Look at the typical family’s shopping list, and you’ll find that many of those items used to be grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley, but not anymore. Why? Because of the Silver Minnow, a 2-inch smelt that has been on the Endangered Species List since 2004. The pumps that supplied water to these farms to compensate for any lack of rain have been shut off. No new crops have been planted; established fruit and nut trees are dying. Families are losing their businesses, and over 80,000 people in the city of Mendota alone are without jobs–an unemployment rate of 41%.

It is contended that the pumping system, which does not have a screen to keep the fish from being sucked into the canal system, accounts for only 5 to 15 percent of the fishes’ population decline. Yet, farmers are 100 percent affected by the the federal court’s finding in favor of the Natural Resources Defense Council and other so-called environmental organizations which claim the pumps are threatening the endangered species.

There is no doubt that the fish in endangered, just as there is no doubt that the entire San Joaquin Valley and the counties that lie within are endangered as well. With over $2 billion in gross agriculture production in 2007 alone, taking away that revenue from a state on the brink of bankruptcy makes absolutely no sense. Not only is justice blind, but it is also ignorant of the suffering of its citizens. As we look to confirm a justice to the Supreme Court based on her empathy, we have a President, a Senate, a House of Representatives, and local government showing absolutely NO empathy to our farmers. To them, this smelt is more important. Our priorities are backwards, and we are setting ourselves up to be importing foreign grown produce into this country, which jeopardizes our safety and security.

We import a lot of produce from Chile. Chile is well-known for the high level of pesticides in its apples and grapes, fruits which just happen to be on the “Top 10” list of the produce grown in this valley, a valley that is the seventh top producer in the entire state of California. Despite that, we will be importing more produce and giving that pesticide-laden fruit and vegetables to our children to consume. Does that make sense? It wasn’t too long ago that products from China were killing our pets, exposing our children to lead paint, and potentially killing us via the toothpaste they produced. Which country’s exports will be the next to harm us?

This smelt is apparently more important that we humans. When will Man make the endangered species list? Since when did a smelt top the food chain? Why is the Governor of California ignoring his constituents? Where are Senators Boxer and Feinstein? If the pumps do get turned back on, how long until we start this all over again? But more importantly, since when did the EPA and its ”list” become judge, jury and executioner?

Please join me and Congressman Devin Nunes in preventing federal authorities from depriving Californians access to essential water supplies, and restore sanity to our protection of the environment.

Editor’s Note: In a June 29, 2009, article on its web site, Fresno’s KMPH quoted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as saying that these environmental restrictions were to expire on July 1, 2009, and that the pumps would be turned on again. Given the incredible impact such restrictions had on California’s economy, we have opted to publish this post, since it highlights the often destrimental federal encroachments on the rights of that states.

Susanne: California, The New Dust Bowl

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