Monday, June 27, 2011

Top 10 Things You Should Know About The Farm Bill | Environmental Working Group

With all of the discussion discussion in Washington about cutting costs, it is really disgusting that they have not taken the Farm Bill into account. I guess that the fact Representative Ryan is from a farm state makes a difference. The Environmental Working Group has provided a concise list of what we mostly don't know about the cost of our food and why our taxes are so high.

Here is just one item from their list.
1) The farm bill doles out billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies to the largest five commodity crops: corn, cotton, rice, wheat and soybeans. Those payments go out, regardless of need, and they mostly fail to help the nation’s real working farm and ranch families. In fact, since 1995, just 10 percent of American farms – the largest and wealthiest operations – have raked in 74 percent of all subsidy payments.

The last time the farm subsidies came up for review, both our Democratic Senators, Feinstein and Boxer, supported the continuation of business as usual. Guess they know which side of the aisle is buttered.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My enemy's enemy is ????

My first introduction to the politics of the middle east was from the pages ofr a Leon Uris novel. That was not an unbiased source. I was much older before I read Revolt in the Desert by T. E. Lawrence. From that, I got a real understanding of the idea that my enemy's enemy is my friend and how that works in tribal cultures. As I now read what some Progressives are saying about middle easter politics, I think that they too are following that line of reasoning.

The United States has a long history of supporting some very bad people for a similar reason. The name of Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi comes to mind, not to mention Indonesia's Sukarno or Cuba's Fulgencia Batista or Egypt's Mubarak. It is a lesson that we never seem to learn, because, eventually, the stability we seek always breaks down and those we supported can only maintain their position through violent repression of dissent.

One would think that progressives would not make the same mistake, but they seem to always find a way to make heroes out of some very bad people just because they offer opposition to another "enemy". Oh, what evils we perpetuate just to make a powerful friend. Such actions should garner the derision of all Greens. Especially in the Middle East where the perpetuation of power means continues the suppression of the rights of women in many countries, denying them the right to education, the freedome to travel as they please or even to drive a car.

Cynthia McKinney's was applauded by many for taking part in the Gaza flotilla. Her words were definitely anti-Israel, but in the name of peace and the recognition of the rights of the Palestinians.

Her subsequent actions, participating in an Iranian show Conference, issuing press releases that in support of Lybia, have squandered much of any good will she might have gained. Now, I read a post calling for Greens to distance themselves from McKinney. Rather, it seems to me, that in her search for anti-Israel support she has chosen to align herself with the wrong people.

In a search for a possible Presidential candidate for 2012, I hope that Greens realize McKinney has left us, no longer standing up for woman's rights in oppressive societies with dictatorial leadership. Be it Iran, Lybia or Syria, there is little doubt that the Arab Spring will turn into a Winter of our Discontent when seeming progresswives align with the likes of Ahmadinejad, Qadaffi or Asad.

Population and Water Uses

Agricultural and urban water uses exist side-by-side in any pie graph of water uses for any region. As users address issues of the water resource supplies and demands, the debates focus on one user’s efficiency over the others. When taken out of the regional context, the debate quickly degenerates into accusations where everyone can point at the others for various behaviors that disproportionately impact on efficiency or consumptive uses. When taken within the context of regional uses, it enables everyone to ask: What is important to us all and how do we prioritize our use of limited regional resources?

Often farmers are blamed for raising alfalfa or other high water use crops. Other times they are told by academics or urban advocates how the size (or the business model) of their farms are responsible for corporate domination. Or the type of irrigation used and whether their land has been laser-leveled lies at the root of depleted water supplies. Everyone knows how to farm, just like everyone knows how to teach. When met across a regional planning table, farmers can address the many factors required to maintain a stable business that are beyond the control of them as individuals. It is worth saying here that our agricultural produce supplies have never been tested to the point of famines, as has been seen in nations around the world.

