The Dust Bowl Congress created

posted at 1:36 pm on April 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

For decades, the California’s Central Valley provided food to the nation and the world, and made California an agricultural powerhouse through wise water management.  In weeks, the federal government brought it to an end after determining that the Delta smelt was more important than the thousands of people employed by Central Valley agriculture or the millions of people fed by it.  Monica Showalter takes Investors Business Daily readers on a travelogue of the Dust Bowl Congress and the federal bureaucracy created:

On a springtime drive through the Central Valley, it’s hard not to notice how federal and state governments are hell-bent on destroying the state’s top export — almonds — and everything else in the nation’s most productive farmland.

Instead of pink blossoms and green shoots along Highway 5 in April, vast spans from Bakersfield to Fresno sit bone-dry. Brown grass, dead orchards and lifeless grapevine skeletons stretch for miles for lack of water. For every fallow field, there’s a sign that farmers have placed alongside the highway: “No Water = No Food,” “No Water = No Jobs,” “Congress Created Dust Bowl.”

Locals say it’s been like this for two years now, as Congress and bureaucrats cite “drought,” “global warming” and “endangered species” to deny water to this $37 billion breadbasket through arbitrary “environmental” quotas.

It started with a 2008 federal court order that stopped water flowing from northern tributaries on a supposed need to protect a small fish — the delta smelt — that was getting ground up in the turbines of pump stations that divert the water south. The court knew it was bad law, but Congress refused to exempt the fish from the Endangered Species Act and the diversion didn’t help the fish.

After that, the water cutoff was blamed on “drought,” though northern reservoirs are currently full. Now the cry is “save the salmon,” a reference to water needs of the state’s northern fisheries.

Whatever the excuse, 75% of the fresh water that has historically irrigated California is now being washed to the open sea. For farmers in the southwest part of the valley, last year’s cutoff amounted to 90%.

There wouldn’t be any good time to deliberately destroy California’s agricultural economy, but 2009-10 is a particularly bad time.  Unemployment has hit 45% in some of the towns in the region, and mortgage defaults have predictably risen as well.  Instead of feeding itself, California now has to import more food from abroad, with Mexico getting most of the benefit and California consumers paying the price.

It has, however, provided Democrats with a way of extorting votes from California’s Congressional delegation, as Showalter explains in the article.  Two of the Congressional districts in the area got immediate increases in water allotments after their Democratic Representatives committed to vote for ObamaCare in March.  The one district represented by a Republican mysteriously had its request for more water ignored.

Read the entire report.  It’s a shameful indictment of government intervention, which has caused the destruction of an entire industry and the impoverishment of thousands of Americans, all for the sake of an inedible fish.


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Comment pages: 1 2

What I don’t understand is why Republicans run for office in those states. if I was running the Republican party I’d say.
“let’s not waste our money there” when the illegals start moving out, then we’ll go back.”
Honestly sooner or later the people in those states will say”Screw this”
look at NJ. They’ve taken a step in that direction.
The illegals reference was meant to imply that times would be real hard in those states.

BruceB on April 30, 2010 at 4:51 PM

It’s just the racist Dems in congress trying to drive hispanic farm workers back to Mexico.

roux on April 30, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Anecdotally: my a friend’s family has a good size almond farm in California, about 45 min from Sacramento. This issue is obviously important to them, although they’re not quite in the zone that’s being decimated. She also says that one day, when California breaks into 2 states, it will be over water issues.

Renwaa on April 30, 2010 at 4:57 PM

Thank you, Ed for bringing attention to this vital issue. This could conceivably happen in every state, you all need to be paying attention and fighting to stop it, even though it is “liberal” California, the areas being decimated are in the “fly over” zone of the state where the people are mostly conservative.

NTWR on April 30, 2010 at 5:00 PM

I would find out what the delta smelt’s natural predator was and stock the northern tributaries with as many as I could find. Once the delta smelt population was decimated “naturally,” they wouldn’t have any reason not to turn the pumps back on.

Kafir on April 30, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Actually there is some species of bass that was introduced to the Delta that is a voracious eater. Many scientists think that may be the real cause of the decline, or maybe it’s all the sludge from the dem controlled towns near the Delta causing it.

NTWR on April 30, 2010 at 5:06 PM

Thanks to Congress, farmers are essentially endangered species. As a reminder, the Snail Darter was used to halt construction on Tennessee’s Tellico dam construction after being 95% completed. After years of legislative and court battles, permission was finally granted to complete construction.

