By Devin Nunes
In recent weeks, I have suggested that registered Democrats of the San Joaquin Valley change their party affiliation. My intent isn't a plea to grow Republican registration and it is not a partisan attack. It is simply an observation necessary to inform Valley residents -- you and your family are under siege and the Democratic Party is leading the attack.
Don't get me wrong, Democrats have, in the past, contributed to the greatness of our state, as well as the San Joaquin Valley's rich agricultural heritage. For example, President John F. Kennedy and other Democrats from his generation helped build significant portions of California's massive water infrastructure on which the world's most diverse and productive farming region depends.
However, these aren't the Democrats who control the party today. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her radical liberal Democrats have taken their place. Many of these liberals have been in Congress for the past 30 years and have ushered in far reaching environmental laws -- some of which were crammed into must-pass legislation in the dead of the night. These laws have whittled away our ability to deliver water to families in the San Joaquin Valley. Just last week, the Obama Administration released a new biological opinion that will take as much as 500,000 acre feet of water from our dry communities. This new diversion of precious water for questionable environmental purposes comes on top of losses we have seen as a result of the Delta smelt and the San Joaquin River Settlement.
It has become increasingly clear that radical greenies now control the agenda in Washington. Indeed, numerous news accounts have detailed the interwoven connection between environmental radicals and the Democratic Party. This relationship results in aggressive campaigns to unseat Republicans and install liberal Democrats who are willing to do their dirty work.
Republicans have tried to make changes that would allow California's water system to accommodate both human and environmental needs. But, any attempt to take a balanced approach is met with stiff resistance. In fact, after his effort to reform the Endangered Species Act, former Republican Congressman Richard Pombo, found himself buried in negative advertising by environmental groups -- to the tune of millions. In the end, Pombo was ousted by the environmental movement in favor of a liberal Democrat from the Bay Area. This new liberal radical joined his friends in Congress whom have spent their entire career systematically destroying our economy in the San Joaquin Valley.
Many lawmakers try to have it both ways. Dancing the Potomac two-step, they insist they support farmers and rural communities while at the same time doing nothing to stop the onslaught against us. The ability of such lawmakers to have it both ways; to pay lip service to our crisis while marching to the tune of environmental radicals, is the core of our problem.
This brings me to our present crisis: the man-made drought.
Time and again, I have told my colleagues in Congress that we are experiencing a man-made drought and not simply an act of God. In point of fact, cyclical low rainfall is a characteristic of life in the San Joaquin Valley and our region has survived much worse droughts with far less economic impact. The difference in this situation is that, through legal and legislative action, our water has systematically been diverted away from families in the Valley and subsequently dumped into the ocean.
Residents of the San Joaquin Valley need to hold their leaders accountable. While there have been many meetings, public hearings, and rallies, they are meaningless if our elected leaders are permitted to make promises to us in front of the camera, then do nothing behind their office door.
Sound bites and slogans should not be substituted for action. I have spelled out three simple initiatives to elected leaders in Washington and Sacramento -- initiatives which would bring water to our region.
l The 'San Joaquin River Settlement' must be replaced with a reasonable restoration plan which permits the construction of Temperance Flat. This would provide more water for communities on the Eastside of the Valley;
l The 'Endangered Species Act' must be temporarily waived to ensure water deliveries from the delta arrive to the Valley's Westside communities immediately;
l The federal and state government should approve the construction of a canal which bypasses the Delta. This peripheral canal will be paid for by those who use it.
Now is the time to tell your elected leaders to replace talk with action. Because water, not words, will feed our families.
Congressman Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, represent the 21st district in California including Kingsburg.