Environmentalists face blame for drought

drought.caAs California’s potent drought inspired soul searching from analysts worried the Golden State can’t grow without water, politicians and officials focused on a more immediate task: laying blame for the problem.

Gov. Jerry Brown has tried to set a philosophical tone, cautioning that “we are embarked upon an experiment that no one has ever tried: 38 million people, with 32 million vehicles, living at the level of comfort that we all strive to attain. This will require adjustment. This will require learning.” But environmentalists have urged him to add water restrictions to California’s big farmers.

At the same time, environmentalism itself has become caught in the political crossfire.

Assigning blame

In recent radio remarks to The Blaze, likely GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina castigated “liberal environmentalists” for creating a statewide “tragedy.”

“[D]espite the fact that California has suffered from droughts for millennia, liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled,” she said. “There is a man-made lack of water in California — and Washington manages the water for the farmers.”

california drought, Cagle, Feb. 21, 2014Fiorina has not been alone in teeing up environmentalists for criticism over the Golden State’s dire straits. As The Hill noted, “Republicans in California and in Congress have proposed multiple times to beef up the state’s water storage with more dams and reservoirs. Environmentalists have pushed back and questioned the impact that the projects would have on the state’s water needs.”

In a related spat, Republicans at the federal level blamed environmental interests for President Obama’s threatened veto of a bill that would pump water from California’s Delta region into Southern California. The move drew howls from California’s Republican delegation.

When the president ordered Northern California water withheld to protect the tiny Delta smelt, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called the act a “culmination of failed federal and state policies that have exacerbated the current drought into a man-made water crisis. Sacramento and Washington have chosen to put the well-being of fish above the well-being of people by refusing to capture millions of acre-feet of water during wet years for use during dry years.”

Recently, faced with questioning on the drought, White House press secretary Josh Earnest rebuffed the matter. According to Politico, Earnest “said the Obama administration does not have any policy changes to share, and he listed steps that President Barack Obama has taken to offer relief to the state, such as sending $60 million to California food banks and $15 million for farmers and ranchers.”

“We’re going to continue to be in touch with California,” he concluded.

Fracking fight

At the same time federal water allocation has become a bone of political contention, the role of fracking in water consumption has also come under scrutiny. In furtherance of a law passed last year that requires oil and gas companies to disclose how much water they use, state officials told Reuters that last year that the figure hit some 70 million gallons’ worth.

But rather than bowing to objections from within his own party, Gov. Jerry Brown declined to crack down on the practice.

“Despite pressure from environmentalists, Brown has not called for a halt to fracking in the state, saying it is not a major drain on water supplies. ‘Hydraulic fracturing uses a relatively small amount of water – the equivalent of 514 households annually’ per well, said Steven Bohlen, the state oil and gas supervisor. About 100,000 gallons of water is used on average per well, he said.”

For environmentalists, who have been at odds with fracking for years, both in California and across the country, the drought’s intensity simply supplied yet another reason that the practice should end.

8 comments

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  1. motherteresa
    motherteresa 12 April, 2015, 14:55

    Hi, I am in heaven. The idiots want to minimize water availability. That is what we had in Bangladesh. The joke there is that when to you say someone doesn’t t pass the smell test during a job interview, it means exactly that.

    Reply this comment
  2. Bruce
    Bruce 12 April, 2015, 16:18

    The solar hibernation may have something to do with the drought besides diverting water to a delta where smelt fish may or may not be in the area. This pattern is not new and warnings have been given to Brown who refuses to even listen, still insisting on the man-made global warming theory that the sun may think is a hoax. How many years has water been diverted to a delta?

    Reply this comment
  3. ron61
    ron61 12 April, 2015, 21:01

    Let destroy our environment and the wonderful San Francisco Bay Delta so more water can be shipped at subsidized and below market prices to rich conglomerates so they can grow almonds in the desert to ship overseas and make a fortune while contributing around 2% to the California economy.

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 12 April, 2015, 23:27

      You bought into Earth Day! Soon your burger costs ten bucks and your soda 4 bucks.

      Reply this comment
    • Bruce
      Bruce 13 April, 2015, 06:41

      Perhaps some responsible thinking into a problem of a lack of reservoirs, that was realized some 70 years ago but never acted upon because of environmentalist, would have eliminated today’s problem. Instead, the voters give Brown $7.5 billion where he immediately spends (grows government) $700 million to figure out how to spend the billions. Go figure. A balance between environment that includes human’s right to live should always be kept in mind. When decisions are made that exclude the citizens right to exist things go askew. 70 years ago, that plan for additional reservoirs and government did not act, both Republican and Democrat.

      Reply this comment
      • Will
        Will 13 April, 2015, 10:12

        Ron61 – I do not know where you are obtaining your figures and information from….but agriculture in the state is around 42.8 Billion dollars generated with approx. 30+% coming back into state coffers in the form of revenue.

        If this state loses it agriculture…not only would it be catastrophic for California…but be prepared to pay out the nose to eat. Food prices are going up enough because of dollar inflation and this drought.

        The last thing we need right now, in my view, is a bunch of bourgeois environmentalists running around screaming about a species of fish. I’m not against protecting the environment but anyone who doesn’t think that the environmentalists here take it way beyond the pale, then you wouldn’t comprehend what I’m saying anyway.

        We either get our act together and priorities straight or there isn’t going to be a state left for us to live in and enjoy…..little alone some insignificant fish.

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