Thursday May 19, 2022

The Porterville Recorder

On Wednesday, State Senator Melissa Hurtado, D-Sanger joined her colleague, Democratic State Senator Dave Cortese in sending a letter to United States Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting an investigation into possible drought profiteering and water rights abuses in the Western states. 

The Senators said they’re concerned about the increasing amount of water rights being purchased by hedge funds, their potential anti-competitive practices and the devastating impact that could have on water security.

“Not only do hedge funds and other monopolistic entities trade water as an interstate commodity, they do so at the expense of state and federal policy,” the letter states. “But beyond drought alone, these monopolies no longer even pretend to honor beneficial use doctrines which have historically tied water use to riparian and overlying property owners here in the West.

“The domino effect of this activity consolidates economic power and water itself in the hands of the few and will likely require the ‘big stick’ of antitrust actions to break up, lest average Americans are brought to their knees for lack of the most basic resource, water. Nowhere is there more urgent demand for the application of the public trust doctrine regarding water rights than these practices which literally steal our most life dependent resource from ourselves and future generations in exchange for a profit.”

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