[env-trinity] Fw: Stop Schwarzenegger's End Run to Build the Peripheral Canal

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Wed Jan 14 20:46:34 PST 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Dan Bacher 
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 8:19 AM
Subject: Stop Schwarzenegger's End Run to Build the Peripheral Canal





Stop Schwarzenegger's End Run to Build the Peripheral Canal�

by Dan Bacher�

Barbara Barrigan Parrilla, campaign director of Restore the Delta, fears that two recent moves by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to weaken environmental laws are designed to facilitate the development and construction of the peripheral canal.�

Schwarzenegger's obsession with his "Big Ditch," a project that would certainly result in the destruction of imperiled Central Valley chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad and other species, is apparently motivated by his desire to create a "monument" to his gigantic ego - and to sacrifice Delta farms to provide subsidized water to corporate agribusiness on the San Joaquin Valley's west side.�

"Governor Schwarzenegger has asked President-elect Obama to suspend or otherwise eliminate National Environmental Impact Review (NEPA) for the economic stimulus package projects for California, including some $8 billion in unnamed water and sewer projects," according to Parrilla. "The Governor has also been attempting to weaken the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) during the state budget process."�

"It is the assessment of advisors working with the Restore the Delta staff that the Governor is trying to weaken federal and state environmental review standards in order to ease the development and construction of the peripheral canal, rather than following existing environmental laws and processes," she stated.�

While Schwarzenegger constantly grandstands and flies off to "climate change" and "green energy" conferences throughout the country, he is in reality the worst-ever Governor for fish and the environment in California history, receiving the "Outdoor Villain" of 2008 award from Field and Stream magazine. He has presided over the unprecedented collapse of Central Valley fall chinook salmon populations, the dramatic decline of Delta smelt, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, juvenile striped bass and other species and massive fishing closures along the California Coast. He has vetoed suction dredge mining legislation, the fish rescue plans bill and other legislation badly needed to restore California's imperiled fisheries.�

The Governor's handpicked team of cabinet level advisors, the so-called "Delta Vision Committee," on January 2 released an environmentally devastating plan to break ground on the peripheral canal in 2011, without the approval of the Legislature and voters.�

More recently, the Nature Conservancy, an organization infamous for its corporate greenwashing schemes throughout the world, joined the Governor in his campaign to build the canal when they announced support for his plan. California voters defeated the previous incarnation of the canal by a wide margin in 1982, but Schwarzenegger and his environmental collaborators are trying to market the "new" peripheral canal by including "eco-language" to make it sound like the canal will "restore" the Delta when its only purpose is to increase water exports to Central Valley agribusiness.�

The Nature Conservancy is in "good company." The Metropolitan Water District's Board of Directors on January 13 unanimously supported the final report from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's cabinet-level advisors that proposes the construction of a "dual conveyance" system in the Delta, beginning in 2011. "The committee's final report serves as a road map to implement lasting Delta solutions for habitat restoration, water conservation and system improvements," claimed Metropolitan board Chairman Timothy F. Brick.�

As the Governor and his collaborators continue to campaign for the canal, Delta pelagic (open water) fish populations continue to collapse. The delta smelt population has declined to its lowest level ever, according to the latest data from the Department of Fish and Game's fall midwater trawl survey. The DFG studies the health of these populations by compiling an "index," a relative measure of abundance. The index declined to 23 this fall, down from the previous low level of 28 last fall.�

American shad also reached a record low level in fall 2008. The index was 271, compared to 533 in 2007 and 9360 in 2003.�

Threadfin shad also declined to a record low population level, down to 450 from 3177 in 2007.�

The Sacramento splittail, a native minnow, declined to the lowest ever level this fall. In fact, no splittail were observed in this yea'rs survey, while only one fish was documented last year!�

Only the striped bass and longfin smelt showed an increase, though the population levels are still precariously low. The striper index rose to 220 from 82 in 2007, both alarming low numbers, according to Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. In contrast, the index was 9500 in 1971, when the population was still healthy before the fish-killing state and federal pumps went into full operation.�

The longfin smelt abundance index rose from a record low of 13 in fall 2007 to 113 this fall. By comparison, the index was 6654 in 1998.�

The crisis in Delta fisheries will not be solved by taking more water out of the Delta through a peripheral canal - a canal will only exacerbate the collapse. Parrilla urged everybody concerned about the fate of the California Delta, the West Coast's largest estuary, to call Senator Diane Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer today and ask them to protect NEPA and all essential environmental laws while helping to develop the Federal economic stimulus package.�

I join Barbara in urging you to call the Senators at the numbers below. And if you have time, please drop her an email to let her know that you called: Barbara [at] restorethedelta.org.�

Senator Diane Feinstein Washington Office: 202-224-3841 -- San Francisco: 415-393-0707-- Los Angeles: 310-914-7300--�

Senator Barbara Boxer: Washington Office: 202-224-3553 -- San Francisco: 415-403-0100 -- Los Angeles: 213-894-5000 --�

About Restore the Delta: Restore the Delta is a grassroots campaign committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta - a coalition of Delta residents, business leaders, civic organizations, community groups, faith-based communities, union locals, farmers, fishermen, and environmentalists - seeks to strengthen the health of the estuary and the well-being of Delta communities. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.�

Website: http://www.restorethedelta.org Restore the Delta: Making the California Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable by 2010!�


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