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The usual electoral mating call of the GOP runs to the tune of keeping the federal government off the back of state  government and letting The People find honest solutions to their problems. Apparently we shouldn't expect to take them seriously about that when some of their large contributors aren't getting their way.

Boehner backs GOP bill to send water from delta to farms

Amid the worst drought in California's recorded history, House Speaker John Boehner stood in a bare dirt field near Bakersfield to declare his support for taking more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and sending it to the parched farms of the Central Valley.
The bill would increase pumping from the delta to farms, as long there is water available, through 2015. It would also halt efforts to reconnect the San Joaquin River to San Francisco Bay and to restore salmon runs, which have been made possible by increased releases from the Friant Dam.
Water has never been far from the center of California politics. The state has already had the driest calender year on record and there is no rain in sight. This is supposed to be the rainy season. If it doesn't come by March it isn't going to come. The snow pack in the mountains that usually tops off the reservoirs in the Spring is pretty much non-existent. There is not going to be enough water to go around by a long shot. Restrictions are being imposed on everybody and all interest groups.

Agriculture is the major user of water. They never get as much as they want. California is home to the nation's greatest concentration of corporate agribiz. They take the position that uses of water to protect the environment and wild life are frivolous in the extreme. This is by no means the first time this political battle has been joined in congress.

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, who wrote the 1992 law that increased water flows from the delta to restore salmon and other fisheries, said the GOP was "pulling the pin on the grenade" of California's water wars, rekindling a battle similar to the one that raged five years ago that pitted Bay Area Democrats against Central Valley lawmakers of both parties.

That 2009 fight came amid a confluence of forces that left the valley with Depression-era unemployment: a two-year drought, mass home foreclosures from the 2008 financial crisis, and a court ruling that cut water to farms by a third to restore the delta smelt, an endangered fish.

The situation is a mess and it is clearly going to get worse.

Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:10 PM PST.

Also republished by California politics and Silicon Valley Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  with water (5+ / 0-)

    and California, it always gets worse -- I remember the 1980s when, in SB County, it was said that people were painting their lawns green. That never made sense to me because paint would make a mess, not just doing the paint job but afterwards when the rains finally came. That said, I think it's time to re-think de-sal plants again.

    We don't have a lawn, just drought-tolerants and pea gravel in places. And the chant, "if it's yellow, let it mellow -- if it's brown flush it down." And buckets in the shower, etc...

  •  Who needs fish anyway? (4+ / 0-)

    It sounds like Sen. Boehner and Gov. Brown are on the same page when it comes to protecting the Sacramento River Delta.

    Boehner wants to drain the Delta for the farmers and Brown isn't any better. Brown's plan will insure that southern California golf courses stay green while the fish suffer.

    My invisible imaginary friend is the "true" creator

    by Mr Robert on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:28:51 PM PST

    •  The fisheries are already (4+ / 0-)

      teetering on the brink of collapse.  

    •  Brown was governor when the last drought (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Calamity Jean

      in the 70s hit.

      Not to defend Brown on your point because I don't really know the inside baseball anymore, but it is different for the Governor of the state to pick sides in a situation where there are going to be winners and losers no matter what; than having Boehner come in carpetbagging and making promises to the people of the state that he probably can't even keep.  Not to mention the fact that Boehner probably doesn't have the slightest clue what droughts really mean to states and their citizens.

      If Boehner gave a shit about water or people, he'd be introducing legislation to protect the integrity of water by stepping up EPA supervision of chemical companies who are polluting the water that we do have.  West Virginia is upstream from his state, but he hasn't lifted a finger to prevent his state from having their water polluted.  

  •  I'm confused by your quote (0+ / 0-)

    Please help a former SF resident.  When you say

    and to restore salmon runs, which have been made possible by increased releases from the Friant Dam.
    are you saying that the Friant dam is releasing water so that there are salmon runs, or that there may be salmon runs if the Friant dam were to keep releasing water?  I'm just wondering if the runs are present now but in danger of stopping, or if they're something that are just possible for the future.

    I remember going out fishing for salmon once from Fisherman's wharf.  Our party boat caught only about 3-4 fish that day, for about 15 fishermen.  Very expensive and I caught nothing but nausea from the bouncing of the boat.

  •  Exactly my thought last night (3+ / 0-)

    when TV news showed Boehner blathering on about the supposed silliness of protecting Delta fish.

    The-Party-of-States-Rights-Sticks-Its-Nose-in-CA-Water-Problems
     Apparently not all states are created equal in GOP hypocrisyland.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:50:07 PM PST

  •  There's no water in northern california to send (7+ / 0-)

    to the central valley right now. There's very little snowpack, either.

    Lake Mendocino, in the North Coast region, January 2014. The bottom of these stairs should be at or under the water. The slope to the right is the base of the dam.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 02:09:07 PM PST

  •  bohner is hoping to parlay the water wars (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    S F Hippie, mbayrob, benamery21, grover

    into some electoral victories in the central valley. there are several relatively close seats in the central valley on both sides, and the GOP thinks that it can polarize this issue to their advantage. my hunch is that he's trying to nudge costa into voluntary retirement, in particular.

    •  Jerry Brown has suddenly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, happymisanthropy

      developed a great interest in shaking hands in the area.

