Filed under: Economy, Environment, Politics, Statism | Tags: California Air Resources Board, California's Central Valley, The Delta Smelt
The Green Lobby convinced federal judge Oliver Wanger in 2007, that the Endangered Species Act gave the federal government the right to cut water to thousands of farmers in California’s Central Valley in order to protect the delta smelt, a 3″ baitfish. Cutting off the water didn’t save the smelt. New studies showed that cutting off 90% of the water had no effect on the smelt. It’s still endangered. Wrong remedy. The video above is from the Reason Foundation. It outlines the problems of the valley.
What the ruling did was to turn the west side of the valley into a wasteland. California’s Central Valley has long been one of the great breadbaskets of the world. The fields and groves went fallow, family farms went under, and food prices went up. The farmers went through two years of supply cuts before science and better information appeared. Many of the farms have been bought up by agribusiness — which the Green Lobby hates. Ironic.
California is in desperate shape. Businesses and people are moving out of the Golden State in droves. The state is a poster child for the left’s big government welfare state. Some 2.3 million Californians are without jobs. The unemployment rate in the state is 12.5, over 16% in the Central Valley. The state has lost 34% of its industrial base. The state’s budget gap for 2009-2010 was $45.5 billion, 53% of state total spending. The unfunded pension liabilities for California’s state and public employees may be as high as $500 billion.
California is rapidly approaching bankruptcy, and may be beyond repair. 80¢ of every government dollar goes to government employees’ pay and benefits. A typical San Francisco resident with one dependent pays $953 for health care, while the city employee pays less than $10.
Victor Davis Hanson, a 5th generation Californian who grew up on a farm near Fresno where he still lives and farms and writes, describes the problems in California’s agricultural heartland:
“[I see] former small farms – the vineyards overgrown with weeds, or torn out with the ground lying fallow. … I don’t think I can remember another time when so many acres in the eastern part of the valley have gone out of production, even though farm prices have recently rebounded. Apparently it is simply not worth the gamble of investing $7,000 to $10,000 an acre in a new orchard or vineyard.On the western side of the Central Valley, the effects of arbitrary cutoffs in federal irrigation water have idled tens of thousands of acres of prime agricultural land, leaving thousands unemployed. … California coastal elites may worry about the oxygen content of water available to a three-inch smelt in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, but they seem to have no interest in the epidemic dumping of trash, furniture, and often toxic substances throughout California’s rural hinterland.”
“[The] government is run by a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public sector unions and legislative bums…When you inevitably crash and burn, don’t count on us to bail you out.”