Hannity Show Focuses on Valley Water Crisis

September 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fox News Commentator Sean Hannity brought his cable TV show to a remote area of Fresno County on Thursday. The event near Huron attracted thousands of people. Many were concerned about the perceived water shortage in Western Fresno County. Many others were just angry at the Federal Government and President Obama. A protestor who gave his name as "Walt" was wearing a T-shirt which depicted President Barack Obama as Adolph Hitler. Walt said, "Yeah, he's a scary guy to me. He's a dyed in the wool Marxist."

Republican Congressman Devin Nunes who represents portions of Fresno and Tulare Counties was among the elected officials who joined Hannity on his show. Nunes repeated his recent claims that environmentalists are communists.

"When you look at the radical environmental fringe there is no question they are tied closely to the communist party that is without question." Nunes said.

Sean Hannity said he brought his show here to simply tell the nation about the plight of Central Valley farmers.

"Honestly, when you hear a story like this where the government is not working for the people and environmental extremism is taken over to the point where literally farmers are denied the very water they need to feed the rest of the country it's about time the people in Washington get to hear from the hard working people." Hannity said.

What was heard at the rally were repeated calls by the crowd to turn on the massive pumps that divert water out of the California Aqueduct into the farmers irrigation canals. But Fresno Congressman Jim Costa, the only Democrat to address the event said there was some misinformation.

"The pumps have been turned on since July 1st. They are running at full capacity." Costa said.

Half a mile away from the event the California Aqueduct was brimming with water.

"That aqueduct wouldn't have water in it right now if the pumps weren't running." Costa said. Costa, who is a longtime advocate for the Valley's Agri-business in, was booed by the partisan crowd.

The pumps were slowed over part of the summer to protect fish. The endangered Delta Smelt and salmon. Many growers and their supporters blamed the fish for the reduction in their water supply. But the only environmentalist to speak, Zeke Grader, a Salmon Fisherman who addressed the crowd by satellite from Northern California was shouted down as he offered a different view.

Grader blamed the natural drought for the water shortfall, and claimed valley growers were busy selling their water to Southern California.

The State Department of Water Resources has stated that the reduction in water supplies to some growers in Western Fresno County was primarily the result of natural drought conditions. In July, Director Lester Snow said only about 25 per cent of the reduction was the result of environmental diversions for fish.

Statistics actually show it has been a near normal water use year for growers, but Hannity stood in a harvested tomato field and said the dry dirt was an example of dustbowl conditions. Not shown on camera were the acres of green, irrigated farm fields just 100 feet away.

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