BAKERSFIELD, CA – U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina today discussed the impact of the state’s severe water crisis on Bakersfield’s economy and called on Senator Barbara Boxer to take immediate action to bring relief to the farming community at Kern Machinery, a local, family-owned farm equipment business in Bakersfield.
“Bringing relief to the almost 40,000 California farmers and farm workers who are out of work and also to the many other family-owned, agriculture businesses in the Central Valley due to the water crisis is one of my highest priorities. There is action that can be taken today by the U.S. Senate to get water flowing to the Valley and other parts of the state, but Barbara Boxer has refused to act. I find that outrageous, particularly since in the past she has been willing to take action to help other states facing similar emergencies,” said Fiorina.
A significant amount of water cannot be transferred through the State Water Project Central Valley farms because of a biological opinion issued by the federal government that invokes the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to protect a fish called the Delta Smelt. At the same time, the state is facing three years of drought conditions. As a result of these two significant factors, the State Water Project announced it will only provide a record-low 5 percent of its usual allocation of water to its contractors next year.
Congress, however, has the authority to suspend the ESA for a period of time to provide relief to the Valley agricultural community during these difficult economic times. A measure to do just this was voted down by Barbara Boxer earlier this year. However in 2003, Boxer voted to allow an exemption to the ESA for New Mexico when that state faced a similar situation.
“Over her last 18 years in the Senate Barbara Boxer has very clearly failed to act on behalf of the people of California and specifically on behalf of California’s farmers, farm workers and all of the businesses that support our state’s largest economic sector. It is time to bring common-sense back to Washington and that is why I am running to be California’s next U.S. Senator.”
Earlier this year Fiorina visited the Central Valley to learn first-hand about the impact of California’s water crisis on farmers and farm workers. Following that visit she called for immediate action at the federal level to get water supplies flowing to the region in an opinion-editorial in the Fresno Bee. Click here to read the opinion-editorial.
Below is some additional background information on Barbara Boxer’s failed record for California’s Central Valley.
In 2003, Barbara Boxer Voted To Allow New Mexico An Exemption From The Endangered Species Act For Water Use. “Pending federal legislation to exempt water imported into New Mexico from being used to satisfy the federal Endangered Species Act would set a bad precedent, environmentalists in Washington, D.C., and New Mexico say. Both the U.S. Senate and House have passed language that would exempt water from the federal San Juan-Chama diversion project from the Endangered Species Act.” (Ben Neary, “Species Exemption ‘Bad Precedent,’” Santa Fe New Mexican, 10/1/03)
On September 16, 2003, Barbara Boxer Voted For An Appropriations Bill That Allowed New Mexico An Exemption From The Endangered Species Act. (H.R. 2754, Recorded Vote #350, 9/16/03)
The CRS Bill Summary Clearly Outlined The ESA Exemption. “(Sec. 205) Prohibits the Secretary of the Interior from obligating funds or using discretion to reduce or reallocate water to be delivered pursuant to San Juan-Chama Project contracts, including execution of said contracts facilitated by the Middle Rio Grande Project, to meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, unless such water is acquired or otherwise made available from a willing seller or lessor and the use is in compliance with the laws of the State of New Mexico, including, but not limited to, permitting requirements.” (CRS Bill Summary, 9/16/03)
A WATER PROBLEM FOR BOXER
Boxer Forced To Play Catch Up On Water And “Must Now Show She Feels The Valley’s Pain And Is Doing Something About It.” “Incumbents, too, face a political challenge. Boxer, for one, is a longtime environmental champion who must now show she feels the Valley’s pain and is doing something about it.” (McClatchy, 12/4/09)
Fiorina Pounced After The Announcement Of A 5 Percent Water Allocation From State Officials. “Fiorina named Nunes as one of her four top water advisers. Their aggressive rhetoric is certainly aligned. When state irrigation officials announced Tuesday a 5 percent water allocation, both Fiorina and Nunes blamed Boxer for, as Fiorina put it, placing ‘a small fish ahead of the livelihood of California’s farmers and farm workers.’ Boxer responded that she is ‘deeply concerned about the initial water allocations, which show the seriousness of this water crisis,’ and she stressed her support for projects that would help deliver more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.” (McClatchy, 12/4/09)
Boxer’s Fellow California Democrats Also Slammed The 5 Percent Allocation. “The Valley’s conventional wisdom is generally harshly put, as when Cardoza called the 5 percent allocation ‘an abomination,’ Costa called it ‘unacceptable’ and both suggested environmental rules should be loosened. ‘The state’s water shortages are being exacerbated by the regulatory drought,’ Cardoza declared.” (McClatchy, 12/4/09)
Boxer’s Political Answer: “It’s Very Important That These [Environmental] Laws Be Administered Fairly To Make Sure They Work Effectively.” “‘Republicans and Democrats alike have enacted environmental laws to protect our air, our water and our environmental legacy,’ Boxer said. ‘It’s very important that these laws be administered fairly to make sure they work effectively.’” (McClatchy, 12/4/09)
CENTRAL VALLEY NOT BOXER COUNTRY
Boxer Has Traditionally Struggled With Central Valley Voters And Water Presents Another Political Problem. “Now chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Boxer thinks her long-standing support for improving California’s water infrastructure has been frequently underestimated. This may be one reason why the former Marin County resident has traditionally struggled in the Valley. Running against former Fresno-area legislator Bill Jones in 2004, Boxer won Merced, Sacramento and San Joaquin counties but lost Fresno, Kings, Madera, Stanislaus and Tulare counties.” (McClatchy, 12/4/09)
Boxer Has Received 10 Times More In Campaign Contributions From Residents Of Beverly Hills Than From Residents Of Modesto. “In a more recent sign of where her political strength resides, Boxer has received 10 times more in campaign contributions from residents of Beverly Hills than from residents of Modesto, a compilation from CQ Moneyline shows.” (McClatchy, 12/4/09)