[env-trinity] S 1759 HR 3750

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Wed Dec 9 19:39:14 PST 2009

This is a most interesting and worthwhile, especially from a Trinity River
Restoration point of view, message from Zeke Grader, Executive Director,
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, to the environmental
staff persons for Senators Boxer and Feinstein.  It follows a conference
call last week in which certain language was changed in proposed water
transfer legislation.  Friends of Trinity River opposes this clearly
unnecessary legislation that achieves nothing beyond opening the gates wider
for shipment of more Northern California water south, further fishery and
Delta destruction, and financial benefit to a handful of taxpayer subsidized
mega-irrigators.  Tom Birmingham's remarks to Zeke are most interesting.


> From: Zeke Grader [mailto:zgrader at ifrfish.org] 
> Sent: Wednesday, December 09, 2009 6:45 AM 
> To: 'Lynn_Abramson at boxer.senate.gov'; 'leah_russin at feinstein.senate.gov' 
> Subject: S.1759 
> Lynn and Leah 
> I want to thank both of you for your efforts to try to bring everyone
together S. 1759 and come up with language to facilitate transfers in the
San Joaquin Valley from between those who have water to spare and those who
are short.  What began troubling me after the call, however, was whether the
limited transfers that would be provided for under the revised bill language
would cause additional diversions from the Delta by east side folks to
transfer to the west side.  Westlands, as you know, covets Trinity River
water and I do not want to agree to any scheme that would assist in their
efforts to undo the Trinity ROD.  
> Moreover, as I thought about it, while we're attempting to help growers
who are short on water this year and maybe next by changing the law, what
about trying to help the fishing fleet along coast by seeing to it existing
law is enforced, specifically the CVPIA (I've enclosed my 3 November letter
to you that refers to those sections)? 
> I sat down yesterday and re-read the note that Bill Kier sent you last
Friday afternoon and e-mails from Byron Leydecker (about the only two
"elders" I have left in all of the water wrangling) and realized that I
should have been more concerned, during last week's call on the "proposed
red-line for mark-up" S. 1759  language, with the very real prospect of
water moving from the east to west sides of the San Joaquin Valley only to
be replaced with increased water deliveries from the Delta 
> I guess I was hoping during the conference call that someone just might be
playing it straight with publicly funded water this time.  I certainly
believe both of you are, but I'm not so trusting of some of the interests
pushing for these transfers. 
> Monday afternoon I drove to Fresno to participate in a Fox affiliate
90-minute televised discussion of San Joaquin Valley water issues with a
large panel (sans Sean Hannity) that included Devin Nunes and Tom Birmingham
(with Jim Costa, George Radanovich, and Dennis Cardoza wired in from DC) -
all of whom carped and moaned about the Valley's "loss" of water to the
long-overdue compliance with the law forced by things like the San Joaquin
River settlement agreement. 
> I tried to be civil until Nunes accused my members of being "supposed"
fishermen (he, of course, has no interest in going to Fort Bragg or Eureka
to meet with supposed fishermen) and complained of the millions provided in
disaster relief they finally received in 2008 (he doesn't talk about the
billions in subsidies growers are receiving) when I finally called him
demagogue that he is.  In the backroom following the program, I talked with
some of the growers and offered to work with them on the water problem to
ensure we protect and expand our food production by both farmers and
fishermen.  We really are committed to that, since food, along with energy
and water, will be the contentious issues of this century.  Following that
short exchange I had a few words with Tom Birmingham that ended when he
blurted that if fishermen thought they were getting screwed before in these
water deals, "they haven't seen nothing yet," which got me thinking once
again about the language in S.1759.  
> Frankly I've had it with trying to make nice with some of these water
hustlers.  As my former president, the late Nat Bingham, told a group of
water districts and contractors about 20 years ago, "we'll bend over
backward to work with you, but we're not going to bend over forward." Sorry
to be so crude, but it's about the only language these folks seem to
> As far as I can see, the S. 1759 proponents are pushing back from the
language that we proposed because they really do intend to drain the Trinity
River and, with BOR's help, game every drop of that 800,000 acre-feet a year
the salmon and estuary were supposed to get from CVP yield in the CVPIA.
With California plumbed the way it is - and with these water hustlers
running the show these days - there isn't any way we can go with a bill in
which the BOR says "trust us to do the right thing". They have been nothing
but treacherous for decades 
> We would really appreciate it if you would use the language we offered you
in our 3 November letter. Otherwise, we just see S. 1759 as another plum for
the water hustlers. As Birmingham says, the screwing of the fish and the
fishermen may have only just begun 
> Thanks, Zeke 


Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land

415 519 4810 cell

 <mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net

 <mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org

 <http://fotr.org/> http://www.fotr.org 




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