Article by Dan Bacher
March 25, 2016
Governor Jerry Brown on March 22 issued a statement celebrating World Water Day and the White House Water Water Summit as he continues to promote the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history, the California Water Fix to build the Delta Tunnels
“On World Water Day – as California’s drought stretches on – we’re reminded that no matter where you live, access to water is not guaranteed,” proclaims Brown. “With today’s Summit and the Federal Action Plan, the Obama Administration is confronting this reality and planning for the future.”
“The White House Water Summit focused on water challenges throughout the country, including California’s drought, and ways to build a more resilient water future,” according to the Governor’s Office.
Ahead of the Summit, the Obama Administration released a Presidential Memorandum and Federal Action Plan that aim to bolster long-term drought resilience in the United States by setting drought resilience policy goals, directing specific drought resilience activities to be completed by the end of the year and permanently establishing the National Drought Resilience Partnership as an interagency task force responsible for coordinating drought resilience, response and recovery efforts.
The Governor’s Office proclaims, “These efforts complement the state’s updated California Water Action Plan, released earlier this year, which lays out the actions that must be taken to protect water supplies for people and the environment and to fix the state’s critical water resource problems.”
One of the key components of the California Water Action Plan to “fix the state’s critical water resource problems” is the California Water Fix to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to export Central Valley and Trinity River water to corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies, and oil companies conducting fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods in Kern County.
The Delta Tunnels Plan, with an estimated cost of up to $67 billion. would not yield one single drop of new water. Yet it would hasten the extinction of Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, along with imperiling the salmon and steelhead runs on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.
Brown’s aggressive promotion of the California Water Fix to build the Delta Tunnels is just one of his many horrible environmental policies that make him undoubtedly one of the worst Governors for fish, water and the environment in recent California history.
Brown wholeheartedly supports water management operations that have brought winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species closer and closer to extinction.
The population of Delta smelt, an indicator species that demonstrates the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, has declined to a new record low population level, according to the spring 2016 surveys conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). (www.dailykos.com/…)
The Delta smelt collapse is part of an overall ecosystem decline driven by water diversions by the federal and state water projects, The CDFW’s 2015 Fall Midwater Trawl demonstrates that, since 1967, populations of striped bass, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, American shad, splittail and threadfin shad have declined by 99.7, 98.3, 99.9, 97.7, 98.5 and 93.7 percent, respectively, according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA).
The Brown administration has also been embroiled in a number of major scandals, including delaying the declaration of an emergency in the Porter Ranch Gas Blowout for many months while his sister, Kathleen, received a big salary as a board member of Sempra Energy, the company that owns SoCalGas. (redgreenandblue.org/…)
His appointees on the Coastal Commission recently fired the respected Executive Director, Charles Lester, under pressure from big developers and corporate interests.
Under Brown, the Department of Conservation has become known as a virtual subsidiary of the oil and gas industries as it has been mired in one scandal after another as the Governor promotes the expansion of fracking and other extreme oil extraction techniques in California.
The scandals range from Browns’ firing of the two top oil industry regulators in 2011 because they wouldn’t violate the Clean Water Drinking Act by expediting oil drilling permits, to the appointment of a Big Oil industry executive as district deputy for the Bakersfield in the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. ( www.eastbayexpress.com/…)
Jerry Brown also oversaw the completion of so-called “marine protected areas” under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, overseen by a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate interests, in December 2012. These faux “Yosemites of the Sea” fail to protect the ocean from oil drilling, fracking, pollution, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
The “marine protected” areas created under the process continue to violate the traditional fishing and harvesting rights of the Yurok Tribe and other North Coast Tribes and are based on false assumptions and terminally flawed “science.”
As it those examples of Brown’s tainted environmental legacy weren’t enough, Brown has promoted carbon trading and REDD policies that pose an enormous threat to Indigenous Peoples around the globe; has done nothing to stop clearcutting of forests by Sierra Pacific and other companies; presided over record water exports from the Delta in 2011; and oversaw massive fish kills of Sacramento splittail and other fish species in 2011. (www.alternet.org/…)
Unfortunately, in spite of all of these horrible policies and scandals, the mainstream media still provides fawning coverage of Brown’s cynical grandstanding about “climate change” and “green energy” at climate conferences and photo opportunities. This takes place even though Brown continually promotes the agendas of Big Oil, corporate agribusiness and other Big Money interests here in California.
The contributions to Governor Brown’s Proposition 1 campaign in the fall of 2014 illustrate how corporate interests have been able to completely capture his administration’s environmental policies. Big Money donors, including corporate agribusiness interests, timber barons, billionaires, Big Oil, HMOs and others, dumped $21.8 million into the campaign. This influx of tainted money resulted in Brown breaking his “promise” that bond money wouldn’t be used to mitigate environmental damage caused by the tunnels. (www.eastbayexpress.com/…)
When the mainstream media greenwashes Brown’s abysmal environmental record, they not only provide a false narrative about his policies, but become complicit in his war on fish, rivers, the Delta, the oceans and the people of California. As far as I know, I’m the only journalist who has looked at Brown’s environmental policies as a whole, and not just specific areas of it such as the Delta Tunnels and fracking.
Brown has received favorable ratings from California voters in recent polls, but he would get much lower ratings if the mainstream media would tell the truth about Brown’s environmental policies.
For the latest update on the Delta Tunnels Plan, go to: fishsniffer.com/…