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Ed Driscoll

The Mini-Holodomor, Sacramento-Style

January 29th, 2014 - 4:30 pm

“For the sake of the smelt, California farmland lies fallow,”  Charles C. W. Cooke writes in NRO:

Suddenly, as if crossing a line of demarcation — I am reminded of Checkpoint Charlie, the gate that linked West and East Berlin — we leave healthy fields bursting with life, and we arrive at . . . well, we arrive at nothing: just dust, quiet, and a few pieces of unused farming equipment. It’s quite the shift: a real-life Before and After comparison. And sadly, most of the farm looks like this. Some 9,000 of Harris’s 15,000 acres are fallow — devoid of water and therefore of crops and of workers and of attention. “Uncertainty is the new normal,” CEO John Harris sighs from the driver’s seat, his smile disappearing. “This is no way to run anything.”Harris tools the car around untouched pastures, and I am told at length about the Water Troubles. “Without water, we can’t work,” Bourdeau laments from the backseat. “It’s not healthy. We’ll do what we can. We’ll grow what we can grow where we can grow it. But without knowing how much water we’re going to get, it’s so difficult to plan!” A pistachio tree, for example, takes five to seven years to grow. “How can we plant one now if we can’t guarantee we can water it in a couple of years?” Bourdeau asks.

That the drought is making planning all but impossible is a refrain I hear all across the region — both from the established farmers who are desperate to draw this year’s crop map and from the wannabe planters who cannot secure the loans they need to start up on their own. One aspiring rancher tells me that he is thinking of selling his land and moving out. “I wouldn’t lend me the money I need to plant,” he gripes, honestly. “I’m stuck, I guess. I can’t plant. But who will buy my land?”

You have almost certainly never heard of the Delta smelt and, in all honesty, nor should you have. As fish go, it is undistinguished. Inedible, short-lived, and growing to a maximum length of just under three inches, smelt are of interest to nobody much — except, that is, to the implacable foot soldiers of the modern environmental movement, some of whom have recently elevated the smelt’s well-being above all else that has traditionally been considered to be of value. Human beings, the production of food, and the distribution of life-enabling water can all be damned, it seems. All hail the smelt, the most important animal in America.

Great work, Sacramento — take two Soviet Stars out of petty cash.

And Sacramento’s radical environmentalism sends a message far beyond the borders of San Joaquin Valley — as Kevin Williamson wrote in December, “No sane person builds a widget factory in the middle of a battlefield” — let alone a farm.

(Via SDA and the latest of Kate’s prayers to the “Sweet Saint of San Andreas.”)

Related: “California drought: 17 communities could run out of water within 60 to 120 days, state says.” No word yet if Sacramento views that as a bug or a feature.

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All Comments   (3)
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Utter insanity. We have this same situation here in southern Oregon, where, since the 70's, about 90 percent of our logging industry has been shut down to "save" the Spotted Owl. Logging is just about all we had, and we traded it for welfare and meth. Now they are discovering that the worthless owl isnt being killed off by man at all, but by competition from the Bard Owl. The government is now spending tax dollars to shotgun Bard owls, but no progress has been made to restore our logging rights. Utter insanity.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Personally, I think it is time to lay ALL the members of the Sierra Club, Earth First and every other bunch of fist-in-the-air-heads-up-their-a*ses fools shoulder to shoulder on the ground in a straight line and let Robbie Kneivel try to jump them with a D-10 caterpillar (just for starters), to be followed by the entire California State Legislature for the same treatment!
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
The have/have not divide in the nation's two most outwardly liberal states -- California and New York -- is interesting to contrast and compare, including the fact that the divide, based more and more upon the same income inequality lines Barak Obama plans to spend 2014 highlighting, goes completely uncommented on by the big media.

Move 60 miles inland from the California coast, other than a few isolated spots like Palm Springs and the better-connected enclaves of Sacramento, and you enter a world that not only has less money than the coast regions, but areas that voters and politicians in the coastal regions are determined to make poorer, whether it's the denial of water in the Central Valley or in New York, the denial of fracking permits for the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions of upstate.

New York concentrates its elites in a far tighter area than the Golden State does, but the results are the same (and I'm sure the fracking fight in California will get underway in earnest soon, since the Central Valley is also home to the main areas of the Monterey Shale, but whose mangling over the eons by the San Andreas Fault make production costs higher there than in other shale regions of the country. Once it becomes economically viable, the coastal left will take steps to make sure accessing it is banned, and will likely claim it's to save the same farmers they're currently putting out of business by denying them water allocations).
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
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