Published in the Bakersfield Californian on September 22, 2019
California’s Central Valley is one of the most agriculturally rich regions in the world. Farmers work hard to grow food for our families. In a day’s work, a farmer will run irrigation, plant or harvest crops, manage pests and diseases, follow food safety protocols, supervise employees, secure equipment from theft, monitor soil levels and work with processors and transporters. In addition to this, farmers must understand and comply with all new regulations imposed by several different government agencies. Our farmers are some of the hardest working individuals in the Central Valley.
In addition to being home to many incredible farmers, farmworkers, ranchers and agribusiness owners, the Central Valley is also one of the most desirable regions for growing food in the entire world. Our unique climate, nutrient-rich soil and atmosphere allow us to grow hundreds of different types of commodities and produce food for much of the world. California produces two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts and one-third of the country’s vegetables. California is also the nation’s sole producer for a variety of commodities including almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, garlic, kiwi, pistachios, table grapes, walnuts, and more.
While farmers enjoy the benefits of California’s nutrient-rich soil and great climate, they deal with the repercussions of bad policies and regulations imposed far too often by bureaucrats and lawmakers who do not truly understand the consequences of their actions.
This year, the majority party in Sacramento brought forth Senate Bill 1, which has put the livelihoods of those supported by the agriculture industry at risk. This bill was an attack on the Trump administration disguised as a "climate change" bill and would lock California into pre-Trump federal environmental standards, for the duration of the current presidential administration.
Senate Bill 1 would use outdated and failed science in place of modern scientific knowledge by freezing California’s federal environmental standards in place. This bill would put every single California farmer at risk of criminal penalties for obeying federal laws when they differ from California’s Senate Bill 1 requirements.
Supporters of SB 1 justified locking in these dated environmental regulations by pointing out they have been the standard in our nation for over 40 years. However, new scientific developments have led to recent changes in environmental policy and should not be ignored. Attacking the federal administration should not come at the cost of our agriculture industry now, or ever. California’s government should be focusing on addressing real problems affecting the environment and agriculture, such as ensuring the state has adequate water storage to survive another severe drought or supporting free trade agreements with our neighbors Canada and Mexico. However, Democrat lawmakers in California’s Capitol have chosen again to attack farmers with little understanding of the repercussions their legislation will have.
Democrats and Republicans alike must stand behind our hardworking farmers who put food on America’s table. Along with many other Valley lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels, I have submitted a letter to the governor urging him to veto SB 1. The governor’s informal announcement of his plans to veto this legislation comes as a success to our farmers, but I call on him to officially do the right thing, veto SB 1, and put a stop to any future action that put our Central Valley way of life in jeopardy.
Sen. Shannon Grove represents California’s 16th Senate District and is the Senate Republican Leader. Her veto letter on SB 1 to Gov. Gavin Newsom can be read at https://cssrc.us/sites/