Farmers, Salmon Both Win
Not only did water get taken from farmers, but rates for the water farmers did get were increased to pay for the restoration.
Oct 12, 2012
We can hardly stand the good news. Farmers, salmon both win? Can it be? Well, we know salmon can win, but can farmers win? According to the article below the San Joaquin River "restoration passed a milestone last week with approval of final environmental documents -- meaning construction projects can begin for salmon-friendly alterations, such as bypasses around dams." Both the state and federal government are broke, so where is the money coming from? It's coming from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's H.R. 146, the San Joaquin River Restoration Act, passed in 2009 when Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate and the Presidency.
H.R. 146 took contracted water from farmers to return salmon to the San Joaquin River. Not only did water get taken from farmers, but rates for the water farmers did get were increased to pay for the restoration. When Republicans took control of the House after the 2010 election, Congressman Devin Nunes introduced H.R. 1837, the San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, meant to repeal H.R. 146. It has been blocked in the Senate and will continue to be blocked unless Republicans take control of both the Senate and House after this coming election.
So, everything pretty much remains in limbo until some things are resolved in the election next month. But, getting back to the article below, farmers remain skeptical about language in the article like "returning water to farmers is considered just as important as salmon, the agreement says."
Why would we be skeptical? This is what we wrote in a previous newsletter about the SJ River Restoration Act:
"The San Joaquin River Restoration agreement was put together by politicians, ag and environmentalists who signed a 'blood oath' to restore the San Joaquin river with Friant Dam water on the promise that we could pump the water back into the system when it got to the Delta and re-use it for ag. Before the 'blood' could dry on the agreement, the environmentalists (Natural Resources Defense Council) were in Ollie Wanger's federal courtroom presenting their 'scientific' evidence that the pumps were killing the Delta Smelt and the pumps should be shut off, making sure ag couldn't retrieve the restoration water. You have to make sure these guys don't have their fingers crossed behind their backs when they sign a 'blood oath' right in front of you."
So, if this pumping plant is ever built we will be the first to cheer. But, we're not holding our breath. It doesn't sound like the writer of the article, Mark Grossi, is holding his breath either when he says "just so you know, this is a project I will watch and write about in the coming years."
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