[env-trinity] Sacramento Bee Editorial 2 14 10

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Mon Feb 15 15:23:22 PST 2010

This editorial also ran in the Bee's sister newspaper the Merced Star 2 15


Editorial: Feinstein's play threatens to roil the water world

Published: Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 6E 

In her long and mostly distinguished career,
<http://topics.sacbee.com/U.S.+Sen.+Dianne+Feinstein/> U.S. Sen. Dianne
Feinstein has championed many environmental causes. At times she has also
challenged environmentalists to consider interests other than their own.

That's good. Feinstein's independent streak is one of her assets as a U.S.
senator and a leader of  <http://topics.sacbee.com/California/> California.

Feinstein, however, also has been known to take reckless stands. She is
doing so now, with plans to amend a fast-moving jobs bill to reduce
Endangered Species Act protections for fish, including salmon, in the
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Sacramento-San+Joaquin+Delta/> Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta. 

Feinstein's amendment, if enacted, would increase
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Delta./> Delta pumping to benefit certain farms in
the  <http://topics.sacbee.com/San+Joaquin+Valley/> San Joaquin Valley.
Those agricultural operations, ranging from small farms to lucrative
corporate empires, have seen their irrigation supplies drop due to drought
and court decisions involving  <http://topics.sacbee.com/Delta./> Delta
smelt and other fish. 

In a statement Thursday, Feinstein said she was seeking this amendment
because, in so many words, water is being wasted. "Water has been gushing
past the canals and into the oceans while farms on the west side of the
valley are likely to receive a very low percentage of their water
allocations," she said.

Feinstein is grossly oversimplifying the water situation in the
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Delta./> Delta and the valley. 

At certain times of the year, juvenile salmon and other fish need adequate
flows to reach the ocean or to avoid being sucked into the giant pumps that
deliver water to  <http://topics.sacbee.com/Southern+California/> Southern
California, the  <http://topics.sacbee.com/Bay+Area/> Bay Area and the San
Joaquin Valley. Feinstein's amendment threatens those fish. It could be
especially harmful to  <http://topics.sacbee.com/California/> California's
salmon runs, which shrank to record low numbers in 2009, according to a
report last week by the
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Pacific+Fisheries+Management+Council/> Pacific
Fisheries Management Council.

Feinstein's action poses other threats. For the last two years, moderate
environmental groups have been working with water exporters on a
conservation plan for the  <http://topics.sacbee.com/Delta/> Delta. This
coalition helped pass water legislation last year and is studying plans for
a canal, tunnel or other form of conveyance for the
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Delta/> Delta. That could possibly reduce
conflicts over fish and produce more reliable
<http://topics.sacbee.com/water+supplies/> water supplies for exporters.

Yet if Feinstein's amendment were to pass, it would likely end this delicate
detente and lead to years of more litigation and fighting over the
<http://topics.sacbee.com/Delta/> Delta. 

Feinstein should be smart enough to know this. The question is: Is she smart
enough to acknowledge that she's made a serious error in judgment? 



Byron Leydecker, JcT, Chair

Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 Land/Fax (Call first to Fax) 

415 519 4810 Mobile

bwl3 at comcast.net

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org (Secondary)

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


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