The factor of population is often used to address the issue of water efficiency. Developers and land attorneys actively engaged in the water planning process focus on the efficiency of urban uses without referencing their own financial interests in so doing. Agribusinesses can do so as well. As Greens, sustainability is our own critical factor, but it is NOT an excuse to invite disaster upon the world’s peoples. In regional planning, the discussions incorporate quantity and quality, and necessarily include effective AND efficient water use by our communities and our neighbors. The recent release of the PPIC Report MANAGING CALIFORNIA’S WATER: FROM CONFLICT TO RECONCILIATION has recently been juxtaposed with the release of the report MUNICIPAL DELIVERIES OF COLORADO RIVER BASIN WATER by the Pacific Institute. Both include the impacts of population on urban water use.

Increase in population is inherent in reviewing water management issues and if it is disregarded it is done so at the risk of our well-being. “This population growth has serious implications for food and energy production and urban expansion, all of which will place increasing pressure on available fresh water supplies.” (QUENCHING URBAN THIRST: GROWING CITIES AND THEIR IMPACTS ON FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS, by Thomas W. Fitzhugh and Brian D. Richter, Bioscience, August 2004, Vol. 54, No. 8; page 741). It is worth saying for the uninitiated water advocates that river returns are more often credited to users even when they come from the depletion of underground aquifers, as a result of interstate river compacts. The result of this is that a microchip manufacturer can project an image as highly “efficient” water users in Albuquerque, even while they daily withdraw millions of gallons of water from local users. Rarely, do farmers have water appropriations adjusted when they are returned to surface supplies or when recharged to aquifers by percolation. Municipalities along the Colorado River studied by the Pacific Institute are credited for such return flows. This gives cities a much greener projection than their reality may in fact prove to be and benefits them in the paper water world of accounting.

The use of diversions in California has impacted not only regional supplies, but also impacted on urban water uses. When the water supplies sent to Los Angeles from the Owens River and the Mono basin were reduced, they were “replaced by water from MWD sources, and the city also began to emphasize water conservation”. (QUENCHING URBAN THIRST, p. 744) As Greens, we project a political agenda that planning addresses preservation of the planet’s ecosystems, as well as, the supplies needed in the face of population growth. We can certainly agree with the writers of QUENCHING URBAN WATER SUPPLIES when they emphasize: “Thus, it is important that water planners move swiftly to implement ecosystem water allocations before water supplies become overtaxed.” (QUENCHING URBAN THIRST, page 751)

Population growth has often been understated as a contributing factor to diminishing water supplies and reducing Delta water exports. (page 264, PPIC Report) The PPIC report focuses on urban conservation as a critical strategy in reducing urban water use. (see page 265, PPIC Report) Conservation is one technique to lower demand of water for urban regions. It does not address saltwater intrusion. The Pacific Institute Report states: “The total volume of water withdrawn nationwide in 2005 was lower than it was in 1975, despite substantial economic and population growth. This is a significant achievement, demonstrating that water demand can be successfully delinked from growth.” MUNICIPAL DELIVERIES OF COLORADO RIVER BASIN WATER, page 2-3 at . Per capita use is one measure of water accounting. It does not measure: impacts on ecosystems, impacts on existing economies of scale, groundwater depletions, carrying capacity of existing water infrastructure, impacts on public services, healthcare and education systems or other consequences of urban sprawl and development. It is unfortunate that the Pacific Institute proposes to encourage public officials to “promote conservation and efficiency” (MUNICIPAL DELIVERIES, page iv.) when, absent an open and transparent regional planning process, the result could very well lead to exacerbation of tensions in regards to water supplies predicted by the Department of the Interior in WATER 2025.

