Of Fish and Foul

The Delta smelt.

Ever heard of  it?

Me either.

Until recently that is. Then I did some homework.

And what did I find, radical environmentalists who value fish over people. No great surprise there. Humans are evil after all.

Now, what we have are farmers who can’t farm because they don’t have enough water. They don’t have enough water because protecting this inedible  fish is more important than the farmers who grow crops in the San Joaquin Valley of California and feed not only us, but many around the world.

The inedible (according to science websites) fish is more important than, say Tomatoes.



Did you know there are food lines in this area because the families can’t farm.

The unemployment rate is the area averages 20% and can go as high as 40%.

In these tough economic times of “Hope and Change” and “saving and creating jobs” here are jobs and hope not worth saving. But an inedible 2-inch long fish is.

However, using the weapon of the Endangered Species Act, environmentalist groups sued, and on December 14, 2007, Judge Oliver Wanger of the United States District Court for the Eastern district of California issued an Interim Remedial Order. The Order remanded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in conjunction with the United States Department of the Interior, to issue an opinion or permit that dramatically reduced the delivery of water from the Delta.

The result has been the diversion of tens of billions of gallons of fresh water away from vital agriculture and population needs and directly into the Pacific Ocean. A precious resource essentially wasted.

The impact on farmers in the area has been devastating with the San Joaquin Valley unemployment rate reaching 14% and leaving thousands of previously productive farming acres scorched and unusable. In addition, water utilities in southern California have already begun raising rates and creating tiered pricing to address the 85% reduction in imported water. To make matters worse, California is already under drought conditions, and in combination with the Delta pumping restrictions, local politicians are calling for Draconian reductions in water use by individuals of 40%. (examiner)

California Fish & Game:

By the end of 1993, the population trend for delta smelt changed from stable to increasing. However, annual changes in the population appear to be affected by the amount of outflow from the Estuary which varies from year to year due to precipitation and water management. In 1994, the population trend as measured by the fall abundance survey indicated that the population was at the lowest point in the 26 years of the survey. In 1995, with the extreme amount of rainfall we have received, there is concern that a large portion of larvae that were spawned may have been flushed out of the Estuary.

In just one year it went from increasing to the lowest level in 26 years.

But it went on the Endangered Species list in 1993, when it was “stable to increasing”.

But the next year it was  crisis!

Hmmm….sounds familiar somehow… 🙂

But 15 years pass.

The environmentalist say  it’s population is an indicator of health in the delta region so they used the Endangered Species Act to divert the water from the farm towards the ocean instead just recently in 2008, 15 years after the Endangered Species Act listed them, Citing endangerment of Chinook salmon as one of the reasons also. (more on this later).

Then, when I saw the special last night on Sean Hannity’s show (yes, that evil right wing extremist!) they had a ‘defender’ of the faith of environmentalism on and all he could do was shout about the harm the farmers were doing to the salmon and how “greedy” farmers were “selling their water to Southern California”. He also a member of a federation of fish farmers too.

What water?  The water they don’t have to farm with to begin with?

Then in doing my homework came across and old bit I editorialized on back in 2007 when I was on message boards. In 2007  Starkist, the famous tuna company, was mysteriously give an exemption from minimum wage laws that swept American Somoa. One of the major investors in the company is Paul Pelosi. Yes, you guessed it, the husband of Sen. Nancy Pelosi, the then just named new Speaker of The House, who was going to “drain the swamp” of corruption. Del Monte Foods, which owns Starkist (sold to them by Heinz – as in Heinz-Kerry) based in San Francisco has tuna plants in American Samoa.

Also, Nancy Pelosi owns wine orchards in North California.

And then when you see the environmentalist all talking about salmon. I know, it’s not tuna, I began to wonder.

Then I started reading about environmentalist who wanted to start solar farms, as in “global warming” friendly solar farms in the Bay area.

“Green Jobs”

Sound Familiar?

And it began to stink, and not of dying smelt.

