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FOX News: Outraged California Farmers Demand Obama Administration’s Help
"All you got to do is turn the pumps on"

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 12, 2009 -

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Valley that Hope Forgot
Sean Hannity, FOX News
August 11, 2009

Hannity: Update on a story we covered back in May. The Central Valley of California was once considered the bread basket of America. But now farms all over that region have been allowed to dry up. Now why? Because of a 2-inch minnow on the endangered species list. Now, environmentalists claim that the fish was getting caught in the water pumps that provided the farms with water. So to protect the tiny fish, the pumps turned off. Farmers were left high and dry and entire communities are now feeling the impact. Some towns in the area are facing unemployment rates up to 40 percent. Many residents are now forced to visit food banks. The people of that great area have had enough and they are speaking out tonight. Joining me live from California is Congressman Devin Nunes and comedian and activist Paul Rodriguez. I don’t know if we can get a shot, it looks like you have over a thousand people there is that right?

Rodriguez: Well over a thousand people. This is a testament of your message is getting to these people. They have been out here for hours. The only water this field has seen is our sweat. It's more than we have gotten from the government.

Hannity: Paul, we have had you on about this before. I want you to tell the entire story. It's almost unfathomable.

Rodriguez: People don't believe it.

Hannity: Tell everybody.

Rodriguez: The problem is the environmental laws are not flexible at all. The very judge that pushed this order to cut off the water said that there was no swivel room to make accommodations for human beings. This fish takes priority. All the water is being held back. We are left right with nothing. Right here where we are at, this used to be an almond orchard. We grew some of the sweetest almonds ever, now it's firewood. Do you want some? Nobody believes it. That’s how I got involved, my mother is from here.

Hannity: Farms are dried up. No water, no production. People are losing their jobs. How many people are out of work there?

Rodriguez: Well, you know, the system varies but a lot of people here aren't working. That's why we are here. We are here to show America, this is our own town hall meeting here, Sean. We are so wrap up in this issue we don't have time to worry about health care. Everything around us is dead. Our way of life is dying here. We tried to have the Administration come to see about us. We haven't heard. They send the Secretary of the Interior here. He gave us some nice lip service and said oh we are going to do this and do that. The end we didn't get no water. Our fields are drying out. Something has to be done.

Hannity: First, Paul, you were an Obama supporter?

Rodriguez: Yes, absolutely. Like everybody else, we wanted change. We didn't think it would be this kind of change. But you know, he kept his promise, we got change.

Hannity: Where are you now? I heard you want to call Fresno County an Obama country?

Rodriguez: We want to name -- we would like to name it after someone who is responsible for this. Look, we have sent a letter signed by every mayor in this whole area to President Obama telling them that we’ve tried to go through the chain of command. We saw the Secretary of Interior, we saw his assistant. We went to Sacramento; we went over there to Washington D.C. We went everywhere. Everybody is paying us lip service. At the end of the day our trees can't wait. Our trees are going to wait for a law that may be passing. Two gates, no gates, at the end of the gate, nobody is bringing us water.

Hannity: Congressman, how is this possible?

Nunes: It's unbelievable, Sean. We tried on the House floor this summer, about five or six different times and we only got handful of Democrat votes each time. We’ve tried to pass something. Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House, she is from California. We have over 10% unemployment in California. We are sitting with trees that are only 8 years old right now that are now sitting here dead, dried out. There’s a half a million acres of farmland. It's bigger than the size of Rhode Island that's now dry because of these fools.

Rodriguez: The loser here is the American people. Because live in the most fertile valley in this planet. Everything you put on the ground here grows. You are going to eventually by next spring you are going to get your vegetables from china. I understand they make great baby milk formula.

Nunes: Sean, let me add something on this. This is, you know, in China and India, and Brazil, they're building water infrastructure projects . In California, not only are we not building projects here, we are taking the projects we have and they are shut off and they are starving this valley of water.

Rodriguez: We would like to have the same consideration that they have for the plants they're building in Iraq. For crying out loud they are getting water projects. Here in this valley, look we have no other recourse. We want to thank you a lot, Sean. Nobody else has pointed their eye on this problem. To us there is a lot -- we understand that the President has serious problems with health care and all these things. To us this is our livelihood.

Nunes: All you got to do is turn the pumps on. [cheers]

Hannity: I don't know if anybody can hear me out there, you guys. I want to say this to the crowd. The people in this area need jobs. They need their farms. They need the water for their farms. And the federal government, where is Barack Obama, where is Nancy Pelosi, where is Harry Reid? Turn the water on and let the people of Central California eat. I can't believe I’m eating debating this, Paul.

Rodriguez: It's ridiculous. I have not lost faith yet. Maybe I’m a knuckle head. We have sent the letter. We're still hoping that Mr. Obama will see it in his busy schedule to come down here and visit us. We believe that – seeing is believing. If he sees the faces on these people. We are not just white or brown. We are everybody here. This is a microcosm of America here. We are farmers. We bring food to your table.

Hannity: Are you going to run for office?

Rodriguez: Who me? The only thing I’m going to run is from the cops. No, this area needs someone with an education. I'm not smart enough to be that. I just want water to my mom's farm and I’m back to telling jokes.

Nunes: I'm working on him. I'm trying to get him to run.

Rodriguez: You should run, Sean. You are the man.

Hannity: Listen. I mean this sincerely. I think this is really important. I hope the President is watching or somebody will bring this to his attention and somebody has got to turn the water back on. We have got to save these farmers. We have got to save these farms. We have got to do it for the people out there.

Rodriguez: Either that or put us on the endangered species list. [cheers]

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Contact: Emily Lawrimore or Jill Strait (202) 226-2311

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