Government should be helping to solve our water problems, not imposing more bureaucracy and red tape
October 20, 2014
"This week I joined agricultural leaders and policymakers from across the state to discuss the future of our agricultural industry at the first annual Kern County Agricultural Summit hosted by Bakersfield College. The importance of Kern County agriculture to our community is highlighted by the $6.7 billion worth of products produced in 2013. And this significance extends beyond county lines as we greatly contribute to California’s overall production, which happens to be the top agriculture producing state in the U.S. with over 80,000 farms and ranches.
"The Summit came at a significant time for our community. For generations before us to the present, the rich Central Valley soil and long days of sun have established us as America’s food basket and have turned the ole shantytowns from the Grapes of Wrath into the community we all cherish today. But cultivating the land is hard work and the reliance on cooperation from Mother Nature is never certain. Our historic drought reminds us of that every day. But compounding the naturally occurring impacts are regulations from Sacramento and Washington to preserve the Delta smelt in lieu of water deliveries to our communities.
"There is no doubt that the issue of water is the top priority for our agriculture industry and our state. What we never expected however, nor should any community anticipate, is our government becoming so disconnected from the needs and realities of the communities they are supposed to serve.
"Our government should be focused on solving problems that exist within our communities and society; not piling onto challenges that are not proven to exist with more bureaucracy and regulations. In Washington, I am leading the House in a renewed approach to governing that focuses on results. This will be critical as we continue to forge a solution on a long-term California water bill. A result-oriented approach to a successful water bill will ensure water moves through the Delta, benefits State Water Project contractors, and creates more storage – including dams and groundwater banking. Absent these provisions, any California water bill will simply be business as usual. And that is unacceptable.
"The drought’s effects are a daily reminder of the damage harmful governmental policies can have on our community. Through events like this week’s Agricultural Summit, it will be imperative that as a community we remain informed on the actions from Sacramento and Washington and involved in working to reverse them. In Washington, my work to this approach drives me every day.