Farmers wonder when cities will wise up
Farmers felt the environmentalist sting early on, and they’re still feeling it. Governmental protection of useless (to them) kangaroo rats, vernal pools (mere puddles in farm language) gnat catchers, frogs and certain weeds (all just nuisances to productive farmers) and even the spotted owl strikes many of them as pure nonsense.
They wonder where their city cousins are when politicians support or propagate some of these rulings. When government sets aside enormous acreages to protect critters or the pristine nature of the land it makes many farmers cringe, fearing that their farms might be swept up in the next expression of governmental beneficence.
In California, and particularly the Central Valley, environmentalists have tried to focus much of the blame for air pollution on farmers.
But farmers are several steps ahead of the baseless charges from the environmental left, standing firmly on a 15-year-long effort to improve practices that will help clean up the air. They wonder if their urban counterparts have noticed.
They know well, and can prove, that the biggest culprit in air pollution is the internal combustion engine, the one each of us sits behind on the way to the mall, the movie or to make a living. When the engine burns diesel fuel, as nearly all large trucks and buses do, the emissions are exacerbated.
After all, the clean-up of the Los Angeles basin’s eye-smarting smog 15 years ago had little or nothing to do with agriculture, unless we credit a few dairy cows that moved out of Chino on their way to Tulare County.
The Pacific Legal Foundation recently joined farmers in questioning the environmental regulations that inhibit the training of military personnel at Camp Pendleton. Accepting these governmental edicts is naive at best, irresponsible at worst in the view of this public interest law firm headquartered in Sacramento.
Marines in training at Camp Pendleton make shore landings, but are then bused to their next scene of battle, just to keep from disturbing gnat catchers. Off-road maneuvering is severely restricted, and even the digging of fox holes is limited.
“Will some soldiers and Marines die ... so that some gnat catchers and federally protected birds and animals in the United States may live?” the PLF newsletter asks. The law firm says the application of the Endangered Species Act is “rigid, spurred on by lobbying and lawsuits from ‘green’ groups that are stronger on zealotry than common sense. ....”
Somebody needs to get a handle on the undisciplined and misguided actions of the environmental extremists. Farmers have spoken out against them for years. They believe it’s time for their city-dwelling friends and the legislators who represent them to do the same.
Don Curlee is a veteran ag publications editor and ag freelancer
who writes on a variety of farm-related topics from Clovis, Calif.
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