Water politics on a statewide level is a continual battle over freshwater supplies between one region and another. Urban users rarely bat an eyelash as water continues to flow from our spigots. But farmers are in crisis every time there is a drought. This political paradigm is manifested in the State Legislature by the partisan divides between Democrats and Republicans. Sustainability will never be brought in to balance the decisions until there is a countervailing force brought into the State Legislature through the elections of Greens. Sustainability is in the interests of all water users, as well as the environment. Regional planning needs to limit diversions and establish concrete objectives in defining sustainable water use by balancing growth with renewable supplies. As a state we will not get there traveling the road that we have chosen to-date. There are better alternatives. We can work together. We can plan together.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

California Water Politics: Balancing Growth with Renewable Supplies

Any study of water management report in the state of California that fails to analyze California water politics leaves a significant gap in grasping the decisions that have been made in the past and those that will be made in the future. In addressing California water politics we find profound disparities in power and influence. There are many advocacy groups that represent users and stakeholders throughout the state who are engaged in issues of water quality, water allocations and water diversions. There are lines drawn between coastal municipalities and inland users. There are lines drawn between North and South. There are environmentalists and agribusinesses that project their ritual oppositions in the media. Liberals in San Francisco raise the banner of the Delta smelt, while conservatives on talk shows mock the prioritization of a minnow-like fish ahead of the farm owners and farm workers of the Central Valley.

The irony is that with all the smoke inherent in these conflicts, how do we ever find the fire of the real interests of users in California? One thing is clear, no one lacks the appropriate science and policy advocates in the public arena to plead their case. Here in California its called "combat science". The real substantive political questions remain obscured by the white noise of the advocacy groups.

The essence of sustainability in water politics is working regionally to integrate the objective: balancing growth with renewable supplies. Defining the common needs and mechanisms to accomplish this is a common objective of our neighbors and friends and not a battlefield of the future. If we can make sacrifices in these decisions, our neighbors can do so as well. If we can establish priorities recognizing our neighbors and surrounding communities’ needs, they can as well. But we need to do with without taking from others. And we need to be cognizant of what it is we are expecting of others.

California has manipulated its water law so that it means all things to all people. Public Trust Doctrine has been used to promote private interests receiving takings from other users as a result of state actions. Beneficial uses are so inclusive as to lack any real meaning in regards to distinguishing consumptive use. In California water law doctrine is inclusive of pueblo rights, riparian, prior appropriation and a separate one for groundwater. Fourteen Federal agencies and 15 state agencies (table 2.10, page 129, PPIC Report) put their hands in the waters of California and local authorities exist in nine distinct jurisdictional governmental entities (ranging from municipalities to flood control, sanitation and water districts).

This is the face of California water management and administration but no where is there a body that presents the distinct voices of regional water users and stakeholders at the same table. No where do neighbors and community people plan their common destiny in regards to the common resource. No where are the particular interests of water users and stakeholders represented AS users and stakeholders within a shared political entity.

The decisions being made within the California State Legislature are NOT the product of the expressions of the concerns and needs of all those impacted by its decisions. The process within the California State Legislature obscures the incorporation of the science and the metrics needed for an accurate assessment of the existing regional uses and supplies of the water resource and/or the impact of the decisions being made on others. The funding mechanisms bear no relation between those benefiting from and those not impacted by the authorizations needed to implement recommendations. As a result, the politics in the State Legislature quickly degenerate into the “art of the deal”.

If we are not talking about talk show polemics or the partisan kabuki fights of FOX vs. MSNBC, what do we mean by water politics? Why are we trying to get out of the current arenas in order to come up with substantive solutions to the issues of water as they impact on our neighbors and our communities?

Other Western states do manage their state water supplies without the reliance on diversions that dominate the California aquascape or dependence on massive state bonds having to be approved. In NM, the Office of the State Engineer recently ruled against a 150 mile diversion Santa Fe from another region on the premise of a regions because it was "vague and overbroad." other states such as Texas and New Mexico manage to withstand the direct confrontations of regional users working together to define their water allocations and establish sound priorities for them.

Substantive issues such as population growth, decline of freshwater resources, and increasing public health concerns need to be addressed where they are taxing the very resources we need to survive on this planet. And they need to be in a scope and scale that they will change the direction that we are currently headed. “The relationship among water, growth and land use is a global problem that will be resolved most effectively at the local and regional level.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

MANAGING CALIFORNIA'S WATER - Breaking from the Past

It is time for California to realize it is no longer on the cusp of change and that it is no longer the Best of the West. The issue of water management is just one example of California’s inability to forthrightly address significant issues with clarity and decisiveness. The theme of our discussion today seeks to ask the question of all Californians: What is the priority for water use in California: the economy or the environment? Two factors stand evident in the question: One is that regions do not agree on priorities, and two is that there are often situations where the environmental uses are consistent with economic development.

