Governor Jerry Brown has issued an executive order calling for $500 a day fines for people who water their lawns or take long showers, but former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina calls the four-year-long drought plaguing California residents “a man-made disaster” and the work of “liberal environmentalists” who are “willing to sacrifice other people’s lives and livelihoods at the altar of their ideology.”
“With different policies over the last 20 years, all of this could be avoided,” Fiorina said Monday on Glenn Beck’s radio program. “Despite the fact that California has suffered from droughts for millennia, liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled.” As a result, said Fiorina, 70 percent of California’s rainfall “washes out to sea” each year.
“How is it possible that we don’t hear that story on the news at all?” Beck asked.
“Isn’t that interesting?” Fiorina replied. “In California, fish and frogs and flies are really important — far more important apparently than the 40 percent unemployment rate in certain parts of central valley.” Congress, she said, has the power to ease some of the federal water restrictions for farmers, but the restrictions remain in place to protect certain forms of wildlife. The House passed a bill in December to pump water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to Southern California, a move that environmentalists said would harm endangered fish species. The Obama administration threatened to veto the bill.
“So the Senate and the president could waive some of those water restrictions," Fiorina said. “They have been asked to do so, and they have refused to do so.”
Instead administration policy regarding the crisis has amounted to a welfare program. Josh Earnest, the president’s press secretary, said on Monday that the administration is not considering any policy changes, adding the president has offered relief to the state in the form of $60 million to California food banks and $15 million for farmers and ranchers.
“President Obama goes out to California a little over a year ago, calls it a tragedy of global warming and hands out money to a food bank,” Fiorina said. “This is all about politics and policy, and it is liberal environmentalists who have brought us this tragedy.”
In an interview on Sunday’s This Week program on ABC, Governor Brown also blamed the drought on “climate change.”
“And I can tell you, from California, climate change is not a hoax,” he said. "We're dealing with it and it's damn serious." He described his executive order as one issued “under emergency power. It has the force of law. Very unusual. It’s requiring action and changes in behavior from the Oregon border all the way to the Mexican border. It affects lawns. It affects people’s — how long they stay in the shower. How businesses use water.” Water use will be monitored and the order enforced by state water districts, he said.
“Each water district that actually delivers waters — water to homes and businesses, they carry it out. We have a state water board that overseas the relationships with the districts. Hundreds of them. If they don’t comply, people can be fined $500 a day. Districts can go to court to get a cease and desist order. The enforcement mechanism is powerful. In a drought of this magnitude, you have to change that behavior and you have to change it substantially.” A video clip aired on the program showed Brown saying, “The idea of your nice little green grass getting lots of water everyday, that's just going to be a thing of the past.”
Fiorina contends it is the environmental and other liberal policies of the past several decades and the politicians who perpetuate them that have to go. A Republican now age 60, she ran for the U.S. Senate in California in 2010 and lost to Democrat Barbara Boxer, then a three-term incumbent. She has remained active on Republican and conservative speaking circuits, however, and has been talked about as a possible Republican presidential or vice presidential candidate in 2016.
“We must, absolutely must, get government under control, which means reducing its size and its power and its complexity in really fundamental ways,” she told Beck. “And that is why I am seriously considering running for president, and will make a final decision over the next month or so. I have come to the point of view that too many politicians have been captured in this system for too long, and they no longer see what needs to be done.”