With Congress on recess, many legislators are now back in their home districts. California Senator Dianne Feinstein took some of her time away from D.C. to visit the Fresno area today.
The first public stop on her tour of Fresno County took place just after 9 this morning when Feinstein visited Terranova Ranch, a 6,056-acre farm located between Kerman and Helm.
Feinstein’s trip to the farm was centered around the issue most concerning for California farmers: water. The primary topic of her conversation with Don Cameron, General Manager at Terranova, was groundwater recharge.
As an author of both the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act and the most recent iteration of the Water Resources Development Act, both of which provide sorely-needed funding for California’s water infrastructure, Feinstein is continuing her record as an advocate for water issues. Especially now, during the drought which she said she expects to continue, Feinstein has shown her support for improving water security in California, which includes preventing the overdraft of underground aquifers.
“I wanted to come here because I am concerned with subsidence of land in the Valley,” she explained, “I’m concerned with the fact that the groundwater has been drawn so much that land is sinking in places.”
In response to Feinstein’s questions, Cameron explained that Terranova employs a form of flood recharge that takes advantage of the recent floodwater from the Kings River, the sandier soils in their area and the array of crops they farm, many of which are flood-tolerant and can withstand the recharge without being overwatered.
Feinstein pushed further, asking about other areas of the San Joaquin Valley, their problems with water supply and the impact of groundwater overdraft and ground subsidence in those areas.
She was accompanied on the visit by Madera County Farm Bureau Executive Director, Christina Beckstead, who also weighed in on the Senator’s questions and offered examples of her own region’s experience, including the effects of residential groundwater wells going dry and the resulting added scrutiny for agricultural water-users.
While she declined to note any specific proposals, Feinstein thinks that there are ways in which the federal government can help at “low cost.”
“There is a broad public cause in getting these aquifers refilled so the land doesn’t sink,” she said, detailing why she believes other members of Congress would support such a proposal.
Feinstein took time to listen and was eager to learn more about struggles with water.
After having her own concerns addressed, she obliged the reporters present and fielded a few questions. In addition to inquiries about water, she responded to a question about a piece of her current legislative docket, the Agricultural Worker Program Act. Her short response delineated the effects of the proposed legislation that would implement a “blue card” program that would allow undocumented farm workers with over 100 days of work experience over 2 years to remain a legal resident for up to 5 years and then transition to the green card program.
Though initially confined to the topics of the tour, the line of questioning soon broadened in scope to include federal issues, most notably, President Donald Trump and the ongoing investigation of his administration’s ties to Russia.
She gave indication that former FBI Director, James Comey, may be testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee as soon as next Thursday and said that there are “a lot of hard questions that have to be asked.”
When pressed on her thoughts on impeachment of the president, her response was simple: “I’m not going to go there.”
“That’s not what we’re working on right now,” she continued, explaining the investigative and deliberative process in which she is involved, “but there is no question that Russia interfered in this election in a way that cannot be accepted and should not be continued.”
She finished with two pieces of advice for President Trump: “Stop tweeting and bring the country together. Don’t just go home to your base, go home to America and let America know that you want to be the president for all of America.”
Feinstein’s day-long trip continues with a noon luncheon hosted by the Central California Community Foundation and will conclude after she attends a roundtable meeting with local law enforcement and nonprofit agencies on the topic of human trafficking.
GV Wire will update our coverage following these events.
Contact Drew Phelps
Phone: 559-440-8321 / e-mail
This story was not subject to the approval of Granville Homes.
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