      •  not really (0+ / 0-)

        brown has always been pretty big about stumping in the whole state, he's not a parochial bay area dem. he's desperately wrong on the delta tunnel issue (as wrong as he is right about the high speed rail, another huge issue for the valley), of course, but he's no stranger to the valley, personally or politically.

        when a part of the state is thrashed as bad as the valley by a natural disaster, only a political incompetent doesn't press the flesh and show people that he knows that they are hurting. a lot of farmers will go bankrupt this year, (contrary to popular assumption, it's not all agribiz out here) and a lot of farm workers will be out of work, because you cannot grow crops if it stops raining for years on end.

    •  Well, he can try. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, Odysseus, Calamity Jean

      Over 25% of Central Valley citizens experience food scarcity, and with the severe water shortage, workers are going to be laid off. The House is cutting food stamps and other public assistance. In other words, it's creating people who won't be inclined to vote GOP next time around.

      Most of the CA Republicans I know despise the Speaker. They simply don't understand why WA Republicans are obsessed with abortion, homophobia, etc when they perceive other far more significant problems that need to be resolved instead.

      So, Orangeman can stand in fallow fields and make all the speeches he wants. If he cries enough tears to irrigate those fields, then people might pay attention.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 05:03:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Never the less (0+ / 0-)

        the central valley is a perennial Republican stronghold.  

        •  It has been. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, Calamity Jean

          Things change.

          Where I live was held by a Republican for years. Now it's not.

          We can change things.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 07:41:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  not really (0+ / 0-)

          the central valley is an evenly divided swing region, that is trending towards lean democratic all the time (there will be a big political shift when younger latinos in the valley age into the electorate and start voting, over the next decade or so). the foothills and LA exurbs are where the CA GOP is centered.

          valley dems: john garamendi, doris matsui, ami bera, jerry mcnerney, jim costa

          valley GOP: doug lamalfa (largely foothill), jeff denham, david valadao, devin nunes, kevin mccarthy (also lots of foothills)

          by the end of the decade, my guess is that valadao and denham's seats will be held by dems, and nunes might not be safe. the electorate is really shifting against them, in terms of demographics.

  •  The Free Market for Water and Oxen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Calamity Jean

    The GOP talks a lot about the Free Market, but like much of what they say, it's all words.  If large corporate interests are there to rent the party for their own private profit, the GOP will happily shack up with them.  By the year, by the day, or by the hour.

    If the government uses public money to feed hungry children, it's Socialism. If they use that same money to supply cheap, heavily subsidized water for a few corporations, we're told it's In The Defense of The Free Market and Christianity.

    Just words.

    Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

    by mbayrob on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 02:59:40 PM PST

  •  How to use minimal water for a full bath (0+ / 0-)

    Get a large pot, like one for canning food, and fill it half to two-thirds full of water. Heat it up on your wood stove or campfire. This is for your bath so it doesn't have to be pure water, could be from a creek.

    Using a sauce pan or other container, pour a little over yourself, just enough to get all wet.

    Shampoo and soap all over.
    Then use the rest of the water to rinse all over.

    Ta-da!
    Sparkling clean, with less than five gallons of water!

  •  There is an obvious answer to this water problem. (0+ / 0-)

    Construct desalination plants on the Pacific coast and pump water from the ocean to the central valley for the purpose of irrigation.  With Climate Change causing the Sierra snow pack to be 86% below normal this year, the water situation in California isn't going to get any easier.  This would be a big win for farmers in the Central Valley to get the desalination plant idea going in order to provide a stable source of water into the future.

    Additionally, California could sell water from this process to neighboring states ... like Arizona.

    There is a solution awaiting if Governor Brown is willing to use Speaker Boehner's nonsense as a motivator on this issue. Win/Win for Californians, and Democrats.

    •  Do you have any idea (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Calamity Jean

      how much energy that would require? Desalination is only a possible option for very limited uses.  

      •  If desalination isn't the solution ... (0+ / 0-)

        then both the Delta and Agriculture in the Central Valley is doomed.  California needs to innovate on this.  We have enough 5-Star Universities available to work out the problem.

        The state will probably need to fire up a Nuclear Plant in the mean time, that would provide enough power for a high volume desalination plant.

        We got to the moon, we can figure this out.

        To Fight is To Win.

        by FogBelter on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 05:05:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Innovation will get you just so far. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          This is a problem that does not have an easy solution that will make everybody happy. It is one piece of the global climate problem. It is a can that cannot be kicked much further down the road.

          •  We are past the tipping point. (0+ / 0-)

            I believe 100% that Global Climate Change is real, and Man cannot reverse the mess he made.  It is far easier to break something than fix it, and as a species we have been working to destroy the climate for over 100 years.  The die is cast.

            And, if California wants to have water the most obvious avenue to that is desalination ... even if we have to hold our nose and use nuclear power to run the plants.  It would be foolhardy to believe the Sierra snow pack will be reliable source of water again when glaciers are in retreat globally now.

            Sorry to be a downer, but we really screwed up bad as a species with this one.

            To Fight is To Win.

            by FogBelter on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 05:27:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Buy water from Oregon or Washington State? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JeffW
              And, if California wants to have water the most obvious avenue to that is desalination
              Get it from the lower part of one of their rivers, just high enough that it doesn't get salty when the tide is high.  It would probably be clean enough to use for irrigation as it comes from the river.  Building the pipeline wouldn't be cheap, but it is likely cheaper than desalination.  

              "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

              by Calamity Jean on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 02:49:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, you got that right. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JeffW
              It would be foolhardy to believe the Sierra snow pack will be reliable source of water again when glaciers are in retreat globally now.

              Sorry to be a downer, but we really screwed up bad as a species with this one.

              "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

              by Calamity Jean on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 02:50:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

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