If we are to address the issues of water planning for the future, we need to empower the regions to make their own decisions for their own futures. But we need to stop enabling addictive water uses by diversion and transfers. Texas has regional planning processes that enable their state plan to project their state priorities given their drought. They have compiled statistics on water use in the state that even the PPIC indicates is NOT possible to do in California (see the note under Table 2.2 (page 86 in the MANAGING CALIFORNIA’S WATER PPIC Report). California needs to stop financing mega-projects through state bonds and begin to establish a Trust Fund for water dedicated projects as exists in Colorado. California needs regional planning processes and regional Public Welfare Statements that define their water budgets, establish priority uses and engage stakeholders and users, as was seen in the Middle Rio Grande of New Mexico.

It is not true that we can have it all. But neither is it true that public trust requires regions to divert their water resource to other regions of the state. When people who are not impacted by water allocation decisions get to make them in the State Legislature, you establish a disconnect between government and those being governed. Political partisanship has replaced administrative responsibility for wise use and efficiency. Both rural and urban users in California have increasingly demonstrated greater political leverage and less wisdom in regards to water supplies and uses. Why bother? There are no inputs from competing users. And there are no parameters for uses that bear a real relation to the carrying capacity of the regional water supply.

California has gone past the stage of turning rivers into pipelines and prefers to build aqueducts without ever bothering to recognize the inherent conflict with the concept of sustainability in so doing. As a coastal state this situation is an inherent contradiction. Sustainability is a valid criterion for water management. Sources of supply can be developed on a large scale without competing with the environment. The state of Texas has put on line a desal plant in El Paso in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert and is converting it to solar. The state of Israel is looking to implement desal for 65% of its water supply. The PPIC admits that desal remains “a small proportion of statewide water supplies” (MANAGING CALIFORNIA’S WATER, p. 267). The point is NOT to promote desalination. The point is to propose there are greater sources of supply for regions than simply transfers and diversions. These sources can be defined by the regions themselves.

Precedents have been created that presume the entitlement of particular regions to benefit from the resources of other at great cost. But, one needs to only recall the water war from the Owens Lake diversion to recognize that it has not been done equitably and fairly. It is better to establish new precedents than to rely on the negative experiences of the past.

Economics or the environment? How can the residents of our city of San Francisco learn the impact of diverting Hetch-Hetchy when there is no real cost to them? Why are the commercial fishermen of the Delta required to sacrifice their living so that the farmers of the Central Valley are able to be provided to protect theirs? The real choices are for us to make ourselves. The shared sacrifices must be founded on the common good. Those who make the decisions need to be the ones who have to live with the consequences of them.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


As I continue to review the PPIC Report on MANAGING CALIFORNIA’S WATER:FROM CONFLICT TO RECONCILIATION, I continue to consider its recommendations and the impact of them. In my previous article: “PPIC Report Moves the California Water Debate Forward” I emphasized a need to utilize the report’s support of regional planning as a lever for political action by the Green Party of California and our supporters. Being such a comprehensive work, there are recommendations within it that have not been vetted through the process of public input, as a regional plan could be. Of particular concern, is Chapter 7 “Managing Water as a Public Commodity” and the section in it STRENGTHENING WATER TRANSFER LAW and the section MODERNIZING CALIFORNIA’S WATER GRID.

