[env-trinity] Chico News & Review Editorial

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Jul 22 16:04:00 PDT 2010

Drought's real victims: It was fishermen, not farmers, who suffered most
Chico News & Review-7/22/10

Think back a year or so, to last summer, when San Joaquin Valley farmers
were predicting economic disaster because of reduced water allotments.
That's when Fox News blowhard Sean Hannity descended on Fresno County's west
side to accuse federal officials and environmentalists of turning the region
into a modern dust bowl to protect "a two-inch fish," the Delta smelt.

In his zeal to condemn environmentalists and federal officials and make
wealthy westside corporate agribusinesses happy, Hannity conveniently
ignored the impact Delta pumping schedules had on the recreational and
commercial fishing industries in Northern California. So much water had been
pulled from the Delta to send southward that the salmon fishery collapsed,
and the salmon harvest was essentially wiped out, putting thousands of
fishermen out of business.

Yes, the drought hurt the valley. Westside towns like Mendota and Huron that
are populated mostly by farm workers were hit especially hard. And Fresno
County farm revenues were indeed down last year but by only 4.5 percent,
according to the county's annual crop report, issued in mid-June. The county
produced $5.4 billion in receipts, exceeding $5 billion for the third year
in a row.

This year there's been more water, and life has gotten better in the San
Joaquin Valley. The real problem in 2009 was the drought, not
environmentalists or federal officials, as Hannity so grandiosely charged.
And the real long-term victims were not the westside growers, or even their
employees, who today are back at work, but rather the fishermen along the
coast, who must contend with depleted fisheries for years to come because of
the ability of the powerful ag industry to divert water southward.#



Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land/fax

415 519 4810 mobile

bwl3 at comcast.net 

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org 



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