Posted by: Disillusioned | September 24, 2009

Senate rejects water restoration effort

Last week, FNC’s Sean Hannity traveled to the San Joaquin Valley to report on the man-made drought that’s wreaking havoc on farmers in the name of saving the Delta smelt:

Max Schulz has an excellent piece in this month’s issue of the American Spectator on the crisis — and the MSM’s unwillingness to confront it:

As California farmers lose their jobs by the tens of thousands to protect a tiny fish, the sad irony is that the delta smelt may not be faring much better. That’s not because of inadequate protections against humans offered by state and federal officials, but rather because those officials seem incapable of saving the delta smelt from nature’s predators. The smelt rarely grows much longer than three inches, and it is prey for any number of other creatures that inhabit the rivers of the San Joaquin Valley. As Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), noted at a recent congressional hearing, the water diversions have not helped the delta smelt populations. There are quite a few officials who believe that the delta smelt is on Darwin’s fast track to extinction, despite the feel-good efforts of human environmentalists. McClintock’s congressional colleague, George Radanovich, is even rooting it on, calling the smelt “a worthless little worm that needs to go the way of the dinosaur.”

For their part, environmentalists who sue on behalf of the delta smelt consider the tiny fish to be an absolutely critical part of the food chain, feeding on plankton and in turn serving as food for larger fish and birds. If the delta smelt disappears, they warn ominously, the local food chain collapses. Whether that’s true or not, what the policies boil down to should be a matter of picking your calamity: should the fish (and others in the food chain) suffer, or should humans?

PERHAPS THE MOST MYSTIFYING ELEMENT of California’s farms-versus-fish imbroglio is the unwillingness of the media and the state’s political establishment (other than the elected representatives of the region) to confront the issue head-on. Sidestepping the tough questions involved, they refer instead to California’s lengthy drought as the cause of much of the state’s misfortune.

“California is in its third year of drought, and many farmers in the state’s crop-rich Central Valley are looking at dusty fields, or worse, are cutting down their orchards before the trees die,” according to National Public Radio in a report typical of the media coverage. “This year, farmers have been told they are getting only a small fraction of the water they need.” The alarm over California’s drought spread on both coasts. In Sacramento, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency, while in Washington Congress held hearings at which Democrats decried “California’s Katrina.”

Not surprisingly, global warming is being blamed for California’s drought. California’s drought was regularly invoked on Capitol Hill as Congress debated cap and trade legislation this summer. Energy Secretary Steven Chu gave this storyline a boost in February when he warned that drought will cause California’s vineyards and farms to vanish by the end of the 21st century if we fail to combat warming. “We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

The only problem with the idea of drought driving California’s misery is that it is largely a fiction.

Earlier tonight, GOP South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint tried to turn the water back on. The Senate voted down his amendment, 61-36. Here’s the roll call vote.

And here’s Sen. Feinstein’s bizarre statement in opposition to DeMint’s attempt to save farmers from eco-hysteria — in which she compares water restoration to, um, Pearl Harbor:

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