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Sen. Feinstein changes course on California’s water problems

Sen. Feinstein changes course on California’s water problems

It looks like the special election earthquake that shook FL-13, sending Republican David Jolly to Washington D.C., may be being felt in other ways in the land of real earthquakes — California.

I recently covered the severe drought that is impacting the Golden State, which is leading Governor Jerry Brown to contemplate new, conservation-based rules that will lead to more penalties, fees, and bureaucrats (nothing that will actually solve the problem).

However, one of our senators is rethinking legislation that has actually cut-off the flow of water to taxpayers.  And even more shocking — a fairly progressive newspaper editorial board is also reconsidering the fish-friendly rules.

Crises commonly produce compromise. That seems to be happening in the U.S. Congress with solutions to California’s drought. In particular, Sen. Dianne Feinstein appears to be moving away from her San Joaquin River Restoration Act of 2009, which was a response to a 2006 court decision and gave priority to salmon runs over water for farming.

A March 10 editorial in the Fresno Bee paraphrased her comments to the paper’s editorial board:

“It is time, in light of climate change, Feinstein said, to ‘reassess’ the $2 billion plan that would revive salmon runs on the San Joaquin by rebuilding the 153-mile stretch between Friant Dam and where the Merced River empties into the San Joaquin.

“This is significant because Feinstein has been a strong river restoration advocate. She, along with former Rep. George Radanovich, was a key figure in pushing negotiators forward in the 2006 settlement of a long and bitter federal lawsuit filed by environmentalists over river diversions to farmers.”

And with Fresno in the heart of California’s farming country, the Bee’s editorial board also has been persuaded to change its stance.

The Central Valley water woes have been a focus of citizen activism since the Tea Party started in 2009. In discussing how state farmers were fighting to prevent Dustbowl II, I recounted the realities of the regulatory eco-activism that cut off water to direct it to the Feinstein’s salmon runs:

Todd Allen, a Central Valley farmer recently interviewed on the Jon and Ken Show on AM 640, shared his experiences… After investing much capital in irrigation equipment, he received “0” percent of his annual water allotment in January….and February…..and March. After three months of bone-dry conditions, only 40 acres of the 300 acres of wheat he planted survived. The sole reason he managed to save the 40 acres was that he managed to water the section before the tap was shut off.

Congressman Tom McClintock from California’s 4th district summarized the travails of the Central Valley in 2010:

What has happened between 2010 and 2014 that has inspired Senator Feinstein to reconsider the value of the “San Joaquin River Restoration Act” like she is apparently doing for the CIA’s policies on spying?

Wayne Lusvardi of Cal Watchdog may have part of the answer:

President Obama toured the drought area. And the November election, with Democrats worried about losing House seats from California, approaches ever nearer. Indeed, just yesterday Democrats’ plight became more critical as Republicans won an election for an open House seat in Florida.

So it’s not surprising that Feinstein and other Democrats want to advance compromise solutions to the drought that put them in good light with farm voters.

In fact, our Central Valley is becoming quite the battleground for Washington’s politicos. Speaker of the House John Boehner recently toured the area and caused palpitations about California eco-activists and legislators by supporting congressional proposals to stop river restoration in favor of drought relief.

Based on these developments, my forecast for Democrats this November is doom with a chance of gloom.


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Karen Sacandy | March 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

It’s really important California farmers get the water they need, and get it reliably if at all possible. They produce an enormous part of our fruits and vegetables.

Lefties don’t seem to understand the concept of “human survival.”

    Sure they do, they want to survive with all of the things that you produce, minus you.

    Lina Inverse in reply to Karen Sacandy. | March 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

    “Human survival” isn’t at stake in the way you mean, that depends on for example where I live, where we produce lots of grains and meat, and can “down gear” by shifting grain usage for the former to humans. We can survive a year with limited, expensive fruit and vegetable supplies.

    When it comes to California, not counting the rice production (as another grain), supplying enough water to the cities comes first. After that, preventing semi-permanent losses, like sending water to fruit trees and vineyards so they don’t die.

Question: Are Salmon an endangered species?

Answer: No.

In a state that is far over populated at its coastal ends why was the fishery issue even considered when it destroys the Central Valley, a producer of more foodstuffs than any river fishery would ever do?

