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Local News - A Passionate Plea from the Valley for More Water

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 26, 2010 -

KFSN: A Passionate Plea from the Valley for More Water

Farmers filled a town hall meeting at city hall Monday to tell congressional leaders both they and the Central Valley need water in order to survive...

"Gentlemen, let me tell you, this is a serious problem. This is a catastrophe. This is our Katrina, this is our Haiti because we got people out of work," Fresno County Supervisor Phil Larson told the panel. The pleas were all for more water because pumping restrictions are in place to protect the endangered Delta Smelt.

KMPH: Congressional Leaders Listen To Valley Water Plight

A standing–room only crowd filled the chambers of Fresno City Hall Monday, eager to give Washington lawmakers — their two cents over the Central Valley's water crisis.

"This is about the process. We want everyone to have an opportunity to speak to members of Congress, to take the message back to Washington," Nunes said...

While all lawmakers present at the meeting were Republican, they say this was not intended to be a partisan hearing.

A seat was set aside for Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, in hopes the Obama–Appointee would attend or send a representative.

He did neither.

Fresno Bee: Valley Urged to Fight for Water at Congressional Forum

More than 200 people attended the meeting at Fresno's City Hall chambers. The event was chaired by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks, the ranking Republican of the House Natural Resources [Water and Power] Subcommittee. McClintock was joined by Reps. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican.

Many at Monday's meeting called for changes to the federal Endangered Species Act -- a series of regulations that agricultural advocates say has reduced water deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to Valley farmers. The delta's massive pumps are shut down during periods when the fish species are threatened.

Although previous attempts to amend the ESA in the delta have failed, McClintock urged the public to continue the fight.

"It is a question of political will," McClintock said. "Congress can act, when it has the political will."

KMPH: Fresno Water Forum is Standing Room Only

Westside farmer Bob Diedrich has spent his life growing tomatoes, cotton and beans in the Valley.

But out of his 1,000 acres, he's now farming 300, which forced him to make a painful decision.

"I hate to even say it, but I sold my ranch this year," Diedrich said.

Diedrich's plight isn't unique to him.

But he does feel it's falling on deaf ears.

"It's frustrating because we're not getting anywhere and nobody's listening," Diedrich said.

"To this administration, it's just business as usual, providing lip service to the problems of this Valley, giving hope, but providing no change," Congressman Tom McClintock said.

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Contact: Jill Strait (202) 226-2311

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