[env-trinity] Counterpunch - Jerry Brown: Worse Than Schwarzenegger on Environment?

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Wed Jun 19 09:49:21 PDT 2013


JUNE 12, 2013


Brown Proclaims 'Great Outdoors Month' as He Plots Delta's Destruction
Jerry Brown: Worse Than Schwarzenegger on Environment?
Governor Jerry Brown on Friday, June 7 issued a proclamation  
declaring June as “Great Outdoors Month” in California.  
Ironically, the same Governor is fast-tracking the Bay Delta  
Conservation Plan (BDCP), a $54.1 billion dollar project that would  
divert massive quantities of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin  
River Delta, leading to the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook  
salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green  
sturgeon and other species.

“Our state’s scenic landscapes have always been a source of pride  
and pleasure,” proclaimed Brown. “From mountain trails in the High  
Sierra to a coastline that has captured the heart of millions,  
Californians benefit from unparalleled opportunities to enjoy some of  
the world’s most beloved and spectacular outdoor places.”

“Today, I invite all Californians to experience some small piece of  
the varied and magnificent land of California,” he said.

The full text of the proclamation is available here.

Could this proclamation be a hidden warning from Brown to now enjoy  
California’s rivers, ocean and other iconic landscapes, including  
the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, since these wild places may  
no be available for much longer as he pushes for the construction of  
the peripheral tunnels and other environmentally destructive projects?

A front page article written by Matt Weiser in the Sacramento Bee on  
Sunday, June 9 confirms what anglers, commercial fishermen, Indian  
Tribe leaders, family farmers, environmentalists and Delta residents  
have been saying all along – the construction of the tunnels would  
likely result in saltier conditions on the Delta, threatening  
imperiled fish populations and Delta farms.

“The two giant water diversion tunnels Gov. Jerry Brown proposes  
building in the Delta would be large enough to meet annual water  
needs for a city such as Newport Beach in a single day’s gulp from  
the Sacramento River,” said Weiser.

“That gulp, however, would also prevent a lot of fresh water from  
flowing through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This would likely  
make water saltier for farms near Isleton and cities such as Antioch,  
which draws some of its drinking water from the Delta,” he concluded.

Read more here.

There is no doubt that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the  
twin tunnels is based on a false assumption – that taking more water  
from the estuary will somehow “restore” the ecosystem. To my  
knowledge, there is not one single case in world history where  
diverting more water out of a river or estuary has led to an  
ecosystem’s restoration.

Unfortunately, Brown’s rush to build the peripheral tunnels, in an  
effort to create some sort of “legacy” for himself by increasing  
already massive exports of northern California water to corporate  
agribusiness and oil companies, is not the only abysmal  
Schwarzenegger administration environmental policy that he has  
continued and expanded. Brown continued and expanded the massive  
water exports and fish kills at the Delta pumps that the  
Schwarzenegger regime became notorious for.

The Brown administration authorized the export of record water  
amounts of water from the Delta in 2011 – 6,520,000 acre-feet,  
217,000 acre feet more than the previous record of 6,303,000 acre  
feet set in 2005 under the Schwarzenegger administration.

Brown also presided over the “salvage” of a record 9 million  
Sacramento splittail and over 2 million other fish including Central  
Valley salmon, steelhead, striped bass, largemouth bass, threadfin  
shad, white catfish and sturgeon in the state and federal Delta  
export pumping facilities in 2011. Since the actual number of fish  
lost in the pumps is at least 5 to 10 times those reported as  
“salvaged,” the actual total number of fish killed that year could  
have been 55 million to 110 million.

In addition, Brown and Natural Resources Secretary John Laird  
continued the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA)  
Initiative started by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2004. The conflicts  
of interest, failure to comprehensively protect the ocean, shadowy  
private funding, incomplete and terminally flawed science and  
violation of the Yurok Tribe’s traditional harvesting rights have  
made the MLPA Initiative to create so-called “marine protected areas  
into one of the worst examples of corporate greenwashing in  
California history.

In a huge conflict of interest, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of  
the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life  
Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so- 
called “marine protected areas” in Southern California. Reheis- 
Boyd, the oil industry’s lead lobbyist for fracking, offshore oil  
drilling, the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and the  
evisceration of environmental laws, also served on the MLPA task  
forces for the North Coast, North Central Coast and Central Coast.

These so-called “Yosemites of the Sea” fail to protect the ocean  
from oil spills and drilling, fracking, pollution, wind and wave  
energy projects, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean  
other than fishing and gathering. (intercontinentalcry.org/the-five- 

More recently, John Laird, Brown’s Natural Resources Secretary, has  
launched a privately funded effort to “reform” the State Parks.  
According to a Sacramento Bee article, “Parks Forward will be funded  
by grants from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the S.D.  
Bechtel Jr. Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and others, under  
the auspices of the Resources Legacy Fund.

These foundations include those that funded the MLPA Initiative and  
the Public Policy Institute “studies” promoting the construction  
of the peripheral tunnels. You can bet that the people Laird is  
likely to appoint to this Commission will include corporate  
operatives and greenwashers who have anything but the public trust  
and public interest in mind.

Other environmental policies of the Schwarzenegger administration  
that Brown and Laird have embraced and expanded include engineering  
the collapse of six Delta fish populations by pumping massive  
quantities of water out of the Delta; presiding over the annual  
stranding of endangered coho salmon on the Scott and Shasta rivers,  
major tributaries of the Klamath River; clear cutting forests in the  
Sierra Nevada; and decimating our coastal wetlands by turning them  
into “theme park wetlands,” as in the case of the Ballona Wetlands.

To top it all off, Brown and Laird have embraced the corruption and  
conflicts of interests that infest California environmental processes  
and government bodies ranging from the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to  
the regional water boards.

The message is clear: if people want make sure that “Great  
Outdoors” of California are preserved so that future generations of  
Californians can enjoy our iconic river, ocean and mountain  
landscapes, they must fight against the construction of the  
peripheral tunnels, massive water exports out of the Delta, plans to  
privatize the state parks and other bad environmental policies of the  
Brown administration.

Dan Bacher can be reached at: Danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
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