Seems like California politicians want to have the bread and consume it too…so to speak. A lot of California consumed & used water comes from outside of California, due to federal projects. A whole lot of agrarian foodstuff is shipped from California to the rest of the nation. How many Salmon are shipped? Again, are Salmon endangered generally?

Given California receives considerable water support from outside California, why is it sensible for California to not use its own water resources for agriculture? The very idea has never made sense to me.

Liberals love to “make” things. Now they want to “make” wilderness in Michigan out of the Sleeping Bear National Lake-shore. The push to “make” it a wilderness is underway. Making that portion of Leelanau County here is equivalent to “making” Santa Rosa, CA in to a wilderness, and say creating the Russian River National Wilderness Area.

Nothing stops liberal do-gooders from doing harm.

    Phillep Harding in reply to Aridog. | March 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    The greenies have redefined “species” to mean “sub varieties”, or “the same critter that happens to live 5 miles away”.

    South East Alaska has a problem with this.

    “Salmon”? Some of the California rivers the salmon currently spawn in were dry for hundreds of years except when full from runoff. No historical spawning in them, until California started trickling water out to replenish aquifers (never mind if it actually worked, that was the intent).

Subotai Bahadur | March 16, 2014 at 11:41 am

Feinstein will only support the theoretical concept of water for farmers [but not the delivery of such] up until the very moment that any putative elections in 2014 are settled. Then she will go back to favoring anything but the American people and their food supply. Anyone who trusts her deserves what they get.

Subotai Bahadur

Midwest Rhino | March 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm

yeah, after the election is over, back to screwing the producers.

UNLESS Feinstein’s favored friends have managed to buy up prime property at depressed prices … in which case she will turn the water back on for her friends.

Or maybe she has just extracted the necessary bribe from those being shut down.

But I’m certain it is not because she now or ever cared about a few salmon, except about how they are prepared for her.

    You are right. Nothing in CA is as it seems. Environmentalism especially. The liberals there who assert they are environmentalists and support endangered speciies (think NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife) all supported the Obamessiah. Once Salazar took is office in Interior the destruction of endangered species began, supported by both Dems and Repubs. It is all bullcrap. Period. I am more than 101% certain that Feinstien, let alone Obama, has ever seen a wild salmon, let alone caught one. If they are endangered…why are so many swimming around Lakes Michigan, Huron, St Claire, Superior, et al?

    Phillep Harding in reply to Midwest Rhino. | March 16, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I think this could be called “genocide” against the conservative farmers in the valley. Drive them from their lands, turn the land over to the “war veterans”, like in Africa.

The Drill SGT | March 16, 2014 at 5:36 pm

One must understand that Diane was the Mayor of SF, that gets its water from the hetch Hetchy. If the Hetch Hetchy still flowed into the San Joaquin River, then the Delta smelt would not need a mandated water share,

Way back when…. a history of attempting to build a dam in California.

Airdog what you say regarding Sleeping Bear is amazing. The easiest way to stop that kefuffle is to note that the whole darn dune is moving east so just where are the goodie two shoers intending to stop their wilderness area?

    Aridog in reply to Karensky. | March 16, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Technically, I guess after the dunes cross Little Glen Lake and reach M-22 & Rte 616 between Little and Big Glen Lakes…that’s the current boundary of the Lakeshore. I’ve been a visitor and later resident in-holder so my attitude is rather contrary. My faorite NPS stunt was when they first “took over” and set up shop in the old Grand Haven Life Guard Station…they didn’t like all the juniper bushes on the beach dune (the high water dune) in front…so they dug them all up. Lake edge promptly moved inland at that point. The “wilderness” idea is equally idiotic. It was already barely wilderness when I was a kid of 7 or 8 and spent time wandering all over the wooded hills. Today…there’s hardly an acre without something built on it…except the dunes themselves (smallest part of the Lake-shore) and even there they’ve built boardwalks. “Wilderness” there exists only in the imaginations of bureaucrats who think everything is like the days (1700’s) when Father Cadillac was wandering about. At that time none of the dilettantes could have survived in the area.

    Wilderness to me is at a minimum like Mill Creek gorge in Montana north of Pray, when you get 8-10 miles off the fire roads. Or Yellowstone 10+ mile in from the roads and trails.