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Fresh & Local: Gov. Brown Tells Environmentalist to Shut Up

California Gov Jerry Brown (wikipedia)The last two weeks I have written about California’s water insanity, which stands as a shining example of what happens when big government manages a precious Carly Fiorina (Glenn Beck)(1)resource like water. If you have not heard, California is running out of water, and very recently, Governor Jerry Brown mandated a 25% cut in statewide water usage.

Two weeks ago, I recalled what former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina – who is a potential 2016 presidential candidate – recently said about California’s insane water management policies. Ms. Fiorina pointed out, “It is a man-made disaster. California is a classic case of liberals being willing to sacrifice other people’s lives and livelihoods at the altar of their ideology. It is a tragedy.” (You can read that column here.)

Last week, I wrote about the case law precedent that government – not you –owns the rain that falls on your property, and the EPA’s determination to usurp regulatory authority for all water everywhere. You can read that column here.

And last week – right on cue for this week’s column – Governor Brown made news when he told environmentalists in California to, “Shut up, because you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.” For the first time in my life, I agree with something Jerry Brown said.

What Governor Brown said got wide coverage. The issue that caused him to say it, though, got almost zero coverage. It is an interesting story, complete with considerable hypocrisy.

Rainfall in California for millennia has run in cycles. As a result of the cycles, California built a vast system of aqueducts, dams and reservoirs called the State Water Project (SWP) to catch rain and mountain snow runoff from wet years and store it for use in dry years. California is running out of water both because in the last five years they have flushed a trillion gallons of SWP water into the ocean, and because no significant capacity has been added to the SWP in the last 40 years.

In order to add SWP capacity, Governor Brown’s administration has released a proposal named the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that has been under development for the last eight years. At the heart of the $15 billion plan are two underground water tunnels to divert water from the Sacramento River around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, to millions of farmers and residents south of the Delta.

Environmentalists have predictably decried the plan as environmentally “unsustainable,” and have denounced the special interests “Big Ag” and “Big Oil” getting government subsidized water.

But there is one special interest that gets lots of government subsidized water that environmentalist never seem to complain about: Big Urban. Environmentalists have this nasty habit of always opposing projects that benefit others (always called special interests), but never seem to oppose projects that benefit themselves.

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park (wikipedia)So, where does Big Urban’s water come from? Let’s consider San Francisco, for example. The greater San Francisco Bay Area gets 80% of the water for the 2.6 million people who live there from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir on the Tuolumne River.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a bill that created Yosemite National Park. Everyone has heard of the Yosemite Valley, but the park has a second valley, named the Hetch Hetchy Valley, that was renowned for its natural beauty and often compared to the beauty of the Yosemite Valley. But you have probably never heard of the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park because thanks to the city of San Francisco, it is now under 300 feet of water.

Also in 1906, San Francisco suffered a devastating earthquake and fire, and they began looking for a new higher capacity water source. They rejected several other options, and settled on damming OSaughnessy Dam in Yousemite National Park (wikipedia)the Tuolumne River and flooding the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park because it had what San Francisco considered a perfect architecture for a reservoir with pristine water.

In 1908, Secretary of the Interior James R. Garfield (President Garfield’s son) granted San Francisco the rights to the development of the Tuolumne River.

Since the Hetch Hetchy Valley was in Yosemite National Park, an act of Congress was needed to authorize the dam project. In 1913, the U.S. Congress passed – and President Woodrow Wilson signed – the Raker Act, which permitted the flooding of the valley. Construction of the O’Shaughnessy Dam began in 1919 and was finished in 1923.

Today, the Hetch Hetchy Valley and the O’Shaughnessy Dam are the least-visited areas of Yosemite National Park.

In November, 2012, there was a local ballot measure in San Francisco calling for the first steps in the restoration of the Hetch Hetchy Valley. Proposition F would have allocated $8 million to require the city to prepare a two-phase plan to evaluate how to drain the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and identify replacement water and power sources. Prop F went down to a crushing defeat by 77% of voters. And you thought Californians were big environmentalists.

SWP water (State of California)(1)California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein used to be mayor of San Francisco. When she was mayor, she called any proposal to restore the Hetch Hetchy Valley and Yosemite National Park, “dumb, dumb, dumb.” The Fresno Bee asked her about her opposition to Prop F. “I’m not opposed to dam removal,” Feinstein said. “But not in this case.” Translation: “You can tear down any dam you want, but not the one that supplies my water.” It would seem that Big Urban is not quite so environmentally-minded when something affects them directly.

San Francisco Bay Area environmentalists are free to rail against the “special interests” and Governor Brown’s proposal because they know that their Hetch Hetchy water supply is safe, and will not be affected by anything they do. They are the “liberals … willing to sacrifice other people’s lives and livelihoods at the altar of their ideology” that Carly Fiorina was talking about.

Governor Brown, speaking about his BDCP plan, told the Los Angeles Times, “This is an imperative. This is not just some piece of rhetoric… this is a serious effort on the part of the federal authorities, state authorities.”

A part of me actually feels sorry for Governor Brown.

 

 

Bryant Osborn - Fresh and Local

Bryant Osborn – Fresh and Local

 

 

Bryant Osborn and his wife Terry own Corvallis Farms in Culpeper County. His column on fresh and locally grown food runs every Friday. He can be reached at bryant@corvallisfarms.com

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog.

Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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