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