House Speaker John Boehner – leader of the least productive Congress in American history, one which has done little, if anything, to assist the Western United States and its historic drought -- has decided to blame President Barack Obama and environmentalists for causing the drought.
According to Boehner, environmentalists are to blame because it is us who put into place environmental rules and regulations -- including mandating proper water flows to waterways that hold, among other things, endangered species. Apparently, that is the chief cause of the state's drought.
Except not at all. True, some water is being diverted to preserve ecosystems, but healthy ecosystems are necessary for a whole range of secondary economic benefits. For example, if there is not enough water in certain Northern California streams, then there won't be any Salmon catch, which would devastate fishing communities and further impact the state's agricultural economy.
But that's beside the point, because Boehner is wrong. Those flows are not the reason for the drought; instead, it is high demand from farmlands in Central California (which produce food that, it must be reminded, feed the entire country) and existing demand from large cities, coupled with a long-term dry spell that may have been acerbated by climate change.
That last part is the scary thing. Evidence is beginning to pile up that climate change, if unchecked, will only make things worse. California will get drier and drier, and soil moisture will decrease.
It's not only California that will suffer. In fact, according to data from NASA, drier conditions will prevail across the entire United States, including Boehner's home state of Ohio.
Boehner never speaks about this, however. His political party still denies the existence of climate change and refuses to listen to scientists. They are standing between President Obama's goals of strong climate action, action that would, in the long term, be better for California.
Nope. For him, the solution is to blame Obama and environmentalists and ignore reality. Just the kind of thinking that got us into this mess.
This is, of course, nothing new from the Republican leadership in Washington D.C. Besides continuing to deny climate change despite its near-universal acceptance, they refuse to empower the Environmental Protection Agency to preserve and protect water resources, while supporting water-sucking industries including dangerous hydraulic fracturing. Not to mention the millions in campaign donations from climate change denying companies, including the Koch Brothers, that Boehner and his Republican allies accept year after year.
It is easy for Boehner to blame others for this problems. But, thankfully, countless California citizens and businesses are taking real action to reduce their water use and build a more sustainable future, through the use of clean energy and water-saving technologies.
It would be great if Speaker Boehner and his party decide to come onto our side and work with us to develop real solutions to the drought. But I wouldn't count on it any time soon.
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