The intention of the writer and the PPIC in the section STRENGTHENING WATER TRANSFER LAW is to encourage “transfers from relatively inefficient or lower-value uses to higher value uses” p. 332. The issue of water efficiency is one that is often the focal point of those on both sides of the water use debate. Commercial developers join conservationists in promoting efficiency of water use. There is much to be said for this, but one thing that I discovered is that sometimes we really work against ourselves when efficiency is taken as a criterion for prioritizing water use. One example of this is when planners in the Middle Rio Grande of New Mexico measured water use from the implementation of water re-use with the computer model developed by Sandia National Laboratories, we found that the result was that there was a loss of water sent to downstream users that impacted on the Rio Grande Compact. In another scenario, it was shown that the lining of irrigation ditches resulted in a loss of groundwater recharge percolating to the aquifer. It was also instructive in observing that the biggest advocate of using water as an economic unit and focusing on efficiency as a determinant in prioritizing allocations was a commercial developer. It figures when one considers the economic use and per capita use in commercial development would be considerably more efficient than agricultural use or residential use.

The issue of transfers between regions is fundamental if California is ever to address the issue of sustainability in regional water plans. It was so important in New Mexico that the planning template of the Interstate Stream Commission used by the 16 planning regions in the state were premised on the condition that regions HAD to rely solely on their own surface flows, as defined by the Compact, and their own supplies of groundwater. This enabled the regions to develop sustainable water budgets and sound Public Welfare Statements, but it also drew the line in how the regions addressed matching water supplies in the region with water uses. California has attempted to enable regions to benefit from diversions and transfers from out of the regions. Further, private water banks could very well work against regional plans. Water rights sold or leased to them from outside the region are not consistent with the planning template. Further, this “paper water” in regions, where water rights have not been adjudicated, is often not substantiated with “wet” water and work against a sustainable and balanced regional water budget.

Sustainable water use and planning is inherently linked to reducing the number of diversions and restricting the transfers of water rights. Our savings accounts of regional water need to be reflected in our aquifers and our coastal waters. Our uses need to be defined by the management of those supplies effectively, and not necessarily efficiently. Our regions deserve the empowerment to make decisions based on their supplies, and their supplies only. When bad decisions are made by regions, bad consequences will result to those regions. When droughts reduce regional supplies, the regions need to adapt to the change with new priorities in THEIR water use. The argument applies to Los Angeles as well as Modesto. As it stands now, diversions are the accepted premise in implementing the “public trust doctrine”. This needs to change.

There are other issues in Chapter 7 that need to be addressed. I hope to alternate entries into alternating positive-negative aspects of the PPIC report and how we can move forward together in the state of California. As we explore the report it is incumbent upon Greens and our supporters to develop forums for discussion and begin the organizing tasks in the water sensitive regions, such as the Delta and the Central Valley. Our candidates need to begin to focus their campaigns on water planning issues and begin to mobilize public opinion around sound water management for California. Our water is our life. Every decision we make today will affect our children’s generation.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

PPIC Report Moves the California Water Debate Forward

The recent publication, MANAGING CALIFORNIA’S WATER: FROM CONFLICT TO RECONCILIATION by the Public Policy Institute of California has created a stir of late. There are concerns expressed in regards to the role of Bechtel Corporation in funding the process that brought the report together. Recently, a forum for discussion by PPIC being held in San Francisco was denounced as a “Greenwashing Event”. The writer, Dan Bacher chooses to dismiss the PPIC with accusations of “elitism” and “institutional racism”. This was based on the lack of representation on the presentation panel of Delta residents, tribal members or fishermen. In point of fact, there is no real representation anywhere in California’s water management system of users, advocates and stakeholders.

What Mr. Bacher omits is the significance of the structural reforms being proposed by the PPIC in the MANAGING Report. It is one thing to criticize Bechtel for its record in Cochabamba and elsewhere around the world. It is quite another thing to summarily dismiss the PPIC report with its proposals in regards to California water. The Report constitutes a change in direction and proposes significant structural reforms long overdue in California. (see MANAGING CALIFORNIA'S WATER, FROM CONFLICT TO RECONCILIATION, Chapter 8, Effective and adaptive Governance, p. 365 "To further encourage integration of water resource planning, the California legislature could create an affirmative structure for regional integrated planning and management. We propose creating nine regional stewardship authorities, coinciding with the jurisdictions of existing regional water quality control boards. As discussed below, the authorities would develop and manage integrated basin plans.")

