For Immediate Release: Friday, March 31, 2017
Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, 209-479-2053, [email protected]
(Available for phone interview before and after rally.)
Restore the Delta to Join Rep. Nunes Protests in Fresno Today
Fresno, CA – Restore the Delta activists will join with concerned citizens today in a protest of Representative Devin Nunes at the Ag Lenders Society of California annual meeting, 5080 N Blackstone Ave, in Fresno. The demonstration will start at noon.
As chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Nunes has recently been at the center of a political firestorm in Washington, DC over his ability to objectively investigate a probe of Moscow's meddling in the 2016 campaign and the murky web of contacts between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta said, “Most Americans are just learning how easily mis-statements roll off Congressman Nunes' tongue. But this is nothing new to Californians. For years, Nunes has made mis-statements about the causes of California drought. He has pitted Fresno area farmers against commercial fishermen by failing to admit that Northern California's economy is predicated on a healthy San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. Nunes is a climate change denialist and he believes that his campaign contributors, big corporate ag, deserve all the available water in California at the expense of the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.”
The Hyperbolic Conspiracy Theorist of California Water
On Endangered Species Act enforcement for California’s endangered salmon and smelt during the Obama administration
"There is an understanding in the administration that this is the height of left-wing activism and hypocrisy. It’s a war on agriculture."
Fact: Farmers in California made record profits during the California drought (Source: CBS News).
On efforts to retire selenium tainted farmlands
“For decades, extreme environmentalists have pursued this goal in California with relentless determination. The method they have used to depopulate the targeted land — water deprivation — has been ruthless and effective.”
Fact: Retiring selenium tainted farmlands is better for the California economy and environment than building Delta tunnels, or continuing to over pump the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary (Source: ECONorthwest).
On legal rulings that protect endangered species
“Working in cooperation with sympathetic judges and friendly federal and state officials, environmental groups have gone to extreme lengths to deprive the San Joaquin Valley, the heart of much of the U.S. agricultural production, of much-needed water.”
“These opinions virtually ended operation of the Jones and Banks pumping plants — the two major pumping stations that move San Joaquin River Delta water — and resulted in massive diversions of water for environmental purposes.”
Fact: During the recent rainy season record amounts of water were pumped from the Delta (Sacramento Bee).
During the recent drought, export pumps at Tracy ran every single day. At times they were slowed down for salinity control to protect water supply for the Metropolitan Water District in Southern California, the 4 million residents of the Delta for their farms and drinking water supplies, and fisheries.
On California’s 2014 law to regulate sustainable groundwater use
“But these pumping restrictions, slated to take effect over the next decade, will reduce access to what has become the final water source for many Valley communities, which have increasingly turned to groundwater pumping as their surface water supplies were drastically cut.”
Fact: San Joaquin Valley farmers are collapsing their own aquifer from over pumping as they have over planted unsustainable crops, like almonds (Source: USGS).
On water used to keep the SF Bay-Delta healthy
“The radicals' solution, however, is always to dump even more water from the Delta into the ocean, even though this approach has failed time and again.”
Fact: Fresh water flows are needed to protect the health of the Delta, its people, fisheries, and the San Francisco Bay (Source: The Bay Institute).
On wildlife agencies counting endangered fish
“Government agencies that catch smelt as part of scientific population measurements actually kill more of the fish than are destroyed in the supposedly killer water pumps.”
Fact: Water exporters in the San Joaquin Valley were to help pay for proper fish screens at the Delta pumps, but the pumps remain unscreened (Source: Center for Biological Diversity).
Millions of fish have been killed over the years due to excessive exports at the pumps.
On water taken by agriculture that has left the San Joaquin River dry
“The salmon, which have not been in the river for more than half a century, have proved so incapable of sustaining themselves that agents have resorted to plucking them out of the water and trucking them wherever they are supposed to go.”
Fact: The San Joaquin River continues to be one of America’s most endangered rivers due to excessive water diversions and agricultural discharge (Source: Fresno Bee).
In order for a river to be life-giving, it needs at least half of its flows.
On Big Ag’s over pumping of groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley
“But the radicals have perversely cited the groundwater depletion they themselves engineered to justify regulating the groundwater supply….many farmers will not be able to keep growing food if they continue to receive zero water allocations and are restricted from tapping enough ground water.”
Fact: Groundwater basins in Los Angeles have been adjudicated (Source: Fresno Bee).
San Joaquin Valley farmers continued to over pump and resist monitoring.
On what will happen if Big Ag doesn’t get all the water they demand
“Failure to act, and it's over. You will witness the collapse of modern civilization in the San Joaquin Valley."
Fact: San Joaquin Valley environmental justice groups are looking for sustainable economic development instead of more agricultural jobs (Source: Central California Environmental Justice Network).
On cities and counties complying with drought restrictions
“Suffering from a strange kind of Stockholm Syndrome, many of these groups and agencies hope that if they meekly accept their fate, their overlords will magnanimously bestow a few drops of water on them.”
Fact: The drought had little impact on California’s overall economy (Source: KPCC).
Impacts were felt in agriculture. But wildlife sustained some of the worst impacts.
On the supposed conspiracy against agriculture
“Sadly, the end is near for communities whose land will be forced out of production. One hopes the affected families will eventually find a more welcome home in some other state where those who wield power appreciate folks who grow our food instead of demonize them.”
Fact: Delta farms, California’s oldest farms, encompass the largest strip of prime farmland in California and are dependent on Delta flow and good water quality (Source: Restore the Delta).