They took some Snail Darters and put them in a new ‘habitat’ in the Hiwassee River. They thrived just fine and are were longer on the Endangered Species List in the ’80s. Surely the Smelt could thrive elsewhere. If not, perhaps it has to lose on Darwinian grounds if it can’t ‘adapt’ or ‘evolve’.

Buy Danish on April 30, 2010 at 5:10 PM

What I don’t understand is why Republicans run for office in those states…
BruceB on April 30, 2010 at 4:51 PM

B/c you can’t just hand Dems 2 senate seats and all those house seats in perpetuity. There are a couple of really good ‘Pub congressmen from CA, including Campbell.

stvnscott on April 30, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Can’t they just sell Almond Joy candy bars with a soy substitute shapped almond on it?

seven on April 30, 2010 at 5:49 PM

This is a national issue, every state in the union can be has been severely harmed in just this way.

Speakup on April 30, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Read the amendment to the clean water act. Now all waters are under control of the feds if that thing passes.

We are so screwed.

Chaz706 on April 30, 2010 at 3:16 PM

“Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.”

Barry Goldwater

Our government’s footprint, is all over us.

Speakup on April 30, 2010 at 6:13 PM

The water wars are not too far in the future! Why do the democrats want to save animals lives instead of human lives. between PETA, Sierra Club and the other dolts who proclaim we need to save the animals. What are these nuts going to do when people start to starve and go thirsty?

This is just crazy! Where is 60 minutes when you need them?

Atlanta Media Guy on April 30, 2010 at 6:13 PM

What are these nuts going to do when people start to starve and go thirsty?

Atlanta Media Guy on April 30, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Run for cover because at that point the glue that holds society together will stop working.

chemman on April 30, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Also, the claim that the big bad pump stations are killing poor wittle fishy are false. I have personally seen live Delta smelt 3 pump stations up in the canals.

NTWR on April 30, 2010 at 7:20 PM

Thanks Ed for giving attention to this important issue. If I had the ability I’d start a site with pictures and the real story of what’s going on here that the media won’t report.

CA feeds more than its own residents. We export a great deal of food to the nation and the world. Plant a garden. Seriously.

—-

Misty the Californian

mistythestripper on April 30, 2010 at 8:42 PM

How to destroy the United States of America:

Elect a charlatan with no documentable history who can hypnotize the masses with vague rhetoric and empty promises – check

Destroy wealth and move to control corporate and individual income – check

Takeover healthcare as a means of controling the population and eliminating undesirables – check

Control the water and food supply to keep the masses at your mercy: weak, hungry and desperate – check

Nationalize the energy industry by any means necessary (false flag or happy accident). Send in SWAT teams instead of environmental problem solvers. Control the ability of citizens to move via price inflation or product rationing – check

Yeah, I’d say we are on our way to a third world totalitarian regime.

misty

mistythestripper on April 30, 2010 at 8:54 PM

Smelt are edible…We used to catch them in the Knife River where it feeds into Lake Superior just north of Duluth. They are pretty good when they are fried up properly.

Eprider on April 30, 2010 at 9:56 PM

The Democratic Party is a weapon of mass destruction.

alice on April 30, 2010 at 11:11 PM

The Democratic Party is a weapon of mass destruction.

alice on April 30, 2010 at 11:11 PM

It’s worse than that – the Democrat party has become the enemy within, and they must be defeated if this country is to survive. Every singe democrat running for any position anywhere MUST be defeated, regardless of how “good” they may appear. The days of Zell Miller, John F. Kennedy and Scoop Jackson are over. Today’s Dems are out to destroy America and they must be soundly defeated everywhere they run.

How to destroy the United States of America:

Elect a charlatan with no documentable history who can hypnotize the masses with vague rhetoric and empty promises – check

Destroy wealth and move to control corporate and individual income – check

Takeover healthcare as a means of controling the population and eliminating undesirables – check

Control the water and food supply to keep the masses at your mercy: weak, hungry and desperate – check

Nationalize the energy industry by any means necessary (false flag or happy accident). Send in SWAT teams instead of environmental problem solvers. Control the ability of citizens to move via price inflation or product rationing – check

Yeah, I’d say we are on our way to a third world totalitarian regime.

misty

mistythestripper on April 30, 2010 at 8:54 PM

I can simplify that even further – the way to destroy America is to elect a democrat. If things keep going as they are, people will rise in revolt before this country becomes a totalitarian regime.

jdawg on May 1, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Comment pages: 1 2