Delta smelt make a convenient scapegoat, but driving smelt and salmon to extinction by eliminating the ESA won’t solve the Valley’s problems.  What’s needed is a far more comprehensive program of investing in alternative water supplies like groundwater banks and water recycling, continuing to improve agricultural water use efficiency and practices, developing “solar farms” and new green jobs, and helping people get through these tough, dry years. (NRDC blog)

The NRDC, National Resources Defense Council were one of the plaintiffs in the recent court case that shut off the water.

Since Nancy Pelosi is cited as one of the power players who refuses to reverse the ruling I began to wonder about politics, power, and money.

All this talk of Salmon, “green jobs” and “comprehensive reform” just makes my Cynic Radar buzz.

I have not made up my mind yet, but as a very cynical individual I have to wonder what’s really the end game.

Much like the end game for health care is not affordable health care for everyone.

You got to wonder.

From LA Times op ed in 2007:

“A slightly closer look at the delta smelt shows us a third reason to rescue the fish from oblivion — it’s actually pretty impressive. While most fish are hard-wired either for salt or fresh water, the delta smelt tolerates both, a talent that allows it to exploit the brackish zone where the waters meet. Before there were giant aquatic vacuum cleaners in its midst to send water south, it could afford to be a weak swimmer because it mastered the cyclical ebbs and flows of the estuary, exploiting the system’s inhalations and exhalations to get where it needed to go.

Finally, the Torah says that if you save an individual, you save an entire universe. How much truer that is for a whole kind of creature. Nothing else on Earth lives the way the delta smelt does, senses the world the way it does, looks like it, moves like it, fits into an ecosystem the way it does. If we drive it from existence, we will have obliterated an entire world, willingly, in order for a while longer to grow cotton, rice and alfalfa in the desert, to keep our swimming pools topped off and open, to keep the price of water cheap.”

There are many problems with this, the biggest being that the delta smelt is unique, living in both fresh and saltwater areas. Well, that’s not unique, at least according to the US Dept of Energy “ask a A Scientist”:

Approximately 2% of all 21000 species of fish actually move from freshwater to saltwater or from salt to fresh at some point in their lives, the move would kill any other fish.

And there the cheap liberal class warfare “greed” shot about pools. Sound like liberal tactics you’ve seen recently?

The Judge who ruled in 2008 in favor of the environmentalists:

In issuing the injunction, Wanger agreed with the plaintiffs that the reduction of exports to their agricultural operations would result in “irreparable” economic and environmental harm in violation of NEPA.(The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions.)

Plaintiffs have shown that irreparable harm will likely occur in the absence of injunctive relief, including loss of water supplies, damage to permanent crops, including orchards and vineyards, crop loss or reduction in crop productivity, job losses, reductions in public school enrollment, limitations on public services, impaired ability to reduce the toxic effects of salt and other minerals in the soil, groundwater overdraft, increased energy consumption, and land fallowing that causes air quality problems,” said Wanger.

And this is  why he ruled to TURN OFF THE WATER!

Anyone else see the Orwellian doublethink here?

Because this is exactly what did happen BECAUSE he turned off the water to save the inedible, not unique, 2-inch fish.

So, if the ruling to turn off the water to save us from the above, and the above is the result of the ruling then the ruling had the opposite effect.

So, in this era of the “greatest recession since the great depression” why is no one in Washington interested in reversing the ruling?


The silence from Washington is deafening.

So there has to be a different end game in mind.

“Green jobs”

“Comprehensive reform”

Be Afraid. Be very afraid.

Oh, and enjoy your imported, more expensive foreign produce all in the name of a 2-inch inedible fish.

2 thoughts on “Of Fish and Foul

  1. When is the government going to understand the phrase “servant of the people”? Their imperial egos need adjustment. Don’t vote for the “free” stuff you are promised by “change” but rather use your head and ask yourself, “when is the last time I got anything for free?”

  2. I don’t know If I said it already but …Great site…keep up the good work. 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

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