Friday, February 12, 2010

Feinstein Water Proposal: Approach With Caution


I am sure you have seen press reports over the past two daysthat Senator Feinstein is proposing a New Mexico style fix to our watercrisis.  Please see the Fresno Bee story here for details.

Here's what occurred in New Mexico back in2003.  Radical environmentalists cut-offwater to the citizens of Albuquerque to save the Silvery Minnow (see mytestimony to the House Resources Committee last week here).  Congress, in abipartisan manner, quickly stepped in and provided a two-year fix to thesituation and restored water deliveries.

It must be noted that Senators Feinsteinand Boxer led the charge to defeat a proposal to provide such a fix for ourCentral Valley farmers just last year, despite the fact that theyboth supported the fix for New Mexico in 2003.  However, it wasn’t just theSenators who voted to kill such a proposal; the House Democrats also votedseveral times against a New Mexico style fix last year.

So until we see the proposal in legislative text andunderstand what it does, we should approach it with caution.

Farmers need to be careful and not blindly accept a deal. Don’t be the dog that has been starved and kicked by its owner for years onlyto lick their owners’ hand when a mere morsel is offered under the table. Senator Feinstein says San Joaquin Valley families will get 38-40% of theirwater with this proposal.  Is that a guarantee or a political talking point?

We have been guaranteed a lot from the Obama Administrationand Secretary Salazar over the past year and have gotten nothing in return.  Are they going to publicly support this proposal in writing, or leave uswith empty promises again?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m encouraged that the Democrats arefinally waking up to the problems in the San Joaquin Valley.  Yet, I must ask: What has changed?  Over the past twelve months, the Democrats have flatlyrejected a New Mexico style fix.  Then, suddenly, in an election year, theycome out of the woodwork to help.

So, is this an election year ploy to protect Democrats, orare they actually going to do something to protect the Valley?