A recent Fresno Bee Op-Ed by author Mark Arax recalls a Congressional field hearing at Fresno City Hall in 2014 about the drought. Two members of Families Protecting the Valley Board of Directors testified at the hearing so we are well aware of what happened there. One of them was Kole Upton who has commented where appropriate in the Op-Ed. His comments appear in bold print.
UPTON: Yes, we were in a drought. Mr. Arax makes it sound like it was a conspiracy by farmers. In fact, the Friant service area is a conjunctive use system and farmers have always used the underground aquifer when surface water was not available. 2014 was no different.
UPTON: Many of us attended the same Hearing. We do not remember that being the emphasis of Congressman Nunes’ comments. Rather, he was pointing out that farmers and their surface water supplies have been under attack since 1992 by environmental ideologues and their sympathizers in the State and Federal regulatory agencies. They have been very successful in taking away hundreds of thousands of acre feet of water from farmers. Unfortunately, much of this water has not resulted in any benefit to the environment.
UPTON: Not worthy of a comment.
UPTON: Interesting how folks who opine on San Joaquin Valley water issues apparently think it gives them some credibility by referring to their farming roots.
UPTON: The obvious inference here is that the Congressman’s constituents are not intelligent enough to see the truth so obvious to Mr. Arax.
UPTON: Just as Mr. Arax uses hyperbole to emphasize his point of view, perhaps Mr. Nunes is doing the same. Having discussed this water situation with many farmers, we think Mr. Nunes’ views are pretty close to the reality of the situation.
UPTON: Most of us are sick with D.C. and what’s been going on there for years. Obviously, Mr. Arax totally buys into the Democratic view on this issue. It is possible Mr. Nunes takes his responsibility seriously, and is trying to ferret out the truth.
UPTON: So, thousands of acres of fruits, nuts and vineyards have not been abandoned in the San Joaquin Valley? So, many disadvantaged communities have not run out of drinking water for their citizens? Mr. Arax conveniently ignores any facts that do not support his narrative.
UPTON: Mr. Arax compares Mr. Nunes to Joe McCarthy? He must have a weak argument if he resorts to name calling.
UPTON: Actually, we need both Feinstein and Nunes. Nothing will get through the Senate without Senator Feinstein. Compared to our other California Senator (Kamala Harris) and the head of the California State Water Resources Control Board (Felicia Marcus), Senator Feinstein is a ‘water baron’.
UPTON: We do feel sympathy for Mr. Arax and Mr. Gordon to have to live in the San Joaquin Valley surrounded by the ignorant and uninformed.