The natural drought has been exacerbated by a man-made drought: draconian application of the Endangered Species Act that restricts the availability of water for irrigation. Imposed to protect various species of fish, the water restrictions have led to fallowed farmland, unsustainable reliance on groundwater, which can cause land subsidence and environmental damage, and rampant joblessness in California’s Central Valley.
A glimmer of hope emerged this week when the U.S. District Court released a ruling finding serious flaws in one of the federal biological opinions that restricted water deliveries. The ruling could lead to increased water supplies for struggling farmers and ranchers in the Central Valley.
This is an important victory, but we must not to lose sight of the bigger picture, which is that the root of the problem lies in federal interference with state resources.
While I’m glad that the court’s latest ruling could lead to more water for California’s struggling farmers, I cannot forget that it was this same court that two years ago forced the federal government to restrict pumping under the Endangered Species Act.
Back then, the court sided with liberal environmental special interests and interpreted the Endangered Species Act in a way that forced the federal government to rewrite its biological opinions to be more restrictive. Nor can I forget that as recently as April, the same court rejected an emergency request by famers to lift pumping restrictions.
Now we’re left waiting and wondering what the next ruling will be. To read the full story click here.