House Resolution 72
Remarks by Congressman Tom McClintock
House Chamber, Washington, D.C
As Chairman of the Water and Power Subcommittee of Natural Resources, my colleagues and I are excited and eager to undertake the mission outlined in House Resolution 72: to identify the federal regulations in this field that are impeding job creation and slowing the economy.
The only problem is deciding where to begin.
A generation ago, the principal objective of our water and power policy was to create an abundance of both. It was an era when vast reservoirs and hydro-electric facilities produced a cornucopia of clean and plentiful water and electricity on a scale so vast that many communities didn’t even bother to measure the stuff.
But that objective of abundance has been abandoned in favor of rationing shortages caused by government.
The result is increasingly scarce and expensive water and power that now undermines our prosperity as a nation.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the Central Valley of California. The last Congress sat idly by as this administration deliberately diverted 200 billion gallons of water away from the most abundant agricultural region of our nation – all to satisfy the environmental left and its pet cause, a three inch minnow called the Delta Smelt.
These willful diversions cost over 20,000 farm workers their jobs, inflicted up to 40 percent unemployment rates in the region; destroyed more than a quarter million acres of the most fertile farmland in our nation and forced up the price of groceries for us all.
Or we could look to the Klamath, where this administration is pushing to tear down four perfectly good hydroelectric dams that generate 155 megawatts of the cleanest and cheapest electricity on the planet – enough to power over 150,000 homes -- because, we’re told, of catastrophic declines of salmon.
When I suggested building a salmon hatchery instead, I was informed that there already is one: it produces 5 million salmon smolt each year – 17,000 of which return to that river as fully grown adults to spawn – but they’re deliberately ignored in the population counts. To add insult to insanity, as they tear down these dams in the name of saving the salmon, they’re also tearing down the fish hatchery.
Or we could begin in Colorado, where they’ve sacrificed over 1,000 megawatts from the Glen Canyon Dam for the humpback chub – at the expense of a long neglected species called Homo sapiens.
Ronald Reagan was right: in this crisis, government is not the solution to our problems – government is the problem. The good news is that’s within our power to correct – and it was clearly the mandate of the American people in 2010.
And we will act on that mandate beginning with a series of hearings and actions directly related to this much-needed resolution.