President Trump has signed an order in California to divert much needed water to California farmers against the state’s will.
Critics to the plan in California worry about how this might harm the delta smelt, a finger sized fish.
TheHill reports President Trump on Wednesday signed an order in California to re-engineer the state’s water plans, completing a campaign promise to funnel water from the north to a thirsty agriculture industry and growing population further south.
The ceremonial order comes after the Department of the Interior late last year reversed its opinion on scientific findings that for a decade extended endangered species protections to various types of fish — a review that had been spurred by the order from Trump.
Trump said the changes to the “outdated scientific research and biological opinions” would now help direct “as much water as possible, which will be a magnificent amount, a massive amount of water for the use of California farmers and ranchers.”
“A major obstacle to providing water for the region’s farmers has now been totally eliminated by the federal government,” Trump said Wednesday in Bakersfield, Calif., flanked by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as well as Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who helped shepherd the changes to the state’s water policy.
Trump’s order comes as the state has taken several steps to deal with the water scarcity that has lasted for decades.
“It would be different if you had a drought,” Trump claimed, despite concerns the state may be headed into another drought. “You don’t have a drought. You have tremendous amounts of water.”
The state is expected to fight the order. “California won’t allow the Trump Administration to destroy and deplete our natural resources,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) said in a statement after the speech. “We’re prepared to challenge the Trump Administration’s harmful attack on our state’s critical ecosystems and environment.”
Critics fear the new plan, which would allow large quantities of water to be diverted from the San Francisco Bay Delta to the Central Valley in order to irrigate farmland, would ultimately harm chinook salmon and the delta smelt, a finger-sized fish that for three decades has stood in the way of the diversion.