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 beendecades in the making.
For four decades the radical environmental community hasrelentlessly abused our judicial and political system.  This has placed astranglehold on our economic future. 
In 1970, we saw the enactment of the National EnvironmentalPolicy Act followed by the Endangered Species Act three years later. These two laws have created a cottage industry of environmental lawyersmarching to the agenda of the 1960s radicals. 
In 1992, Congress passed the Central Valley ProjectImprovement Act – also known as the Miller/Bradley – drafted by left wingliberals who had strong ties to the radical environmental movement.
This bill alone dedicated over 400 billion gallons ofCalifornia water to the environment.  At the time, we were told this isall 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 JoaquinRiver Settlement – all taking an additional 325 billion gallons of water wecannot spare.
Today, 46% of all our State’s developed water is dedicatedto the environment and 76% of all water arriving in the Delta dumps into theocean.  Yet, we are no closer to a solution on the Delta.
Enough is enough.
The hardworking families in the San Joaquin Valley have beenvilified as a scourge to our environment.  They have been told that thelife of a three inch minnow is more valuable than their jobs. And inconsolation for their unemployment, they are offered token governmentassistance – including carrots from China.
This is turning our great valley into a barren desert wheretumble 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 wasjustified in that case, it is even more justified now.
But, all we get from Secretary Salazar are hollow promisesand shuffled papers.
In fact, the Secretary declined to participate today simplysending the following statement:
“Representatives of the Department, including the Secretaryand Deputy Secretary, have traveled to the Central Valley and learnedfirst-hand of the conditions caused by the current drought.  The departmentwants the residents of the Central Valley to know of our continuing attentionto 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.