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The Two Demands of Radical Farmers

"A proposed law requiring environmental water releases be held to the same standards for efficiency and accountability as required of urban and agricultural uses."

Sep 22, 2014

It's been an active year in California's water wars. It all started in February with the passage of Rep. David Valadao's Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act. Every California Democrat except Jim Costa voted against it. Our U.S. Senators accused the House of "pursuing divisive and discredited policies" while promising not to take it up. The President promised to veto if it ever reached his desk.

Over three months later in May the U.S. Senate passed the Emergency Drought Relief Act, their version of drought relief, setting up what we were promised would be a conference committee where compromise could be reached. Now it's another four months later and the latest headline is "Congress leaves town without agreement on drought legislation." We can almost feel the sense of urgency.

While this has all been going on, California lawmakers voted to place a $7.5-billion water plan before voters in November. In the category of 'Don't let a crisis go to waste' California lawmakers also passed California's first groundwater legislation. The Governor also continues to push his twin tunnels plan that would send water under to Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but not withous opposition.

Getting back to the headline of this newsletter, The Two Demands of Radical Farmers, we will first let you know that we're the radical farmers. That's what environmentalists call us for what they say are our radical ideas. What are these radical ideas?

First of all, the San Joaquin River Restoration needs a re-do. This radical idea is so radical that Senator Dianne Feinstein said as much back in February in an interview with the Fresno Bee (Editorial: A Second Look at Restoration). Despite her comments, the Senate has refused to even consider this idea. The Fresno Bee agreed with
Feinstein saying "The Editorial Board has championed the river's restoration. However, we concur with Feinstein. The project has ballooned in costs. Deadlines have been repeatedly missed on this massive, unprecedented and unpredictable project." No matter. The U.S. Senate still considers this too radical an idea to even open for discussion.

The other radical idea was suggested by FPV Board Member Kole Upton at the Congressional hearing held in Fresno in March. Kole suggests that part of the revision of the Endangered Species Act incorporate "a proposed law requiring environmental water releases be held to the same standards for efficiency and accountability as required of urban and agricultural uses. Water is a public resource and should not be wasted by any user. So, if an environmental water release is not accomplishing the task for which it is being released, then it should be made available to the other water users so it may be beneficially used for society."

There. Those are the two demands of radical farmers. How radical do they sound to you?

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