Letters to the Editor

Defend Fresno County ag

Fresno County Supervisors learn Fresno County is no longer No. 1 in agriculture (article Aug. 26), yet only one supervisor asks why. Supervisors apparently accept drought as the main cause. Yet Tulare and Kern counties (No. 1 and No. 2) are suffering the same water shortages.

Why do Fresno supervisors continue to convert rural lands to subdivisions (Friant Ranch, Millerton Newtown, etc.) and not see their action as a contributing factor? These conversions of grazing land to housing tracts dramatically increase water consumption. Even where water transfers are arranged, it’s taking water from the same finite supply.

Recall in March and May 2013, supervisors (lead by Henry Perea) requested that staff prepare a Friant Corridor Land Use Feasibility Study to examine potential commercial development between the city of Fresno and Friant. Why are supervisors ignoring the lack of water supply and increased air pollution such land use zoning changes would impose? Like the proverbial ostrich, are supervisors’ heads that deep in the sand?

Don’t these supervisors realize that converting agricultural lands to urban uses affects the entire county? When will supervisors, whose districts lie outside northeast Fresno County, finally defend the agricultural and water needs of their own districts?

Robert Merrill, Fresno