Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield and House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:
"Reducing our dependence on oil from highly unstable regions in the Middle East, many of which are run by dictators that oppose our country and our ideals, is critical. We have legislation that remains stalled in the Senate that would boost America’s energy production, including opening up leases for oil production off the coasts of Virginia and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a small percentage of land in Alaska. We’re also continuing to push for approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which could provide tens of thousands of American jobs and help boost our domestic energy infrastructure. I continue to support an all-of-the-above energy approach, and that approach includes traditional energy. We only have to drive through Kern County to see how important it is.
"We are also a powerhouse when it comes to agriculture – and water is the lifeblood of this industry. We’re looking at another dry year. The snowpack is far below normal, and on Wednesday, the California Department of Water Resources announced that it will reduce the water allocation for State Water Project contractors by 10 percent. Our community has stored water well and can survive a dry year – but we cannot ignore the fact that environmental overregulation severely exacerbates the impacts of naturally dry weather. We need a stable, reliable water supply. California’s man-made drought has a solution, and that includes the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act. This bill passed out of the Natural Resources Committee last week and would increase water allocations throughout the Valley by approximately 1.4 million acre-feet. That’s enough to irrigate over 460,000 acres of farmland or provide water to over one million families for one year.
"This legislation gets our priorities right by putting our families, farmers, and ranchers above a tiny fish. Protecting our environment and ecosystems is important, and this legislation continues to do so while putting families first. This legislation will increase water supplies, create jobs and help ensure that our community can remain one of the top agricultural producers in the nation. This bill is expected to be debated on the House floor soon, and I will be voting for it so we can finally address the causes of California’s man-made drought that has contributed to too much fallowed land and unemployment in our communities.