Trump Pledges to ‘Open up the Water’ to Solve Calif. Drought
Donald Trump pledged on Friday in Fresno, California, to put an end to the drought by “opening up the water.”
“If I win, we’re going to start opening up the water so you can have your farmers survive, so that your job market will get better,” the presumptive Republican nominee said. “We’re going to get it done and we’re going to get it done quick, don’t even think about it, that’s an easy one.”
The Hill reports:
Trump said he has met with farmers in the state confused about why officials don’t commit more water to agricultural purposes there. He said “the environmentalist don’t know why,” either, but posited that “we shove [water] out to the sea” in order to “protect a certain kind of 3-inch fish.”
California has been under drought conditions for nearly five years, and local officials have struggled to manage dwindling water reserves in the state, setting up conflict between environmentalists hoping to protect endangered species and farmers seeking more water for their land.
House Republicans have pushed legislation to address the problem, but Democrats have resisted those efforts, often citing endangered species protections.
The House passed a bill last year mandating the federal government push a higher volume of water through the Central Valley Project, a system of dams and reservoirs in the state designed to take water from California’s wetter areas to dryer ones.
The GOP attached a provision to an energy and water spending bill to move water from the San Joaquin River Delta toward more commercial and agricultural areas of the Central Valley. The bill failed on the floor this week amid a fight over LGBT rights.
State officials have attempted to weather the drought by pushing water conservation efforts.
Democrats and environmentalists contend California’s drought has been exacerbated by climate change. Trump has questioned the science behind climate change and called it a conspiracy hatched by China.
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