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McCarthy: Stop Paying Lip Service to our Water Crisis and Pass "Turn on the Pumps Act"

Feb 4, 2010
Press Release

Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman McCarthy submitted the following statement to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power for a legislative hearing on California’s water crisis, urging the Committee to immediately take up the Turn on the Pumps Act to get water flowing again.  In the statement below, Congressman McCarthy highlights that “Jobs Grow Where Water Flows.”

“Madam Chairwoman, Ranking Member McClintock, I appreciate the opportunity to comment about the significant impacts from California’s water crisis on my constituents in Bakersfield and our region, although I am extremely disappointed that neither this, nor any other hearing to date, is addressing additional legislation that would provide immediate relief for our farmers and communities – H.R. 3105, the Turn on the Pumps Act.

“Last week I joined Ranking Member McClintock and Congressmen Nunes and Bishop for a water forum in Fresno, California to hear from witnesses and constituents about their struggles in this current environment.  Unemployment in our state has skyrocketed to double digits, including 15.8% in Kern County, and fertile land lies fallow.  Our Valley feeds our state, our country, and indeed, the world.  In 2007, our state exported over $10 billion of agricultural products to 156 countries. Almonds, dairy products, and wine, which are key products in Kern and San Luis Obispo Counties in my district, are the top three exports.  Our state has 75,000 farms and ranches, and thousands of additional jobs in packing, shipping, and associated industries.  This would not be possible without the water that flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  Those of us from the Valley have all seen the signs along our roads reminding drivers that “Food Grows Where Water Flows.”  These signs could just as well say “Jobs Grow Where Water Flows.”

“However, the current unsustainable situation threatens this vital part of our state’s economy. Our water supplies have literally dried up.  The initial allocation for State Water Project contractors this year is 5% - the lowest in the history of the project, and our constituents still have to pay for the water they don’t get!  The Central Valley Project allocation is expected to also be a fraction of the needed amount.  We all know that this results in fewer crops, and higher unemployment.  “I urge this committee to take up H.R. 3105, and provide immediate relief to our farmers, families and communities.”

Additional information:

• H.R. 3105, the Turn on the Pumps Act, which would allow for the continued operation of the Central Valley Project, which would help get more water back into our communities regardless of Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations.  McCarthy also signed a discharge petition to force an up or down vote on this legislation.