- - Thursday, February 20, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Obama’s traveling golfing circus and global-warming revival played California’s San Joaquin Valley last week, where he used the worst drought in decades as a backdrop to shill for his magic elixir guaranteed to cure warts, relieve irregularity, conjure water and expand government spending.

He correctly blames man for the drought, but it’s not the men in pickup trucks or astride John Deere tractors.

The San Joaquin Valley was one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the world until environmentalists created a dust bowl to save a three-inch fish called the Delta smelt.

This little fish, not much bigger than a minnow, suddenly became useful when radical leftists realized they could cut off the water for nearly 25 million people and millions of acres of fertile farmland in the interests of expanding federal control of the environment.

From his courtroom in Fresno, U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger declared saving the fish more important than feeding humans and, citing the Endangered Species Act, in 2007 ordered the pumps watering the valley from the Sacramento River turned off, lest the Delta smelt be disturbed.

Choosing between saving a minnow and watering the nation’s food basket was an easy call. Instead of irrigating crops of fruit, fabric, vegetables and grain, the water from the river was diverted from the farms to the Pacific Ocean.

Families, farmers and some elected officials in the Valley have pleaded with the government to turn the spigots on again. The Valley continues to shed jobs as farms dry up. The environment suffers as the parched earth invites wildfires.

Rather than working to get water to flow into the Valley again, the president offered thirsty Californians only a bailout of $160 million in federal aid. He blames global warming, of course, and his allies in Congress, like Little Sir Echo, dutifully repeat his message.

House Democrats on Tuesday badgered the Commerce Committee chairman to hold hearings on the issue. “The committee needs to understand the connection between climate change and drought in California and the Western United States,” they said, “as well as the effects of severe droughts.” There was no mention of the fishy nature of the water shortage.

The Republicans countered with their own water-relief bill, which includes a provision allowing more water to be pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Certain mini-fish protections would be eliminated. Mr. Obama, golfing at a well-watered resort in the desert, stepped away from the beautifully manicured greens to say that he would veto the Republican relief bill.

Forty years on, the Endangered Species Act continues to inflict economic and ecological disaster. The law is a tool for liberals to turn back the clock, trying to undo the progress wrought by the Industrial Revolution. Enough is enough.

The only thing more absurd than creating a disaster over a fish is blaming the drought on Americans who only want to water their crops. The president’s global warming tour is an economic disaster for Americans. The people are better off when he sticks to putting greens and his mulligans.

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