NOT SATISFIED WITH BUREAU OF RECLAMATION
Letter to the editor by Tom McClintock
Congressman, Fourth Congressional District
(Added to this website on 3/19/10.)
Main Menu(Editor's note: The following letter is in response to the Subcommittee on Water and Power oversight hearing on the FY 2011 Administration Budget Request for the Bureau of Reclamation held in Congress last week.)
Editor - I'd like to express my concern from the outset that the Bureau of Reclamation is quickly becoming the Bureau of Water Shortage and Dam Destruction. The budget before us today is symbolic of that transformation.
The Bureau of Reclamation was established to "make the desert bloom." Today, it provides water to 31 million consumers, irrigates 10 million acres of farmland and provides enough clean, cheap and abundant hydroelectricity to power 3.5 million homes. It would take roughly 67 million barrels of heating oil or 21 million tons of coal to produce an equal amount of power.
Despite these successes, the agency's mission is being undermined by constant environmental litigation, a shift toward outrageously expensive urban water recycling programs and what can only be described as "analysis paralysis" when it comes to meeting the next generation's water needs through dams, aqueducts and reservoirs.
In my home state of California we have watched as the San Joaquin Valley has been transformed back into desert by the diversion of over 200 billion gallons of water for the enjoyment of the delta smelt.
The Northern Sierra snowpack is now 124 percent of normal, and yet the Administration has announced that it will guarantee only 5 percent of the west valley's water entitlement, with promises to increase it to all of 40 percent - maybe - in the future.
Farmers of the Klamath Valley in California and Oregon are now threatened with another complete shut-off of water for the amusement of sucker fish.
While additional hydroelectric dams and reservoirs have been placed on a slow track to nowhere, the fast track has been reserved for dam destruction.
At a time when Californians pay the highest electricity prices in the continental United States, and officials can't guarantee enough electricity to keep our air conditioners running this summer, the administration is moving to fast-track the wilful destruction of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River that are producing enough electricity for more than 150,000 homes.
The agency has asked for $5 million to begin the process to remove the dams, but continues to drag its feet on studying new water storage or hydroelectric generation.
I fear that this agency is becoming a pawn of the environmental Left and its crusade to crush the economy of rural America through the Endangered Species Act.
To make matters worse, we are told that ESA reform is not on the table despite the economic devastation that it is producing thoughout rural America.
When we propose a new generation of fish hatcheries to assure abundant populations of salmon, for example, we're simply ignored. So we impose billions of dollars of new costs on our economy in the name of protecting a few hundred thousand salmon - when, for the cost of just $13 million we could produce 170 million salmon each year - which is the inflation-adjusted cost and production output of the single Mccaulay Fish Hatchery in Juneau.
This ideological fixation of the Left on creating and rationing shortages has to stop. We have it fully within our power to produce abundance in every field overseen by this subcommittee: abundant fish populations, cheap and abundant water; cheap, clean and abundant electricity; which in turn guarantees a thriving economy. That we fail to do so is a matter of choice and not of fate.
We need to put people back into the equation.
I hope that the testimony today will look beyond the same failed policy of managing shortages and instead lay out a bold vision of a new generation of hydroelectric dams, aqueducts, hatcheries and transmission lines to provide a brighter and more prosperous future for the next generation.
I have become accustomed to such hopes being dashed in this subcommittee, but as they say, hope springs eternal, and elections spring up every two years. These now chronic electricity and water shortages are not due to acts of God, but rather to acts of Government, and we have this consolation: that acts of government are always within our power to change.
4th Congressional District
Since Tom sent this letter to various newspapers, two congressmen (Democrats from California) have been offered a bribe of 25 percent of the water available for agriculture in California. Their San Joaquin Valley would be allowed this 25 percent while the rest of the water will be held to continue the dustbowl that was a great agricultural region. The bribe is being offered for the vote of these congressmen on the healthcare bill that is supposed to be passed in two days (this coming Sunday, March 21, 2010).
Al Capone couldn't do better than Rahm Emanuel, his puppet Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and the queen of the cesspool, Nancy Pelosi. It is almost impossible to describe the Satan-like attitude of these spawns of Hell who have slithered into our government through subterfuge and lies. May they soon experience the full force of the misery that they have caused others and the misery that they are attempting to cause others.
California was targeted long ago by the communists in America as the key to most of our agricultural production. The California dustbowl that they have created has and will affect the cost of food in United States. When the dams are demolished, it is a certainty that our children and grandchildren will feel the adverse effects strongly.