From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
I’m no fan of Feinstein, who not only stuffs her and hubby Richard Blum’s pockets with millions of taxpayer dollars and whose response to letters is always the same: “Thank you for your letter concerning impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush. I appreciate the time you took to write and welcome the opportunity to respond….” , but we really know more than you about this…
My understanding of this amendment is that she proposes to increase farm water allocations from 10 percent last year to 40 percent this year and next, an amount that farmers say is the bare minimum they need.
I have been studying the water situation for some time and found that it is a highly complex situation. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here are some other things to think about…
One farmer’s letter to his local water organization:
… Many of my neighbors and I have invested in miles and miles of water-efficient drip irrigation – just to see those investments go to waste because there isn’t any water. Others worked for years to develop permanent crops that many environmentalists once said was the right thing to do; today, they’re ripping out the orchards that cost millions to grow because there isn’t any water to sustain them.
I grow cantaloupes. I have invested in developing organically grown cantaloupes. That requires a lot of expenditures to prepare the land properly and to support the labor-intensive cultivation that organic produce requires…
This is what I think about: When the farmers are forced to quit farming, the small and organic farmers will go out of business first. Big agribusiness can survive better and will. Where does that leave us folks that want small farmers to feed our local economy? Maybe the issue should be that big ag should get less but not small farmers. Or is not collecting runoff for water storage a good idea, especially in winter storms when the water just goes out to the ocean?
And there is a some question as to whether the restrictions do any good.
From an organic farmer in the San Joaquin Valley:
…The storms that have moved across California these past few weeks should be providing relief. But the federal rules won’t allow the state water pumps to run fully. Water that we could be storing to irrigate the fields and provide the thousands of farm jobs that have been lost in the communities here is instead running out into the ocean.
But that’s not the hardest part for the people who live here to understand. The hardest part is that there is no evidence that fish are benefiting from these pumping restrictions. Ever since 1992, when the Central Valley Project Improvement Act became law, the federal government has been restricting the movement of water through the delta to serve the 25 million people who depend upon those supplies. And throughout all of that time, the fish populations have steadily declined.
Yes, Feinstein is probably filling some big agribusiness pocket, but don’t forget the small farmer. Be careful what you wish for.