Monday, September 28, 2009
Eco-rules pose major threat
By Richard S. Quandt / Guest Commentary

There is a dangerous movement afoot in California to force businesses that rely upon natural resources to pack up and leave the state.

This is being done indirectly, through legislative mandates implemented by various state agencies, boards and commissions under the guise of protecting the environment.

Those industries targeted by eco-regulations are farmers, loggers, miners, drillers, truckers and builders. They are some of the oldest and most important businesses that provide us with food, fuel, housing and transportation.

Our state Legislature, dominated by urban environmental interests, continues to pass unattainable environmental mandates on rural business, such as farming. The clearest example of this trend is taking place in the rural San Joaquin Valley, where water deliveries that would irrigate over 150,000 acres of crops and orchards have been curtailed. The pumps that convey this water have been ordered turned off by U.S. Fish & Wildlife, a federal agency, due to concerns over the delta smelt, a finger minnow that is thought to be inadvertently swept into these pumps.

Under environmental mandates, the smelt is to be protected at all costs - even if it means fallowing farmland, increasing food imports and displacing some 40,000 workers who work in agriculturally related jobs.

Those who work in the nation's richest agricultural valley are now standing in food lines, receiving canned and processed items packaged in Mexico.

Central Coast agriculture is not immune from this environmental madness. For example, staff at the Central Coast Regional Water Control Board is seeking to impose numeric standards for tailwater in agricultural drainage ditches. These new standards being discussed are 20 times more restrictive than traditional drinking water standards protective of public health.

The reasoning behind these new standards is they are needed to protect not humans, but aquatic habitat. The data supporting these unachievable standards comes from laboratory toxicity tests run on water fleas that don't even live on the Central Coast. The fleas were selected due to their extreme sensitivity by bureaucrats, so as to orchestrate an arbitrary low water-quality standard that even pure Sierra snowmelt won't meet.

What worries me is that a runaway regulatory agency may use such an unattainable standard as justification to force Santa Maria farmers to turn off their wells and stop irrigating their crops.

Does aquatic habitat have more value than growing food?

If we support environmental policy that precludes farmers from irrigating crops, can we replace that loss with produce grown in other states and countries? Are we safer and more secure if we rely upon foreign countries for our fresh produce?

The public needs to understand that environmental mandates have economic consequences. Food does not come from a supermarket, but is grown by a farmer who is competing with farmers in other states and countries.

Citizens need to understand that many of the rigid environmental laws that have extreme results need to be changed in favor of a more balanced approach.

Finally, voters need to elect individuals to policymaking positions who place more value on nurturing families, instead of protecting fish.

Richard S. Quandt is president of the Grower-Shipper Association of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

September 27, 2009
Posted at 15:25 PM By admin | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

Login Login
Email Address* :
Password* :

New Registration Forgot Password?
Categories Categories
Al Fonzi
Andy Caldwell
Ashly Donavan
Bill Glynn
Dan Logue
Darin Selnick
Dr. George Watson
Dr. Jane Orient, M.D.
Dr. Mike Tabor
Dr. Wendy James
Gary Beckner
Gordon Mullin
Gretchen Hamel
Harris Sherline
Janet Cronick
Jerry Scheidbach
Joe Armendariz
Judson Phillips
Lowell Ponte
Matt Barber
Matt Kokkonen
Mike Brown
Mike Gorbell
Mike Stoker
Phil Kiver
Richard Cochrane
Richard Fryer
Richard S. Quandt
Robert Jeffers
Robyn Hayhurst
Roger Hedgecock
Rooster Bradford
Santa Barbara City Watch
Stephen Wallace, M.S. Ed.
RSS Feed RSS Feed
Top 10 Recent BlogRSS Feed
Al FonziRSS Feed
Andy CaldwellRSS Feed
Ashly DonavanRSS Feed
Bill GlynnRSS Feed
Dan LogueRSS Feed
Darin SelnickRSS Feed
Dr. George WatsonRSS Feed
Dr. Jane Orient, M.D.RSS Feed
Dr. Mike TaborRSS Feed
Dr. Wendy JamesRSS Feed
Gary BecknerRSS Feed
Gordon MullinRSS Feed
Gretchen HamelRSS Feed
Harris SherlineRSS Feed
Janet CronickRSS Feed
Jerry Scheidbach RSS Feed
Joe ArmendarizRSS Feed
Judson PhillipsRSS Feed
Lowell PonteRSS Feed
Matt BarberRSS Feed
Matt KokkonenRSS Feed
Mike BrownRSS Feed
Mike GorbellRSS Feed
Mike StokerRSS Feed
Phil KiverRSS Feed
Richard CochraneRSS Feed
Richard FryerRSS Feed
Richard S. QuandtRSS Feed
Robert JeffersRSS Feed
Robyn HayhurstRSS Feed
Roger HedgecockRSS Feed
Rooster BradfordRSS Feed
Santa Barbara City WatchRSS Feed
Stephen Wallace, M.S. Ed.RSS Feed
Archives Archives
Skip Navigation Links.
Tag Cloud Tag Cloud                      
Validator Validator