Government meddling generates predictable results

Global warming isn't causing California's drought - blame lies with a federal judge and an Obama veto

By —— Bio and Archives--February 17, 2014

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This week, Obama made a stop in Fresno California, where he promised a staggering $160 million in federal aid - all designed to deal with the state’s disastrous drought. Unfortunately, while blaming the socialist catch-all known as climate change, he neglected to mention that the lack of water was actually caused by government meddling.



The President’s solution to the problem is to throw gobs of taxpayer money at the problem. A: That’s at best short term thinking, and B: it shouldn’t be necessary in the first place. California’s central valley used to have a system of reservoirs and aqueducts that were designed precisely for this situation.  So what happened?

In a word, progressives happened.

From Investor’s Business Daily:

“We have infrastructure dating from the 1960s for transporting water, but by the 1990s the policies had changed,” said [California Central Valley farmer, lawyer, and representative] Valadao.

Environmental special interests managed to dismantle the system by diverting water meant for farms to pet projects, such as saving delta smelt, a baitfish. That move forced the flushing of 3 million acre-feet of water originally slated for the Central Valley into the ocean over the past five years.

Yep, it seems a left-wing federal judge ordered the state to dump its water reserves into the Pacific Ocean as part of an effort to “save” a supposedly endangered breed of smelt. Water that could have seen the central valley though a drought lasting as long as a whopping five years was simply jettisoned. 

California’s system of aqueducts and storage tanks was designed long ago to take advantage of rain and mountain runoff from wet years and store it for use in dry years. But it’s now inactive — by design. “California’s forefathers built a system (of aqueducts and storage facilities) designed to withstand five years of drought,”

Fortunately, Republicans in the House actually seem to give a damn about California’s farmers, even if the state’s far-left legislators don’t. They’ve moved to restore the system.

Following legislative action last month by Speaker John Boehner and California’s Central Valley Representatives David Valadao, Devin Nunes and Kevin McCarthy, whose Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act was designed to resolve the long-standing problem of environmental water cutbacks that have devastated America’s richest farmland, Obama is grandstanding in California, too.

His aim, however, is not a long-term solution for California’s now-constant water shortages that have hit its $45 billion agricultural industry, but to preach about global warming. Instead of blaming the man-made political causes of California’s worst water shortage, he’s come with $2 billion in “relief” that’s nothing but a tired effort to divert attention from fellow Democrats’ dereliction of duty in using the state’s water infrastructure.

The one thing that will mitigate droughts in California — a permanent feature of the state — is to restore the water flow from California’s water-heavy north to farmers in the central and south. That’s just what House Bill 3964, which passed by a 229-191 vote last week, does.

But Obama’s plan is not to get that worthy bill through the Senate (where Democrats are holding it up) but to shovel pork to environmental activists and their victims, insultingly offering out-of-work farmers a “summer meal plan” in his package.

How dare these hard working farmers scoff at Obama’s box-lunch program! Why, the first family could use that money to pay for another vacation or one of Michelle’s ridiculously expensive dresses! Instead, they’ve generously chosen to give it to California. People should say “thank you, glorious leader!”

Sadly, if history is any indicator, Speaker’s Boehner’s current efforts won’t matter.  Back in 2012, a very similar bill was introduced in Congress and, although it enjoyed strong support in the areas which are now hardest hit by drought, it died in the Senate.  Why? Well, it undid a few years’ worth of California’s liberal progressive environmental agenda, so the White House threatened to veto it.  Since they think politics are far more important than a state full of suffering farmers, the President’s Senate toadies made sure it never escaped the legislature.

Now, we’re seeing the results of their actions.

Given that the Democrats are facing a horrific midterm election and suffering under the yoke of Obama’s imploding presidency, it’s somewhat conceivable that things could happen differently this time  ...but you shouldn’t hold your breath. The liberals’ bogus environmental agenda is - like health care - one of their holy grails.  They won’t let their ugly gains slip away without a fight.

HR 3964 passed the house on February 5th but, according to govtrack.us, enjoys only a 28% chance of escaping the Democrat-controlled Seante.

The veto threat for HR 1837 (the 2012 bill) appears below

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 1837, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act because the bill would unravel decades of work to forge consensus, solutions, and settlements that equitably address some of California’s most complex water challenges.

H.R. 1837 would undermine five years of collaboration between local, State, and Federal stakeholders to develop the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan.  It would codify 20-year old, outdated science as the basis for managing California’s water resources, resulting in inequitable treatment of one group of water users over another.  And, contrary to 100 years of reclamation law that exhibits congressional deference to State water law, the bill would preempt California water law.

The bill also would reject the long-standing principle that beneficiaries should pay both the cost of developing water supplies and of mitigating any resulting development impacts, and would exacerbate current water shortages by repealing water pricing reforms that provide incentives for contractors to conserve water supplies.

Finally, H.R. 1837 would repeal the San Joaquin River Settlement Agreement, which the Congress enacted to resolve 18 years of contentious litigation.  Repeal of the settlement agreement would likely result in the resumption of costly litigation, creating an uncertain future for river restoration and water delivery operations for all water users on the San Joaquin River.

The Administration strongly supports efforts to provide a more reliable water supply for California and to protect, restore, and enhance the overall quality of the Bay-Delta environment.  The Administration has taken great strides toward achieving these co-equal goals through a coordinated Federal Action Plan, which has strengthened collaboration between Federal agencies and the State of California while achieving solid results.  Unfortunately, H.R. 1837 would undermine these efforts and the progress that has been made.  For this reason, were the Congress to pass H.R. 1837, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.


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