California's Man-Made Drought
Yesterday, the House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Water and Power held a field hearing in Fresno on California's man-made drought. While Governor Jerry Brown has officially proclaimed an end to the drought, the government regulations that limit water deliveries to the farmers that feed America remain.
In fact, the recent drought has shown vividly how state and federal regulations on water flows have exacerbated the damage of a natural drought on our local economies. California is the largest producer of agricultural products in the nation, and a reliable water supply is vital to job creation and food production in our communities. Unfortunately, government overregulation and overzealous environmentalists continue to perpetuate a man-made drought by putting a tiny fish above our residents. This is wrong.
Protecting our ecosystem should be a priority, but it must not come at such a devastating cost to those living and working in our local communities. Thousands of acres of land have been fallowed, countless agricultural jobs have been lost and double-digit employment rates plague the Central Valley. This is unacceptable and the worst part is, there are solutions to this man-made crisis.
For years, I have fought in Congress to get the pumps turned on and increase the water flows in our communities. Last Congress, I coauthored several bills with my colleagues in the Central Valley and continually voted for measures to get water flowing again in California. The Democratic majority rejected these efforts time and again. Currently, I am cosponsoring legislation, H.R. 869, with Congressman Jeff Denham to increase water storage capabilities in the Valley during wet years rather than just releasing it. In fact, H.R. 869 would make available approximately 70,000 acre feet of additional water, according to the bill's author.
Yesterday's hearing will prove a vital stepping stone for Congress to move forward in implementing effective solutions to bring a more reliable water supply to the Central Valley in both dry and wet years. I will not give up our fight to get the water flowing and overcome this man-made crisis.
I know that water is the lifeblood of the Central Valley, and I appreciate any feedback or comments you may have on it and encourage you to contact my office. To share your thoughts now on this issue, please answer the survey question below:
Do you agree that regulations putting the concerns of fish over those of Central Valley residents should be modified to provide more water?
Congressman Kevin McCarthy