Political Drought Diversion
Instead of diverting more water, the President blames climate change.
Feb. 17, 2014 6:37 p.m. ET The Wall Street Journal
President Obama took a break from his California golf and diplomatic sojourn late last week to visit the land liberals forgot—the parched Central Valley. Democrats must have told the President he needed to show some concern over the state's record drought, and so naturally Mr. Obama devoted about a third of his remarks to a lecture on global warming.
"We have to be clear: A changing climate means that weather-related disasters like droughts, wildfires, storms, floods are potentially going to be costlier and they're going to be harsher," the President said visiting a farm in Los Banos. "Droughts have obviously been a part of life out here in the West since before any of us were around and water politics in California have always been complicated, but scientific evidence shows that a changing climate is going to make them more intense."
In fact, there is no scientific consensus that climate change will make California drier, much less that it is the cause of this year's drought. Even the New York Times felt obliged to point that out after Mr. Obama's remarks.
But for environmentalists and many Democrats, climate change has become the all-purpose explanation. In California it helps to divert attention from the fact that state and federal policies favor endangered fish over farmers and retard water projects that would make the Central Valley better able to survive dry years. House Republicans have passed a bill to ease these obstacles, but Mr. Obama is threatening a veto and didn't even invite Fresno County's GOP Congressman Devin Nunes to the event.
Mr. Obama announced that the feds will write $135 million in checks to the region, but what farmers really need is to get the fair-share of water they'd get if it weren't diverted to help the delta smelt.