Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, campaign director of Restore the Delta, today issued an urgent action alert today in response to the introduction of legislation to temporarily suspend the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as it applies to the California Delta pumping facilities during times of drought.
The bill will also establish a Delta Smelt conservation hatchery, a bad idea that was defeated in the State Legislature last year, due to opposition by a coalition of environmental organizations, fishing groups and Delta residents.
Congressman George Radanovich (R-Mariposa) on February 4 introduced H.R. 856, the California Drought Alleviation Act, to bypass the ESA so exports of Delta water to corporate agribusiness in the Central Valley can be increased during this period of drought, a drought that has been largely engineeered by the draining of northern California reservoirs over the past two years by the state and federal governments. He claimed that California agriculture is a “victim” of economic “eco-terrorism” caused by the ESA.
“By allowing the Delta Pumps to operate at increased capacity, the CDAA allows available water to flow to Valley farmers and provides a stimulus to the California economy without costing the taxpayer a dime, Radanovich said in a statement. We cannot allow California agriculture to wither and die because our precious resources are being hijacked by what amounts to economic eco-terrorism in the form of the ESA and the entities that support this damaging law.”
“Of course, Congressman Radanovich has forgotten the economic eco-terrorism that has been inflicted on commercial fisheries, the Delta sportsfishing economy, and Delta agriculture as a result of years of excessive water exports to support Central Valley agri- business,” countered Parrilla.
“Even more disturbing is that Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, has forgotten that he represents people who live in the secondary zone of the Delta and that the people he represents in central Stockton are alarmed over the condition of Delta fisheries and what water exports have done to our local Delta economy,” said Parrilla.
So, here’s how you can help. First, call the eight sponsors of H.R. 856 to express your outrage at their disregard for the economic eco-interests of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Tell them that the business as usual regarding California water policy must end.
Direct them to the Restore the Delta website (http://www.restorethedelta.org) and tell them that Regional Water Self- Sufficiency, rather than moving water from Northern California to Southern California, is the best way to meet California’s water needs. Tell them that they need to focus on breaking dependence on the Delta to meet the state’s water needs. It is the cost effective way, in these difficult economic times, to address our water problems.
In addition, contact the following members of the House Natural Resources Committee to express your opposition to H.R. 856.
“Let them know that increased Delta exports in a time of drought will deal the final deathblow to Delta fisheries,” said Parrilla. “Let them know that the Delta’s $2.5 billion economy is dependent on water flowing into the Delta for fisheries and Delta agriculture. Let them know that Delta farms are mainly family farmers also deserving of economic protection.”
Congressional Sponsors of H.R. 856: Representative George Radonovich (R-CA-District 19) – 202-225-4540; Representative Ken Calvert (R- CA-District 44) – 202-225-1986; Representative Jim Costa (D-CA-20) – 202-225-3341; Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-22) — 202-225-2915; Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA-21) — 202-225- 2523; Representative Dennis Cardoza (D-CA-18) – 202-225-6131; Representative David Dreier (R-CA- 26) – 202-225-2305; Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5)-202-225-2006; Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA-46) – 202-225-2415
Key Members of the House Natural Resource Committee: Representative Rick J. Rahall, II, Chair, (D-WV-3)- 202-225-3452; Representative Grace F. Napolitano (D- CA-38) 202-225-5256; Representative Lois Capps (D- CA-23) – 202-225-3601; Representative Joe Baca (D- CA-43) – 202-225-6161; Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA-24) – 202-225-5811; Representative Tom McClintock (R-CA-4) – 202-225-2511
About Restore the Delta: Restore the Delta is a grassroots campaign committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta – a coalition of Delta residents, business leaders, civic organizations, community groups, faith-based communities, union locals, farmers, fishermen, and environmentalists – seeks to strengthen the health of the estuary and the well-being of Delta communities. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Dan Bacher is an editor of The Fish Sniffer , described as “The #1 Newspaper in the World Dedicated Entirely to Fishermen”