Those who would speak out, say something different, have a hard time to get any attention from anyone. All I have to do is to take you back to my favorite subject. the San Joaquin / Sacramento Delta. The overriding issue is whether the water there is safe to swim in, whether it will sustain fish, whether it can be used for farming. Why are these questions important? The Delta supplies the drinking water for over 20 million Californians and irrigation for over half a million acres of farm land.
Now, we find out that this state, with its "I won't raise taxes" governor and a legislature that can not meet a deadline to come up with a budget are letting our water resources fall apart as surely as the I-35 W bridge in Minneapolis.
In a press release from the California Sportfishing Protection Association today, Executive Director Bill Jennings lays it out clearly.
The Executive Officer of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) has acknowledged that the Board is so understaffed that it can’t meet its core regulatory mission of protecting the State’s water quality. This stunning admission came during Executive Officer Pamela Creedon’s State of the Central Valley Region presentation at the 2 August 2007 meeting of the Board. The Central Valley Region covers nearly 40% of the State’s land area, provides drinking water to two-thirds of the State’s population and includes reservoirs storing nearly 30 million acre feet of water. According to State reports, virtually all of the
waterways within the Region are impaired by an astonishing array of pesticides, metals, salts, pathogens, fertilizers and industrial chemicals.
Ms. Creedon admitted that, based upon a needs assessment, the Board has only:
a) 12% of the staff necessary to regulate stormwater discharges,
b) 16% of those required to regulate dairies,
c) 37% necessary to control municipal wastewater discharges,
d) 40% of those needed to regulate landfills,
e) 26% of those necessary to control discharges of waste to land and
f) only 22% of the staff crucial to enforcing conditions of the controversial agricultural waivers.
Since most of the media won't cover this (they claim that the public's eyes glaze over), it is up to people like Jennings and Dan Bacher (Ed. The Fish Sniffer) and Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla from Restore the Delta
I fail to see the major environmental organizations (Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, etc.) taking effective action here. They talk all around the issue but when it comes down to time to actually do something, they convene another study group.
Be that as it may, even they are far ahead of the Green Party, which very few take seriously as a voice for ecological justice, mostly because the party is silent. We can turn out a few people for a demonstration now and then, but to actually organize and do some work? Fugetaboutit.
There are a lot of people who need to be educated and the one group that I see educating people is Restore the Delta. Schwarzenegger's solution is a peripheral canal (pipe?) that would drain even more fresh water from the delta to supply population growth in our urban centers or irrigation for high water demand crops such as alfalfa and cotton. Restore the Delta is, at least, trying to explain why this is bad and what we need to do instead. Let me refer you to their newsletter, Delta Flows, published today.
Besides recapping what I quoted from Jennings above, they put the blame right where it belongs.
Ecological restoration of the Delta will only happen with removal of the government barriers that are preventing restoration. These barriers include ineffective government policies and non-enforcement of laws resulting in (1) excessive freshwater exports either through the Delta or around the Delta (peripheral canal/pipe) continuing; (2) and incoming freshwater flows not meeting Clean Water Act standards.Yes, it is our government, and ultimately ourselves who continue to fall for all of the Howard Jarvis lower tax BS. When our survival is at stake, maybe it is time to dig down and pay for the work that we need to have done.
Restore the Delta will be hosting a community seminar entitled “So What Is a Peripheral Pipe?” on September 19, 2007. This event will feature a community update on Restore the Delta activities, a talk on the effects of a peripheral pipe on the Delta by the Delta’s famous water rights attorney Dante Nomellini, and several other noteworthy environmental speakers.
The event will be held at the Sunset Bar and Grill at Tower Park Resort 14900 W. Highway 12, Lodi. A dinner buffet will be available at 6:00 p.m. The program will begin at 6:30 and last until 8:15 p.m. Dinner costs $20 per person, including tax and gratuities, and is payable at the door. Restore the Delta will provide coffee and dessert.
Lodi, that is where Pete McCloskey took his carpetbag to take on Richard Pombo. Maybe he knows the way back and can bring a few good friends.