The California Fish and Game Commission met yesterday in Eureka, and wasted no time getting to the prime topic on their agenda: the final hearing of Horizon Water and Environment’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Marine Life Protection Act “Initiative.”
The main order of the day was taking of pubic comment on the DEIR.
The purpose of an Environmental Impact Report is to gauge the environmental consequences of any proposed ‘project’ in the state of California. Private companies like ‘Horizon’ make a good living at getting projects through the hoops at the state capitol for approval.
In the case of the MLPAI, the same privateers who funded the “Initiative” in the first place – the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, (RLFF) – are also paying ‘Horizon’ for the EIR process that is supposed to provide oversight. The obvious conflict of interest in this rubber-stamp EIR process seems to bother no one, if they even know. Most probably don’t.
By California law, an EIR is required for any proposed project that would “significantly effect” the environment. But the MLPAI, as advertised, is an environmental project that is going to improve the environment. With no “significant effects,” an EIR is not needed, and this ‘project’ would receive a “negative declaration” – meaning no EIR.
But since this ‘project’ is apparently seeking to grant exclusive rights to fish and gather in new no-fishing zones, a provision in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) mandates that a ‘project’ that changes licensing requirements must go through the CEQA (EIR) process.
You could say that the billionaires who financed the privately funded MLPA “Initiative” boondoggle are having their lawyers and bureaucrats take no chances on this one.
Northern California Indians have stated flat-out that they will refuse to observe any restrictions on their fishing and gathering rights conjured up by the MLPAI. Some tribal representatives have been working with the corrupt MLPAI officials, seeking to have special provisions written into the law that allows for their own “exclusive access” to the ocean.
It should come as no surprise for those who have been following this blog, that some of the same interests who financed and facilitated the MLPA “no fishing zones,” will be also be exempt from restrictions in their new closed areas.
Exclusive rights for “research and monitoring” as well as “scientific take” will allow commercial aquariums and others to “take” marine life for “educational” purposes. The owners of the Monterey Bay Aquarium were the major funders for an MLPA “Initiative” – that will allow them and their friends exclusive rights to fish, gather and “monitor” in the new MPAs.
There are currently 562 “scientific take” permits in California, that allow virtually unsupervised and self-regulated “take.”
In the upside-down world of the public/private MLPA “Initiative”- you propose and pay for a ‘project’ (which is in reality a complex creation and enactment of legislation), you pay for the regulatory process to get it approved, and you make sure that any new restrictions do not apply to you, your friends, or your financial interests.
This includes not only special privileges and exemptions granted to the RLFF funders of the Marine Life Protection Act and their friends, but also to things like oil/gas drilling, wind and wave energy projects, aquaculture, ocean mining, and navy sonar exercises. All of these uses were deliberately kept off the table throughout the MLPA process.
And all were listed by ‘Horizon’ Water and Environment’ as having a “less than significant effect” in their Draft Environmental Impact Report. Big surprise. You get what you pay for.
(More on the F&G meeting and the DEIR coming up…)