Putting Fish Before People
House floor remarks delivered by Congressman McClintock
California is suffering one of the worst droughts in its history.
More than a half-million acres of the most fertile farmland in the nation have been devastated. Some Central Valley farmers have been notified that they will receive ZERO water allocations this year from the federal system. The owners of long-held water rights are being cut off.
In some communities, "water police" go from door to door to enforce water restrictions. Homeowners are forbidden to water their lawns except under the most rigid constraints. Sacramento offers an "app" so people can turn in neighbors to the water authorities.
And yet, knowing full well we are facing a devastating drought and that our dwindling water supply will be desperately needed by our people this summer, over the past several weeks the Bureau of Reclamation has released more than 70,000 acre feet of water from dams on the American and Stanislaus rivers to meet environmental demands that place fish above people.
That is enough water to meet the ANNUAL needs of a city of half a million people - all sacrificed in order to flush salmon smolts to the ocean (where they tend to swim anyway) and to keep the river at just the right temperature for the comfort of the fish.
The releases of this water are so enormous they are called "pulse flows." Citizens are warned to exercise extreme caution on rivers undergoing pulse flows - so swift is the water current they produce as that water rushes toward the ocean.
Four months ago, Folsom Lake on the American River was almost empty. Yet on April 21st, the Bureau of Reclamation more than tripled water releases from Folsom and Nimbus dams from 500 cubic feet per second to more than 1,500 cubic feet per second for three days - about 7,000 acre feet of water.
On April 14th, a 16-day pulse flow drained nearly 63,000 acre feet of water from New Melones and Goodwin Dams on the Stanislaus.
The irony is that if we hadn't built these dams, these rivers would be nearly dry in this drought and there wouldn't be any fish.
We cannot demand that our people scrimp and save and stretch and ration every drop of water in their parched homes while at the same time, this government treats our remaining water supply so recklessly, so irresponsibly and so wastefully.
This conduct utterly destroys the credibility of government demands for stringent conservation and sacrifice by our people, and it thoroughly undermines its moral authority to make these demands.
Inflexible laws administered by ideologically driven officials have taken this wastage of water to ridiculous extremes, and it cries out for fundamental reform.
The House twice has passed such a reform bill, most recently as HR 3964, but the Senate refuses to act on it or to pass its own alternative.
Nevertheless, the administration has the authority to stop these releases through provisions in the Endangered Species Act, but it has failed to do so.
Mr. Speaker, we use the word "outrage" too often on this floor, but in this case, it is an understatement.
If a homeowner is caught with a one gallon puddle on his lawn on the wrong day, he can be severely fined. But the government thinks nothing of flushing 23 billion gallons of desperately needed water this past month for the comfort and convenience of the fish.
How much longer will the people tolerate this kind of mismanagement from their government? How much longer will we allow these policies to threaten the health, safety and prosperity of the human population throughout these drought-afflicted lands?
California's chronic water shortages won't be addressed without additional storage. There are plenty of suitable and affordable sites, but current environmental laws have delayed them indefinitely and made them cost-prohibitive.
Until those laws are changed and new dam construction can begin, our state and federal governments have a responsibility to manage our dwindling water supply as carefully as we ask our citizens to do.
The wildly frivolous and extravagant water releases from our dams last month make a mockery of the extraordinary sacrifices that our citizens are making to stretch supplies in this crisis.
Perhaps, at least, they will serve to educate the public on just how unreasonable are these environmental laws -- and the policy makers responsible for them.
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesRocklin Crime Report Digest Update (7-6-15)Rocklin, CA - Weekly crime report summary and digest update in Rocklin, CA.
Roseville Gas Prices: Find the Best DealsRoseville, CA - Finding the best deals on gas in Roseville is always one click away.
Free Spay and Neuter for all Placer County CatsRoseville, CA -With the arrival of hot summer weather, an increasing number of homeless kittens are arriving at area animal shelters
2016 Acura MDX retains luxury appeal2016 Acura MDX: Now in its seventh year of production by Honda's luxury division, the Acura MDX is one of many midsize luxury crossover sport utility vehicles
50 Days of the Grateful Dead: Estimated Prophet / Terrapin StationTonight in Chicago, the final show of Fare Thee Well, a celebration of 50 years of Grateful Dead's music takes place at Soldier Field
Smart Choice: Don't Drink and Drive Californians love to celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, food, and fireworks. All too often these celebrations and festivities turn tragic when someone decides
Quick Tips on Beating the HeatPlacer County public health officials are urging residents to take common-sense precautions so they and their families stay safe during this week's ongoing heat wave
Pet Safety Tips for 4th of JulyRoseville, CA - Fourth of July celebrations may be fun for you, but the pop, crackle and boom of fireworks can be terrifying for your pets.
West Nile Virus Concerns Heading into the 4th of JulyThe Placer Mosquito and Vector Control District reported today that five mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus this week
Folsom Opens Water Play in ParksThe City of Folsom announced that it will open water play features at three Folsom parks in time for the upcoming hot holiday weekend.
Free Hazardous Waste Drop-Off July 11thPlacer County, CA - Looking for a free and convenient way to dispose of hazardous wastes that are collecting around your house?
50 Days of the Grateful Dead: Throwing StonesThe Grateful Dead roll through a 10-minute version of Throwing Stones from Hampton, VA in October of 1989.
NEWS: In Case You Missed It