As things stand, the plain fact is that California’s water politics are polarized and the main arena of battle is the State Legislature. The politics of water are rural (Republican) vs. urban (Democrat) with the result that localities are isolated in regards to diversions from one region to another. Further, the political landscape is skewed towards the urban users in the context of the large metropolitan areas in the state and the resulting Democratic majority in the State Legislature. This was seen in the debate around the peripheral canal in the Delta, in the Hetch-Hetchy diversion and in the Owens Lake diversion.

The point is that this is NOT simply a function of the Democratic Urban Machines that dominate the cities of California. It is a product of a water system that is diffuse and not designed to function in the context of sustainable regional uses. This is a point brought out in the PPIC Report as well. Two key elements remain unaddressed in regards to the future of water management in California:

1. How can sustainable water allocations in California’s regions be planned and implemented without depending on diversions; and

2. How can regional planning processes assure the open input and transparency needed to make fair and equitable decisions.

When one reads the PPIC Report one cannot help but be impressed with its recognition of the need for restructuring water management in California. The dilemma is: California has disregarded the consequences of actions that have increased the stressors on public infrastructure throughout California. The peripheral canal proposal is one more log on that fire. Big Ag and Big Urban are fighting over Big Water. Now that the drought is over everyone has some breathing space to re-structure the entities making the decisions. The water management system of California is a fundamentally flawed process, and the PPIC report is premised on this. This alone makes it a report worthy of consideration.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Climate Change: How bad can it be?

It is easy to become lulled into intellectual somnolence by the seemingly gradual changes we are incurring in our weather. After all, just how bad can a couple of degrees be?

Oh, we wake up every once in a while when our catastrophe leads media reports on some hurricane, flood or tornado, especially if the event is half-a-world away. We all thought that the outbreak of tornadoes that struck the Southease this spring was bad enough It truly was in Tuscaloosa. Then, we had to live vicariously through Joplin again. I remember May, 1971 tornado that hit Joplin. But we need to pay more attention to the facts of what is happening rather than jumping to unsubstantiated conclusions.

Heidi Cullen give a good summary of what we know about climate change and tornadoes in this post at Huffington Post and then repeated, with comments, by Joe Romm at Climate Progres. I give you that link as Joe's bracketed comments point to additional information

Still, we need more understanding than that and this Mother Jones summary of a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists does just that, bringing attention to the relationship between climate (temperature), ozone and health. There is a lot to piece together and the collage is not a pretty picture or a wonderful future.
The report, published yesterday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, concludes that CO2-induced temperature increases will worsen ground-level ozone concentrations (the kind coming from power plants and exhaust pipes, not the kind that shields the Earth from UV rays). Higher concentrations of ground-level ozone threaten the health of millions of Americans, an impact that could cost the US $5.4 billion in 2020.
As someone who suffered with asthma as a child, and that was long before we had inhalers or corticosteroids to deal with the symptoms. Asthma is not what I would wish on any child but that is what we are doing.

There are two recent takes on the effects of this. One is a post at Climate Progress that recognizes asthma as an environmental justice issue facing, primarily, people of color. The other is a rather straight forward determination that Californians will be the most affected and shows up on the KQED (SF) blog: Climate Watch. They both read the same report, just framed it differently.

This is going to be additive to the problems that we already have in California. A 2006 report from CSU Fullerton found that air pollution was costing California's some $3 billion annually. Included in this finding were:
  • 23,300 asthma attacks
  • 188,000 days of school absences
  • 3,230 cases of acute bronchitis in children 
The authors updated and expanded that study in 2008. This time they included the corridor leading away from the port at Long Beach and all that diesel traffic. Now the cost to California was $28 Billion annually and the costs to our children, in terms of health and education were more striking;

  • Asthma attacks: 141,370
  • Days of school absence: 1,259,840
  • Cases of acute bronchitis in children: 16,110
  • Days of respiratory symptoms in children: 2,078,300

This is the base problem to which we are adding an additional load from increase pollution.
While the current economic conditions will alter the monetary value, the number of events do not change. Even with school funding being cut and cut, those lost school days deprive our education system of what it really needs to do its job as funding formulas use average daily attendance.

