Court rules greenies told a whopper of a smelt fish story

July 19 2012

By Wayne Lusvardi

Mark Twain once wrote: “Don’t tell fish stories where people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.”

The farmers in the California Central Valley know that environmentalists have been making up a big fish story for quite some time about agricultural water contracts negatively impacting the purportedly endangered Delta smelt fish.

The farmers know the fish better than the environmentalists.  You can’t tell any big whopper fish stories around farmers.  But you can try to get away with them in court.   But even a liberal court didn’t fall for such yarns.

The liberal U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that 41 federal water contracts in the Central Valley Water Project did not violate the Endangered Species Act.  Chief Judge Procter Hug ruled in the case, National Resources Defense Council vs. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation did not have to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service over any alleged negative impacts to the purported endangered Delta smelt fish in renewals of agricultural water contracts.

According to Brandon Middleton, attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service before undertaking an action that may negatively affect a protected species.  Relying on legal precedent, Hug ruled that Section 7 only applies to discretionary federal actions.  Because prevailing law mandates the renewals of water contracts, the bureau had no obligation to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Agency.

To further squash this big fish tale, the court also ruled the environmentalists had no legal standing to even challenged the water contracts on such grounds.  Standing is defined as: “the ability of a party to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law of action challenged to support that party’s participation in the case.” The water contracts in question even contained a “shortage” clause that provided for the Bureau of Reclamation to provide more water for the smelt.

Middleton said, “The farmers had much to lose even though they didn’t gain that much in this ruling.”  If the ruling had gone against the water contractors, farmers might have had to give up water already under contract and on which agricultural production loans and other financial obligations had been made without any re-compensation.  Middleton elaborated that, what the environmentalists were trying to do was go beyond challenging any physical impacts on the smelt by large pumps in the Delta as part of the Federal Central Valley Project.  The environmentalists wanted to penetrate to the legal contracts that lay behind the water pumping.

No Bearing on Repealing Feinstein’s Water Grab Act

However, Middleton doubted this ruling would have any bearing on the provision in Democratic Calif. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s H.R. 146, the San Joaquin River Restoration Act of 2009, to “mandate” agricultural water contractors to go through an environmental clearance process as a condition of renewing their long-term water contracts.  Such a clearance could permit the environmental mitigation shakedowns of farmers.

Feinstein’s act was a grab of water from Central Valley farmers for commercial fishing, recreational and real estate development interests in the San Joaquin Valley area.  Feinstein’s Democratic Party controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency in 2009.  Nevertheless, she could not overcome the farm lobby in Congress in her own party to get the San Joaquin River Restoration Act passed.  Eventually, Feinstein’s bill was attached as a “rider” on the Omnibus Lands Act of 2009 and ramrodded over opposition in her own party.

Recently, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, authored H.R. 1837, the San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, to repeal Feinstein’s one-sided law. The bill is still sitting in the U.S. Senate, where it has been blocked by Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and opposed by Pres. Obama.

Farmers know that, if it weren’t for the Central Valley Water Project providing water to agricultural water districts, the Delta smelt fish wouldn’t have as much reliable water or habitat.  And that is no fish story.

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  1. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 19 July, 2012, 10:48

    Hmmmm…another whopper!

    Reply this comment
  2. Gerald Caskey
    Gerald Caskey 19 July, 2012, 12:06

    I don’t know why she does this, what is her excuse? Does she have one.

    Reply this comment
  3. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 19 July, 2012, 12:59

    Gerald, she doesn’t need an excuse, she has something much better – unrestrained power and influence and a clueless electorate that will always rubber stamp her reelection.

    Reply this comment
  4. Ted Steele, Janitor
    Ted Steele, Janitor 19 July, 2012, 15:58

    Dyslexic— A clueless electorate? I don’t think so. We elected this President and Gov. — feeling pretty good these days about the electorate. Or are you frustrated because they don’t see things the way you do? Curious.

    Teddy Boy…

    Reply this comment
  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 19 July, 2012, 16:32

    DYS may have an irritable colon….he has been kinda mean to the voice of reason,Teddy.

    Reply this comment
  6. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 19 July, 2012, 16:46

    More voice of dorkness……

    Reply this comment
  7. Ted Steele, Janitor
    Ted Steele, Janitor 19 July, 2012, 21:26

    I understand Pack n Ship— but they know not what they do—–

    Reply this comment
  8. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 19 July, 2012, 21:38

    Adelento POOL PARTAY!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  9. Ted Steele, Janitor
    Ted Steele, Janitor 19 July, 2012, 22:15

    I think the bunker of loons is actually in Adelanto ! Classic !!!

    Reply this comment
  10. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 20 July, 2012, 01:16

    Teddy is my next door neighbor in Aldento, he is trolling mad b/c he is never invited to the pool partay!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Teddy and his sock puppets sit home and sulk like the little wuss he is… 😉

    1%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% baby! Teddyis STILL in denial!

    Reply this comment
  11. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 20 July, 2012, 07:59

    Teddy. They built thick electrified wire mesh and stuffed it into a freshly hand dug perimeter trench of their doomsday bunker. It has GPS deflectors. They are now backfilling the trench with cement with case hardened ball bearings as aggragate. Them tremor worms need to score! It appears it will be double not pretty….

    Reply this comment
  12. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 20 July, 2012, 10:57

    1%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% baby!

    Reply this comment

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