Policies pushed by environmental extremists have now taken deep root in the Central Valley, especially due to the Central Valley Project Improvement Act of 1992 (the George Miller/Bill Bradley bill), destructive court rulings based on the Endangered Species Act, and the San Joaquin River Settlement of 2009. The devastating results of these policies are now undeniable – the Valley is suffering from a permanent government-made drought.
A bill that would have rectified this situation – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act (H.R. 1837) – was approved by the House of Representatives in 2012 but did not pass the Senate due to opposition from both California senators and from Governor Brown.
The current impasse on water is the result of a deliberate campaign to pit water districts and local officials against one another, and to create a giant, impenetrable bureaucracy around the issue that insulates our senators and governor from the political consequences of this disaster.
In light of the dire threat the drought poses to Valley agriculture and to Valley life in general, our senators and Governor Brown must either work to pass the reforms from H.R. 1837 or explain to Californians how they intend to mitigate this calamity. Ultimately, it will take federal law to fix the problem; without Senate support for a comprehensive water bill that gains President Obama’s signature, there will be no relief from current conditions outside of flood-level rainfall.