The Bakersfield Californian: Don’t use ‘drought emergency’ to divide us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Contact: Steve Hopcraft 916/457-5546;; Twitter: @shopcraft; @MrSandHillCrane; Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla 209/479-2053; Twitter: @RestoretheDelta

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By The Bakersfield Californian
Don’t use ‘drought emergency’ to divide us
Saturday, Jan 25 2014 11:06 PM

The terrifying consequences of California’s “drought emergency” cannot be denied: acres of mature, nut-bearing trees dug up; fertile land unplanted; agriculture jobs gone. Some communities are even struggling to provide drinking water for their residents.

But last week’s “press availability” that starred three South Valley Republican congressmen — Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, Devin Nunes of Visalia and David Valadao of Hanford — as well as House Speaker John Boehner, the Ohio Republican, seemed more about politics than about bringing real aid to the emergency.

Using terms such as “idiocy” and “nonsense,” they blamed California’s management of its water system and environmental protection rules — rather than three consecutive, record-setting dry years and a host of competing water-user interests — for causing what they called a “man-made crisis.”
Boehner even mocked California by noting, “In my part of the world we would shake our heads at how things work here. It’s nonsense that a bureaucracy would favor fish over people.”

It may be easy for someone who represents a congressional district that receives an average of 41 inches of rain a year to be dismissive of the water wars that have long plagued bone-dry California — and that drought has rendered historically grim. But Boehner seems to have forgotten that even in his “part of the world” water wars have long been fought. Consider the years-long dispute among water users and potential water users over fragile Lake Erie…

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