April 20, 2009

Merced Sun-Star: "There's a lot of anger in the Valley right now . . ."

By Damien M. Schiff Senior Attorney

Last week we noted how more money is unlikely to solve the problem of an insufficient water supply in the Central Valley. Via Aquafornia, an editorial in today's Merced Sun-Star confirms this skepticism, noting that stimulus money allocated for water projects will not be going to those hardest hit by the drought:

The Obama administration dispatched Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to California on Wednesday to announce $260 million in economic stimulus funding for water projects.

The most obvious question was how much would go to drought relief in the San Joaquin Valley, especially since Salazar was in California at the same time as the March for Water was being conducted on the Valley's west side.

The answer was a simple one from Salazar — the vast majority of this money won't be seen in the farmworker-dominated communities that are experiencing 40 percent unemployment because of drought conditions.

But there was plenty of money for projects in Northern California for environmental uses.

No wonder so many Valley farmers, farmworkers and others in agriculture-related businesses are so angry with the federal government on the water issue.

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