THERE AIN'T NO FREE WATER
Last November I attended a meeting in Farmington, New Mexico titled SECURING YOUR PROPERTY, sponsored by the Paragon Foundation and held by Wayne Hage and his wife Helen Chenoweth. Hage and his attorneys proved in a Federal Claims Court that he had vested water rights and the U.S. Government must pay him Highest and Best use for the "taking" of his property. Hage informed those of us in attendance that the government has every right to "take" the use of your property. While the "taking" is legal, the government must pay for that "taking."
In the early 1990's the federal government cut back water deliveries to CENTRAL VALLEY IRRIGATION DISTRICTS in California, to protect the Delta Smelt and the Chinook Salmon. This kept farmers from receiving enough water for their crops and a case was filed by the Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District and the Kern County Water Agency and several other districts that supply irrigation water to farms.
A Washington, D.C. property rights attorney, Roger Marzulla, represented the water districts. Federal Claims Court Judge John Paul Wiese, ruled that the water cutback amounted to a property taking and the government must pay the irrigators $14 million for the water they never received. With interest and legal fees this amount could grow to more than $25 million. According to Roger Marzulla, "The plaintiffs have a recognized property right under state law. The federal government took it and the federal government has to pay for it."
The judge found the federal government liable because its environmental restrictions had forced the state to reduce its water shipments to contractors. Judge Wiese wrote in his ruling, "The federal government is certainly free to preserve the fish: it must simply pay for the water it takes to do so."
It was about three years ago that the Federal Bureau of Reclamation shut off the water in the Klamath Basin leaving farmers in California and Oregon literally "high and DRY." This act by the federal government actually put most of these farmers out of business. Property rights attorney Roger Marzulla is also representing the Klamath farmers who are now seeking $1 billion from the government.
This court decision has the environmentalists more than just a little upset. John Echeverria, executive director of the Georgetown Environmental Law and Policy Institute stated, "It would have devastating consequences for the California budget and the state of the environment." These greenies never seem to be concerned about the budgets of financial problems these "takings" would have on the farmers.
If this court case stands it could put the Endangered Species Act completely out of business. Wait until the loggers and timber mills that were shut down go to U.S. Claims court to be paid for what the government "took" from them. How about all the farmers who have lost the use of their land because of federal "takings" due to wet lands that never existed: the homebuilders that lost millions because of the red-legged frog or the fairy shrimp.
The way I see it, this could shut down the entire federal government, and I can't think of a better way to do it.
© 2004 Derry Brownfield - All Rights Reserved
Derry Brownfield was born in 1932 and grew up during the depression. He is a farmer and a broadcaster. Derry attended the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees. He taught Vocational Agriculture several years before going to work as a Marketing Specialist with the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Derry served as Director of the Kansas City Livestock Market Foundation at the Kansas City Stockyard prior to establishing himself in farm broadcasting.
Derry started farming when he was 16 years old and received the Future Farmers of America State Farmer degree in 1949. Since that time the Brownfield Farm has grown to over 1000 acres maintaining a herd of 200 registered Charolias cows.
In 1972, Derry and his partner established the Brownfield Network which now serves 250 radio stations throughout the Midwest with news and market information. In 1994, Derry started his own syndicated radio talk show and he is one of the most popular radio talk show hosts in America. The Derry Brownfield Show can be heard on approximately 80 radio stations in 23 states. With his entertaining sense of humor and witty commentary he has captured audiences for over 30 years. His ability to present an informative talk show while being light and colorful is why he has a large loyal listening audience.
Derry Brownfield is a practical farmer, a practical
business man and a very entertaining speaker. He travels extensively throughout
the country speaking about his common-sense point of view. Web Site: www.derrybrownfield.com
"It was about three years ago that the Federal Bureau of Reclaimation shut off the water in the Klamath Basin leaving farmers in California and Oregon literally 'high and DRY.'"