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How Limousine Liberals, Water Oligarchs and Even Sean Hannity Are Hijacking Our Water Supply

A group of water oligarchs engineered a disastrous privatization scheme to make a fortune out of California's most precious natural resource.

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Governor Schwarzenegger has been trying to push the project through California's legislature for months, and has received ample support from both sides of the isle. In September, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein backed the governor and badgered the Obama administration to step in and help California's struggling farmers, going as far as including a letter personally written by Stewart Resnick in one of her communiques. In it Resnick went after Obama officials for siding with environmental interests over those "struggling" farmers. That same month, second-rate FOX news anchor Sean Hannity jetted to Fresno to lead an AstroTurf campaign -- complete with paid Latino "protesters" and funded by the PR firm Burson-Marsteller, which has done work for a wide range of evil clients, from the tobacco industry to Blackwater to the junta in Argentina -- and push for exactly the same thing. Hannity isn't losing any sleep for backing Resnick's "liberal" agenda. The Peripheral Canal is backed by powerful corporate interests regardless of party affiliation.

Of course, the profit drive of corporate America is relentless. And we, the people, have short lives and short memories. And that’s the funny thing: this isn't even a new scam. "The Peripheral Canal had been a top priority of the water interests for forty years," wrote the late and much admired Marc Reisner in 1986 in his book Cadillac Desert, one of the most eye-opening and sweeping histories of water use in the American West. It was part of Governor Pat Brown's original master plan for the California Aqueduct, the baby he pushed through in 1960. His son, Jerry Brown tried to finish what his dad started when he took the governor's seat in the mid-late 70s. But Gov. Brown's attempt to get it passed collapsed amid a worsening economy and a wet year.

Reisner chronicles the infighting, corruption, fraud and blatant media manipulation of public opinion that took place when corporate interests launched an all-out, yet ultimately unsuccessful, blitz to convince the Californian people that apocalypse would be at hand if the Peripheral Canal was not built 25 years ago.

Now, three decades later California's legislature is trying to hammer out exactly the same plan, which is as much about opening up more farm land as it is about securing more paper water to fuel suburban sprawl in the desert. And the corporate powers-that-be are using the exact same strategy -- fear -- to convince California taxpayers to finance their personal wealth.

To learn more about the Kern County Water Bank -- Check out Public Citizen's report, "Water Heist: How Corporations Are Cashing in on California's Water."

Yasha Levine is a freelance writer and Editor of eXiledOnline.com