Common Sense vs The Feds

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File this under “Stuff I Should Have Blogged About, But Have Been Too Busy”.

California has been locked in some sort of water war for about as long as it’s been a state I think. This last week delivered some great news concerning water delivery to the west side farmers:

A judge in Fresno slammed the federal government Tuesday for reducing the supply of water last year to Central Valley farmers and millions of California residents without scientific justification.

There are no studies that show the pumps to be the main cause of the declining fish population, and, in fact, due to the shut off from last year, there is now scientific evidence that shows that, even with the pumps off, the fish population still declined.

U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger will consider restoring the water supply and ordering government biologists back to the drawing board during a hearing today that could decide the fate of the state’s beleaguered salmon.

The flow of delta water to farms and communities was cut by about 7 percent in June 2009 to protect salmon, steelhead, green sturgeon and southern resident killer whales, whose primary prey is salmon. Biologists with the National Marine Fisheries Service claimed in an 800-page regulatory report known as a biological opinion that there was not enough water in the delta to support migrating salmon, which are too often killed in the delta pumps that move water south – or harmed by warmer waters resulting from the water delivery.

Wanger agreed with agricultural representatives who claimed that the pumping restrictions were harmful to more than 20 million residents and farmers, many of whom had to let their fields go fallow. He criticized the fisheries service for not backing up its numbers with sound science, calling the restrictions “arbitrary, capricious and scientifically unreasonable.”


“Federal defendants completely abdicated their responsibility to consider alternative remedies,” Wanger wrote. The fisheries service actions “lack factual and scientific justification, while effectively ignoring the irreparable harm those (regulations) have inflicted on humans and the human environment.”

National Fisheries Service representatives declined to comment Tuesday.

Of course they did, because the judge is right.

Battle not over

Wanger ordered a hearing to determine how the restrictions contained in last year’s biological report should be reworked and what should be done in the meantime.

The move could – depending on how many revisions are needed – negate many months of work and extend indefinitely a legal battle that has been raging for years among fishing interests, environmentalists, farmers and water agencies across the state.

The National Academy of Sciences declared in March that the efforts to save endangered fish by restricting water delivery were “scientifically justified.”

Except that the powers that be seem to have purposefully ignored the pollution dumped into the river by the state capital area residence and industry. That is two separate studies that confirm what we’ve been saying for years. Gee, wonder why they’ve been overlooked?

Here is a hint why:

Who is George Miller? “Miller is one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s key lieutenants, and a former chair of what’s now called the House Natural Resources Committee.”

In the link above, he says this of Feinstein’s attempt to releive the water situation of Central Valley Farmers:

“I think it’s a massive miscalculation,” Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said of Feinstein’s plan in an interview. “It’s destructive, both environmentally and politically.”

Note that there is no concern about the farmers and job losses due to the man-made drought. The article reports that:

The 11 lawmakers further warn Feinstein that her plan would “drive California’s and much of Oregon’s salmon to extinction” and threaten “thousands of jobs.”

Of course, the hundreds of thousands of farm and farm related jobs don’t count. It’s because environmentalists have tremendous influence over the state politicians, whereas farmers have none.

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