Drought: Many point finger of blame at environmentalists

As California’s potent drought inspired soul searching from analysts worried the Golden State can’t grow without water, politicians and officials focused on a more immediate task: laying blame for the problem.

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Gov. Jerry Brown has tried to set a philosophical tone, cautioning that “we are embarked upon an experiment that no one has ever tried: 38 million people, with 32 million vehicles, living at the level of comfort that we all strive to attain. This will require adjustment. This will require learning.” But environmentalists have urged him to add water restrictions to California’s big farmers.

At the same time, environmentalism itself has become caught in the political crossfire.

Assigning blame

In recent radio remarks to The Blaze, likely GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina castigated “liberal environmentalists” for creating a statewide “tragedy.”

“[D]espite the fact that California has suffered from droughts for millennia, liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled,” she said. “There is a man-made lack of water in California — and Washington manages the water for the farmers.”

california drought, Cagle, Feb. 21, 2014Fiorina has not been alone in teeing up environmentalists for criticism over the Golden State’s dire straits. As The Hill noted, “Republicans in California and in Congress have proposed multiple times to beef up the state’s water storage with more dams and reservoirs. Environmentalists have pushed back and questioned the impact that the projects would have on the state’s water needs.”

In a related spat, Republicans at the federal level blamed environmental interests for President Obama’s threatened veto of a bill that would pump water from California’s Delta region into Southern California. The move drew howls from California’s Republican delegation.

When the president ordered Northern California water withheld to protect the tiny Delta smelt, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called the act a “culmination of failed federal and state policies that have exacerbated the current drought into a man-made water crisis. Sacramento and Washington have chosen to put the well-being of fish above the well-being of people by refusing to capture millions of acre-feet of water during wet years for use during dry years.”

Recently, faced with questioning on the drought, White House press secretary Josh Earnest rebuffed the matter. According to Politico, Earnest “said the Obama administration does not have any policy changes to share, and he listed steps that President Barack Obama has taken to offer relief to the state, such as sending $60 million to California food banks and $15 million for farmers and ranchers.”

“We’re going to continue to be in touch with California,” he concluded.

Fracking fight

At the same time federal water allocation has become a bone of political contention, the role of fracking in water consumption has also come under scrutiny. In furtherance of a law passed last year that requires oil and gas companies to disclose how much water they use, state officials told Reuters that last year that the figure hit some 70 million gallons’ worth.

But rather than bowing to objections from within his own party, Gov. Jerry Brown declined to crack down on the practice.

“Despite pressure from environmentalists, Brown has not called for a halt to fracking in the state, saying it is not a major drain on water supplies. ‘Hydraulic fracturing uses a relatively small amount of water – the equivalent of 514 households annually’ per well, said Steven Bohlen, the state oil and gas supervisor. About 100,000 gallons of water is used on average per well, he said.”

For environmentalists, who have been at odds with fracking for years, both in California and across the country, the drought’s intensity simply supplied yet another reason that the practice should end.


  1. Legal American says

    Just think – if we were to rid our state of the illegals that are illegally squatting here and using up all the resources, we’d probably have more than enough water for the legal citizens and the farms!

    • INVADING ARMY OF CRIMINALS. We need to start calling them what they are.. AN INVADING ARMY OF CRIMINALS stealing our resources, jobs, housing, WATER.. Yep, we Conservatives need to start calling them what they really are.

  2. Frank95054 says

    The Democratic party betrays American citizens with its “promotion” of illegal immigrants who no doubt will cast votes for their party. Obama’s decision to deny water to the Central Valley to keep a 3″ Delta Smelt viable is ridiculous. Another betrayal of American Citizens for his trumped up charge of climate change. When will Californian’s wake up to the reality of the evils of Socialism and vote out their Democrats.

  3. Could it be possible that the fault lies at the feet of someone who told us:
    “If we don’t build it, they won’t come”?

  4. John Stammreich says

    I’d made this deal – state moratorium on fracking for every year we redirect all of the water spilling into the San Francisco Bay (for the smelt, salmon and steelhead) back down to the Central Valley farmers and Southern California homes. See what Brown, Pelosi and the CA Dems think of that!

  5. Marine101 says

    Desalinization plants? Piping in water from US flood areas? Hello. Is anyone out there with a brain? I am so damn tired of liberals, voted in by blacks and illegals, electing these morons bent on our destruction. Hey, you may exist on welfare and food stamps and sleep in the getto but no water will affect you too. Wake up damnit.

  6. Last year the chant from the Democrats was to “blow up” the Hetch-Hetchy reservoir. What a brilliant idea. San Francisco would be high and dry right now if the environmentalists had their way. What additional ideas can they promote?

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