Illinois Congressman on California Smelt and Water Use

Taylor Hillman Drought, General

Rodney Davis
An Illinois congressman tells us what he thinks of regulations that protect “sardines” while dramatically limiting water for farms, and how he’s trying to change the situation. Sabrina Hill heard from Congressman Rodney Davis while in Washington, D.C. last week and has this first installment in her series with him.

Davis on Endangered Species

Illinois 13th District Congressman Rodney Davis is paying close attention to the drought here in California, and how the endangered species act is affecting our efforts to feed the nation.

“What we would consider a drought in the Midwest is nothing compared to what I saw personally in the Central Valley of California. We have an opportunity to really make the case that emergency action needs to take place, especially out there out west, where this has been ongoing for years,” he said. “I’m one of two non-Californians cosponsors of the bill that relaxes the endangered species act for the delta smelt, which is causing California to dump enough fresh water to help this drought situation substantially into the ocean, because they’re protecting one small fish. I mean we call them sardines in the Midwest, but they call them protected species out west.”

But Davis said it’s going to take bigger changes to fix the problems he sees with the current endangered species act.

“It’s very frustrating, because there are solutions to the problem,” he continued. “But the administration that’s in the white house right now doesn’t want to attack this issue. I believe that if the Midwest experiences drought we’ll make this same argument. But the drought that I hope we don’t experience is something that we’re going to continue to have this debate on our committee regardless of what happens in the Midwest because of what’s happening in California.”

For part two in this series, see Lawmaker Wants to Change Endangered Species Act