Corporate Welfare Republicans Vote to Make California Salmon Extinct

the Sacramento River

by Dan Bacher

The House of Representatives today, dominated by big government/corporate welfare Republicans, passed the worst job-killing legislation in U.S. history, HR 1837.

The House voted 246-175 to approve a water grab by powerful corporate agribusiness interests in California’s San Joaquin Valley and reverse decades of laws that protect fish and water supplies.

Among other things, H.R. 1837 will take away 260 billion gallons of water used for saving salmon and other conservation purposes each year and deliver it to wealthy water contractors in the Central Valley, according to a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity.

The bill eliminates environmental protections for salmon and other endangered species in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary and the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. Unless stopped or changed by the Senate, the legislation would likely result in the extinction of California’s economically valuable salmon runs.

“This was a vote for pure greed and boosting corporate profits for some of the world’s wealthiest agribusinesses, in exchange for sacrificing Central Valley salmon runs and overturning laws that protect water, the environment and ultimately California’s people,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s up to the Senate to stop these water tycoons from trashing environmental protections and flushing decades of salmon restoration efforts and water allocation down the drain.”

“In a vote that was almost straight down party lines HR 1837 passed the Republican controlled House today,” commented Jim Cox, charter boat captain and President of the California Striped Bass Association West Delta Chapter. “This horrible legislation that could well spell the end of the Delta as a viable estuary now must pass the Senate. Let’s hope the same partisan politics will prevail in the Democratic-controlled Senate and end this bill.”

Hopefully, the “water grab for corporations bill,” HR 1837, will be stopped in the Senate. These corporate welfare Republicans, for their first time in their lives, need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get off the federal dole!

And the Congressional Republicans’ masters, the corporate agribusiness welfare bums and Wall Street banksters, need to also pull themselves up by their bootstraps, get real jobs, and wean themselves off welfare from the federal government! Decades of entitlements and subsidies from the taxpayers have made these welfare cheats and bums unable to stand on their own two feet!

Below is the press release from the Center for Biological Diversity:

House Votes to Override State Sovereignty, Consign California Salmon to Extinction

Bill Guts Environmental Protections for San Francisco Bay-Delta, Steals 260 Billion Gallons of Water Annually for Wealthy Water Brokers

WASHINGTON— The U.S. House of Representatives today voted 246-175 to approve a water grab by powerful corporate agribusinesses in California’s San Joaquin Valley and reverse decades of laws that protect wildlife and water supplies.

Among other things, H.R. 1837 will take away 260 billion gallons of water used for saving salmon and other conservation purposes each year and deliver it to wealthy water contractors in the Central Valley. The bill eliminates environmental protections for salmon and other endangered species in the San Francisco Bay-Delta and the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, and unless stopped or changed by the Senate, would likely result in the extinction of California’s economically valuable salmon runs.

“This was a vote for pure greed and boosting corporate profits for some of the world’s wealthiest agribusinesses, in exchange for sacrificing Central Valley salmon runs and overturning laws that protect water, the environment and ultimately California’s people,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s up to the Senate to stop these water tycoons from trashing environmental protections and flushing decades of salmon restoration efforts and water allocation down the drain.”

The legislation nullifies existing water rights to guarantee water for politically connected corporations; ends restoration of the San Joaquin River and prevents revival of its salmon runs; overturns broadly supported water-use agreements; and threatens California’s public water supplies — all to benefit wealthy corporations.

In a direct threat to state sovereignty, the legislation takes away most of California’s authority over the State Water Project and the California Aqueduct, water supply projects funded with bonds approved by California voters and built, managed and regulated by state agencies.

“This turns water policies upside down, reversing decades of work by state and federal agencies to restore salmon and other imperiled fish in California,” said Snape.

H.R. 1837 was opposed by California’s senators, leaders of both state legislative houses, commercial and recreational fishing associations, environmental groups, water districts, local governments and Delta farmers. It preempts and overrides state and federal environmental laws, jeopardizing efforts to restore the Bay-Delta estuary and improve the reliability of California’s water supplies.

Background

H.R. 1837 will:

Gut the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, requiring 800,000 acre-feet of water per year currently directed to conservation to be delivered instead to Central Valley water contractors (pp. 18 and 20);

Eliminate protections for salmon in the San Francisco Bay-Delta and the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers while guaranteeing massive water exports from the Delta to politically connected special interests;

Invalidate the San Joaquin restoration agreement, a bipartisan, court-approved settlement to restore the San Joaquin that ended 18 years of litigation after the San Joaquin River Restoration Act was approved by Congress in 2009 (p. 25);

Mandate that the Endangered Species Act be considered “fully met” by the project and require new federal permits that can be no more restrictive on water pumping than a 1994 Bay-Delta standard, ignoring 20 years of federal attempts to secure enough water flow to prevent salmon from going extinct (p. 21);

Prohibit the Fish and Wildlife Service from distinguishing between naturally spawned and artificially stocked salmon and steelhead for the purposes of Endangered Species Act compliance (pp. 31-32);

Require the Department of the Interior to approve new water projects and permits within a 45-day window and prohibit the secretary of the Interior from imposing any mitigation for projects harming endangered species, while giving water contracting agencies approval authority (pp. 4-5);

Preempt the state’s ability to regulate and control the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project for Endangered Species Act conditions, preempting application of the public trust doctrine for state law as well (p. 22);

Allow privately controlled “joint power authorities,” including those involved in water grabs and privatizing public water (such as the Kern Water Bank) to obtain federal funds to build or expand storage projects — a giveaway of taxpayer money to billionaires such as Stewart Resnick and his Kern Water Bank (p. 24);

Rob the Fish and Wildlife Service of restoration funding by directing any difference in income from selling agricultural water to municipalities to be kept in a “restoration fund” controlled by water contractors, and for the first time, enable the use of federal funds to construct privately controlled storage facilities (pp. 6, 15 and 31);

Require the Fish and Wildlife Service to provide water contractors with additional 100 percent replacement of “restoration flows” used for fish and wildlife conservation in the San Joaquin river within a year of enactment and prohibit use of any water not from the San Joaquin for that purpose (pp. 28 and 29);

Preempt state authority to regulate water quality in the San Joaquin River beyond the flows and mitigation specified in the new bill (p. 24).

Contact: Jeff Miller, (415) 669-7357

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One Response to Corporate Welfare Republicans Vote to Make California Salmon Extinct

  1. Don Sack says:

    A few global corporations control our food sources and are systematically eliminating all competition from sustainable wild food gathers worldwide by saying these sources are in danger of disappearing. This is largely false but the biggest threat is the destruction of wild places by these large agri-businesses and aquaculture farms which are moving water to arid places and polluting the wild habitat we have left. Monsanto, Cargill, Goldman Sachs and other big movers control the world’s food and money flow. We have to make people aware that these companies are only profit driven and have no conscience or morals. They will bribe or ruin anyone who may get in their way of achieving a monopoly.