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Local congressman laments governor over NFL stadium and the Delta Smelt
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The Delta pumps being turned off over two years ago has stirred up quite the controversy. The dormant pumps have caused suffering in the Central Valley agriculture industry with a loss of more than 40,000 jobs. So why push aside environmental regulations for a National Football League stadium in Los Angeles and not push those regulations aside to get the water moving again throughout California?
That question is what prompted Congressman George Radanovich of the 19th District to send a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Oct. 23, as a reminder of things “(The governor) can still do for the Central Valley,” according to Radanovich.
“I wrote this letter in response to the governor moving heaven and Earth for the NFL stadium,” Radanovich said. “There is a bigger need for jobs right now.”
In his letter to Schwarzenegger, Radanovich writes about the suffering of the Central Valley, how important the contribution of the agricultural industry in the Valley is to the nation, and the importance of pushing aside the environmental regulations to get the water moving again in the Valley.
The Delta Pumps were shut off about two years ago in response to the Delta Smelt, which is a slender-bodied fish that is currently on the endangered species list. Because the Delta Smelt is endangered, the pumps can’t be turned back on under the Endangered Species Act.  
By shutting these pumps off it has caused a man-made drought in the San Joaquin Valley, a loss of 40,000 jobs in the Central Valley, and a loss of income of about two to three billion dollars, Radanovich said.
For the Delta Pumps to be turned on again, Schwarzenegger has to override the environmental regulation.
Schwarzenegger overrode the California Environmental Quality Act when he signed Assembly Bill X381 on Oct. 22 for Los Angeles to get a NFL team and stadium. CEQA applies to any land use activity that requires development projects to submit documentation of their potential environmental impact.
“This is the best kind of action state government can create — action that cuts red tape, generates jobs, is environmentally friendly and brings a continued economic boost to California,” Schwarzenegger said of AB X381.
The NFL stadium will create over 18,000 jobs and pump more than $760 million into the local economy every year, according to a press release issued by the Governor’s Office.
In his recent letter, Radanovich asks why the governor was able to find a way to override an environmental regulation for the NFL stadium, but hasn’t done the same for the Delta pumps.
“I agree with you, cutting environmental red tape will generate jobs and boost our economy in the case of the NFL stadium,” Radanovich wrote. “That same red tape is preventing our farmers from planting crops this year, which will result in the loss of $2 billion of income-apparently enough to buy at least two football stadiums.”
According to Radanovich’s letter, Federal officials who have the authority to waive the Endangered Species Act can waive the act if the restrictions are found to cause excessive destruction to jobs and the economy.
“The protection of the Delta Smelt — the three inch minnow that is responsible for the Delta Pumps being shut down during planting season and thereby killing California agriculture — certainly meets this qualification,” Radanovich wrote in his letter.
Radanovich said the purpose of the letter was to remind Schwarzenegger that he can still do something about the Central Valley’s water issues.
Radanovich is hoping to get water running by next year, he said.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.