Farmers Agree with Carly Fiorina: Environmentalists Created California Drought (Video)
Former Hewlitt Packard CEO Carly Fiorina blamed radical environmentalists for the California drought.
California farming leaders agree with Fiorina.
300 billion gallons have been diverted away from farmers in order to protect the Delta smelt.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is blaming “overzealous liberal environmentalists” for the water shortages caused by California’s ongoing drought. In a radio interview earlier in the week with Glenn Beck, and in a Tuesday an op-ed in Time, Fiorina has made the case that the water rationing instituted by Governor Jerry Brown could have been avoided. The problem, Fiorina says, is that the state has allowed environmental activists to influence policy.
“Specifically, these policies have resulted in the diversion of more than 300 billion gallons of water away from farmers in the Central Valley and into the San Francisco Bay in order to protect the Delta smelt, an endangered fish that environmentalists have continued to champion at the expense of Californians. This water is simply being washed out to sea, instead of being channeled to the people who desperately need it,” Fiorina wrote in Time. “While they have watched this water wash out to sea, liberals have simultaneously prevented the construction of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades.”
Environmental groups staunchly disagree, saying weather patterns are to blame. “We simply don’t have rain or snow pack and are suffering the worst California drought since water agencies and weather trackers started keeping records,” Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club’s California chapter, told the Huffington Post.
Yet many California farm groups agree with Fiorina, tracing their woes to 1992 federal legislation meant to protect endangered species and landscapes that permanently reduced their water allocation. Since then, lawsuits have further eroded farmer water rights, they say, slowly turning off the tap in the name of environmental goals that may or may not be met.
“That’s why this is worse than the droughts of the 1970s and early 1990s,” said Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. This year, between Dec. 20 and Jan. 15, about 318,000 acre-feet that could have supplied his region was pumped out to protect endangered species. That water, had it been available, would have allowed for a bare-bones federal water allocation that would have kept alive trees that now will be bulldozed, he said.
“We’ve had a large rededication from ag and municipal use to the environment, and it’s been chewing away at us. It dramatically hurts the flexibility of California to deal with these circumstances.”