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Fresno Bee Endorses Restoration Moratorium!

It's well documented and not disputed that sending the restoration water down the San Joaquin River is literally selling farmers 'down the river'

Jan 23, 2014

The Fresno Bee editorial board ran an editorial titled "Another day of water wars and nary a drop of progress" in this morning's paper. For most of the first part of the editorial they discuss John Boehner's visit to the Valley and reaction from Senator Dianne Feinstein. But, if you scroll down about 10 paragraphs you will find some real meat. The Bee casually mentions that "Given the almost complete absence of rain this winter after two consecutive drought years, the GOP proposal to suspend restoration water releases on the San Joaquin until 2015 makes sense. Barring big rainstorms soon, releases from Friant Dam will stop at the end of February for this year, anyway, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Moreover, the river restoration is a long-term project that won't succeed or fail based on what happens over the next 24 months."

If you've been reading our newsletters you know that this is something that everyone should be able to agree on. It's well documented and not disputed that sending the restoration water down the San Joaquin River is literally selling farmers 'down the river'. It's a total waste and doing no one any good. The Bee is wise to recognize the obvious. Way to go.

But, the Bee cannot help themselves by adding that "As Feinstein pointed out, however, suspending restoration releases would likely prompt a legal challenge." Are they serious? Has this country deteriorated so far that you cannot pass good legislation because of the fear of some half-a** environmental group filing a lawsuit? It is a shame the Senator has now been reduced to pandering to elitist environmentalists at the expense of the general public.

Please check out our newsletter from December "Dear Barrack, Dianne, Barbara and Jerry" where we explain our position on SJ River Restoration and put forth a form letter for asking these elected officials to straghten out a seriously flawed situation.
Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/01/22/3727559/editorial-another-day-of-water.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/01/22/3727559/editorial-another-day-of-water.html#storylink=cpy


 

EDITORIAL: Another day of water wars and nary a drop of progress

By The Bee Editorial Board
Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/01/22/3727559/editorial-another-day-of-water.html#storylink=cpy

A news conference featuring House Speaker John Boehner at a dusty Kern County field made for dramatic political theater Wednesday afternoon. But it's doubtful that the emergency drought legislation touted by Republican lawmakers will be bear fruit this year for parched San Joaquin Valley farmers.

There's no doubt that Valley growers need more water. Nor is there any doubt that this continuing drought is fast becoming a kidney punch to our region's recovery from the Great Recession.

But understand: Moving water around California — either for farming or to quench the thirst of Southern California residents — always has been controversial. The battle usually pits environmentalists and fishermen against farmers and others wanting more water.

We would like to believe that in a crisis the opponents would drop their talking points and lawsuits, and find common ground so that unemployment doesn't soar and food lines don't lengthen.

Unfortunately for Valley residents, the divides among the factions are so wide that even the realities of fallow fields, hurting families and unprecedented groundwater pumping likely won't bridge the
gap among big stakeholders and their political allies.

Boehner — who is in California to raise money for the National Republican Campaign Congressional Committee and an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" — said that "it's time for the Senate to act" on making more irrigation water available from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the San Joaquin River.

He and House Whip Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield characterized the Democratic-controlled Senate as blocking California water solutions.

Nonsense, responded Sen. Dianne Feinstein in a statement: "For the past two years I have worked to pass measures to improve water supplies by expediting water transfers, increasing water banking and completing water storage feasibility studies. Last month, the House finally agreed to lift their objection to these measures."

Tit-for-tat.

But rarely a drop of progress in updating the state's antiquated water delivery and undersized water storage systems.

Given the almost complete absence of rain this winter after two consecutive drought years, the GOP proposal to suspend restoration water releases on the San Joaquin until 2015 makes sense. Barring big rainstorms soon, releases from Friant Dam will stop at the end of February for this year, anyway, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Moreover, the river restoration is a long-term project that won't succeed or fail based on what happens over the next 24 months.

As Feinstein pointed out, however, suspending restoration releases would likely prompt a legal challenge — as would the GOP proposal to operate the delta pumps as long as water is available.

The third part of the fast-track legislation touted by Boehner would set up a bipartisan joint House and Senate committee to come up with solutions to the state's water challenges.

If that committee is appointed, go ahead and cheer. In California's water wars, anything bipartisan represents progress.

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