Hugh Hewitt: Forget jobs summit: Turn on California’s water
By: HUGH HEWITT
November 16, 2009
For Fresno and California’s entire Central Valley, it should be the best of times.
With the dollar weak and the world hungry, the exceptionally fertile fields along the Golden State highway should be producing record yields of grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
Instead framers are struggling to keep even a third of their potential acreage in use. Mile after mile of parched land greets the approach to the city of 500,000. And angry signs along the roadside condemn the federal government that has cut off the valley's water.
The delta smelt, a small fish that makes its home in the vast Sacramento Delta, has been declared endangered. Since late last year the water lifeline from the north to the south has been reduced to a trickle.
The pumps that power the water to the farms have been stilled for months at a time so as to avoid sucking in smelt. The smelt’s numbers have been reduced by many causes, but the one the federal government has decided to target is the pumps.
When Washington, D.C., ordered the water shut off, jobs went down the drain. Tens of thousands of farm jobs have been lost, and unemployment in some farming towns has hit 40 percent.