If Greens want to work for better education, if we want to lower the cost of health care, if we want a better future for our children, then we had better be spending a lot of time on the battle for a rational climate policy. It is as important as anything else we do, since it deal with everything at once: energy, the economy, health care, education. The economic cost for California would be as high as $1.8 billion / yr by 2020 if we do nothing. The cost to our children can not be so easily calculated.

Managing our views of California's Water Wars

Rain all day today, strange weather for June around San Jose, gives me some more time to write longer posts. It is also appropriate that I focus on the Water Ware that threatens to overtop the facts that should guide our common sense perception as the melt of this winter's snow pack will threaten to overtop the Delta's levees.

One current battle is being fought in Washington, where Congressman Devin Nunes (R - CA 21) has introduced The San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act (HR 1837). This clearly positions the needs of the farmers on the West side of the San Joaquin Valley as paramount, contrasting them to environmental protections for a "little minnow." It is enough to have Representative John Garamendi (D - CA 10) warn of an all out water war.
This legislation threatens the Delta, jeopardizes drinking water for California cities, and puts the interests of a select well-connected few above the entire state."

"In 1997, we were one signature away from agreeing to an 'all California' water policy solution – until the Westlands Water District walked away at the signing ceremony. I said they would regret it, and today they admitted it, even as they continue to demand a one-sided water grab that is not in the interests of California.

It is every much in the interest of Nunes, and the Westlands Water District, if everyone thinks of this as farmers fighting for their livelihood, and the jobs of their workers, vs the "environmental craziness" that would think a little minnow is more important. But this is only their way to spin the facts. Dan Bacher provides another set of facts... that the nuSplittails and very close to 15,000 chinook salmon. They have been doing this for a long time. I have previously taken issue with this framing of the story, most clearly here in criticizing Leslie Stahl and 60 Minutes.

Now, we find the just plain good investigative work shows just how much Nenues has shaped this story. A recent article in the Central Valley Business Times cites Deirdre Des Jardins,a researcher with California Water Research Associates.
Mapping imagery points toward soil and groundwater salinity as the primary cause of land fallowing near Mendota. This evidence, along with record of previous legal settlements, indicates that high levels of unemployment in the Mendota area are more likely the result of land fallowing that occurred prior to the most recent drought than any type of protections set in place for Delta fisheries.
Green Party policies have always focused on community involvement in determining resource use policies, especially regarding Water. Yet, time and again, government listens to those with the most highly paid lawyers and lobbyists, shutting out the citizenry, depending on spinning the story to disinterested voters who seldom wake up to what is happening until it is too late. That is what is happening with ironically named Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Once again, Governor Brown has named a fox to guard the hen house and the results are predictable. Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla has an OpEd in the Stockton Record where she makes it clear just how well the deck has been stacked in this game.
Under the past governor, the BDCP process was run by a steering committee of export contractors. They failed to meet their deadline in the fall for producing a document for environmental review. Now the process is firmly under the control of Meral and the California Natural Resources Agency.

Local counties, water agencies, farmers and fishermen criticized the BDCP for denying them a meaningful role in planning for the Delta's future. Meral's response has been to create 13 working groups and to give non-exporters four days' formal notice to let him know which ones they want to join. The deadline for this formal notice was May

Meral expects some of the groups to complete their work by the end of June.

Those opposing a peripheral canal are already spread thin and facing tight budgets. For all intents and purposes, this fragmented process with its telescoped timing excludes them.
The GPCA helped start Restore the Delta, at least in co-sponsoring it's first public meeting. Still we should be doing more: educating friend, pointing out truths when we can, working to dislodge those like Nunes who distort the truth for their masters.

The real future of California is going to be determined by how we meet the ecological challenges of the coming decade. Climate, water, health care and the economy are so closely intertwined that only the Green approach can possibly find the right solution.