Henry I. Miller addresses the irony of extreme drought in areas where the politically correct but ignorant voters enact bans on the technology that can help farmers produce more with less water:
Water is in increasingly short supply in many parts of the United States. Here in California, where most of the state is experiencing “extreme” drought, 2013 was the driest year on record, and we have had no relief during what should be the height of the rainy season. Moreover, there’s no end in sight: The Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service forecasts that the drought will “persist or intensify” at least through April.
Reservoir levels are dropping, the snow pack is almost nonexistent, and many communities have already imposed restrictions on water usage. In the city of Santa Cruz, for example, restaurants can no longer serve drinking water unless diners specifically request it; Marin County residents have been asked not to clean their cars or to do so only at “eco-friendly” car washes; and there are limitations on watering lawns in towns in Mendocino County.
(…snip…) Drought may not be partisan, but it does raise critical issues of governance, public policy and how best to use the state’s natural resources. It also offers an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences: Ironically, Santa Cruz, Mendocino and Marin counties — all of which boast politically correct, far-left politics — are among the local jurisdictions that have banned a key technology that could conserve huge amounts of water.
The technology is genetic engineering performed with modern molecular techniques, sometimes referred to as genetic modification (GM) or gene-splicing, which enables plant breeders to make old crop plants do spectacular new things, including conserve water. In the United States and about 30 other countries, farmers are using genetically engineered crop varieties to produce higher yields, with lower inputs and reduced impact on the environment.
Even with R&D being hampered by resistance from activists and discouraged by governmental over-regulation, genetically engineered crop varieties are slowly but surely trickling out of the development pipeline in many parts of the world. Cumulatively, over 3.7 billion acres of them have been cultivated by more than 17 million farmers in 30 countries during the past 15 years – without disrupting a single ecosystem or causing so much as a tummy ache in a consumer.
(…snip…) Incredibly, in spite of the intensive, safe and successful cultivation of genetically engineered plants for almost two decades, four California counties have banned them entirely, either via legislation or referendums. These actions in Trinity, Mendocino, Marin and Santa Cruz counties represent political leadership and voter ignorance at their absolute worst. The measures are unscientific and logically inconsistent, in that their restrictions are inversely related to risk: They permit the use of new varieties of plants and microorganisms that have been crafted with less precise and predictable techniques but ban those made with more precise and predictable ones.