[env-trinity] Schwarzenegger Launches Green Corps As California Fisheries Collapse

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Tue Mar 17 10:38:56 PDT 2009


Schwarzenegger Launches Green Corps As California Fisheries Collapse

by Dan Bacher

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has presided over the  
unprecedented collapse of Central Valley Chinook salmon, delta smelt,  
longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish populations while  
gutting the Department of Fish and Game, tried yet again to cast  
himself in the role of the "Green Governor" by launching the  
"California Green Corps" Tuesday.

Schwarzenegger announced the formation of the corps immediately after  
meeting with President Obama’s Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis in  
Sacramento to discuss federal economic stimulus funding and job  
creation. In yet another cynical attempt to add a green veneer to the  
worst-ever administration for fish and the environment in California  
history, Schwarzenegger claimed that the California Green Corps "will  
place at-risk young adults aged 16-24 into jobs in California’s  
emerging green economy."

“President Obama and I share similar priorities right now when it  
comes to helping the economy rebound and creating a greener  
California and America,” contended Governor Schwarzenegger. “In  
California we will utilize federal economic stimulus funds and public- 
private partnerships to help stimulate our economy while initiating  
actions to improve our environment. Green jobs are exactly what our  
economy and environment need right now – and the California Green  
Corps targets that need while helping at-risk young adults realize a  
brighter future.”

He said the "initial phase" of the California Green Corps will  
consist of a 20-month pilot program reaching at least 1,000 of  
California’s at-risk young adults. It will invest "at least $10  
million in federal economic stimulus funding from the U.S. Department  
of Labor and an additional $10 million from public-private  
partnerships."

The program will consist of a minimum of 10 regional Green Corps  
throughout the state – with at least one regional Green Corps located  
in each of California’s nine economic regions. All programs will be  
"public-private partnerships" that include green job training, a  
stipend, an educational requirement and community service.

"To help ensure the success of the Green Corps, it will be housed  
under CaliforniaVolunteers – an agency in a unique position to  
leverage federal economic stimulus funding and to work with public- 
private partnerships and across state agencies," according to the  
Governor. "This program furthers the goals of California’s Green  
Collar Jobs Council which was created when the Governor signed  
Assembly Bill 3018 in September 2008. The Council is charged with  
developing a comprehensive approach to address the workforce needs  
associated with California’s emerging green economy."

"We will need construction workers, cost estimators, energy analysts,  
computer technicians, salespersons, scientists, engineers, and many  
others," according to a corps facts sheet.

I'm a big supporter of "green jobs," but under this Governor, what  
will the young "Green Corps" members be forced to do? Will he force  
them to fulfill his "Delta Vision" of a creating a dead estuary by  
training them as construction workers, engineers and cost estimators  
engaged in building a peripheral canal and more dams as part of a  
"public-private partnership? Will they be trained as salespersons and  
scientists to market the "need" to build the canal and dams to the  
media and the public?

Will they be forced to work as engineers and construction workers on  
cosmetic, greenwashing "habitat restoration" projects that make  
streams look pretty while their fish populations die as the water is  
diverted for corporate agriculture and urban development?

Will they go distribute notices to Delta farmers informing them that  
their lands are going to be seized by eminent domain because they are  
on the route of the peripheral canal? Will the Governator have them  
take down levees to make sections of the Delta into salt marsh,  
rather than the fresh and brackish water habitat the Delta has been  
historically?

Since the governor has vetoed legislation twice limiting the  
environmentally destructive practice of suction dredge gold mining  
mining, will he order corps members to conduct "outreach" on the  
state's rivers and streams to promote suction dredging regardless of  
its impact on endangered salmon, lampreys and green sturgeon?

Will Schwarzenegger command the corps to clean up all of the dead,  
rotting chinook salmon, coho salmon, steelhead, delta smelt, longfin  
smelt, striped bass, green sturgeon and other species that will  
result from his persistent advancing of the interests of the timber  
industry, corporate agribusiness and developers over fish and wildlife?

Will the corps members be hired to serve as de facto enforcement  
officers to patrol the state's growing marine protected areas that  
kick sustainable fishermen and seaweed harvesters off the water?  
After all, California already has the worst wardens per capita ratio  
in the United and 98 wardens and cadets recently received layoff  
notices, resulting in an epidemic of fish and wildlife poaching, and  
patrolling redundant MPAs would be a "wise" use of the corps members  
time!

Of course, I know that many will laud the Governor for launching the  
"Green Corps." However, anybody that takes even a cursory look at the  
state of California's fish populations will realize that there is  
nothing "green" about Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Federal and state scientists estimate that only 66,264 natural and  
hatchery adult fall Chinooks returned to the Sacramento River basin  
in 2008, the lowest spawning escapement on record. Recreational and  
commercial fishing in ocean waters off California and most of Oregon  
and was closed for the first time in history in 2008 and is expected  
to be closed again this year.

While the Bush and Schwarzenegger administrations claimed "ocean  
conditions" were the cause of the collapse, respected scientists,  
recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, environmentalists and  
members of California Indian Tribes point to massive increases in  
water exports and the mismanagement of Central Valley dam operations  
as key factors behind the decline.

The DFG's 2008 fall mid-water trawl survey shows abundance estimates  
for delta smelt, American shad, Sacramento splittail and threadfin  
shad to be the lowest in 41 years. The longfin smelt indices are the  
fourth lowest on record and young of the year striped bass abundance  
estimates are the sixth lowest. (For more information, go to http:// 
www.calsport.org). Again, record water exports and mismanagement of  
dam operations under the Bush and Schwarzenegger administrations,  
along with increases in toxics and invasive species, are the primary  
reasons behind the collapse of these species.

It will be interesting to see what the Governor and his staff really  
mean by training people in "green jobs." If Schwarzenegger's past  
performance is any indication, the California Green Corps will end up  
being yet one more carefully calculated greenwashing scheme by the  
Governor to divert attention from his deplorable management of  
California fish and the environment!

For additional information about the California Green Corps please  
visit: http://gov.ca.gov/fact-sheet/11753.
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