Letters to the Editor

Water offset program used by North County vineyards should be investigated

Wine vines grow near Highway 46 in the North County.
Wine vines grow near Highway 46 in the North County. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

While we commend The Tribune on publishing stories about the raping of the land that Justin Vineyards has done, we wonder why the story wasn’t picked up sooner. It sounded as if the neighbors had started complaining about it when the work was first started. Once those 100-year oak trees were uprooted, the damage was done and can’t be replaced in our lifetime.

If The Tribune wants to continue exposing the damage that is being done, it needs to investigate the so-called “Agricultural Water Offset Program” that’s falsely being used. Vineyards are planting irrigated and dry farming nonedible grains (not even cattle will eat) on their vacant land so that they may exchange it later for grapes. Many vineyards are not even harvesting them, instead just turning the dried grains over into the soil. There are other ordinances about wells and water storage that have good intentions but are being abused by the larger wineries to the detriment of the smaller farmers and ranchers.

Debbie Sanderson, Paso Robles