises
and shuffled papers.

In fact, the Secretary declined to participate today simply
sending the following statement:

“Representatives of the Department, including the Secretary
and Deputy Secretary, have traveled to the Central Valley and learned
first-hand of the conditions caused by the current drought.  The department
wants the residents of the Central Valley to know of our continuing attention
to and concern over this situation …”

Mr. Chairman, there isn’t a drought of water in this valley
– there is a drought of political courage in Washington.