Check off another campaign pledge fulfilled by President Donald Trump.
The Trump administration, teeing up a fight with California regulators, is trying to pump more water through the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of the state despite fresh evidence of the estuary’s shrinking fish population.
A proposal by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to “maximize water deliveries” represents the administration’s first concrete effort to make good on a promise Donald Trump made while campaigning for the presidency in Fresno, where he vowed to deliver more water to San Joaquin Valley farmers and derided protections for endangered fish species.
As I noted in a New Year’s Day post, when politicians are members of the #Resistance at all times, the President and his representatives have absolutely no reason to negotiate, compromise, or otherwise try to obtain their cooperation.
I suspect California is about to be flooded with quite a bit of attention from federal representatives and rule-makers that it may not like.
A decade ago, federal biologists found that water withdrawals are jeopardizing smelt and other species and put in place a set of rules determining how much water can safely be pumped south. Doug Obegi, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council environmental group, contended in an email Friday that the new announcement represented “the latest attempt by the Trump administration to roll back protections for salmon and other endangered native fisheries … in order to increase water supplies” for the state’s agricultural water agencies.
Erin Curtis, a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman, called the effort a priority for the current administration and indicated the agency is seeking comment through the month of January.
Cutbacks of water deliveries for the project’s customers during the recently ended five-year California drought — including cutbacks prompted by rules protecting endangered native species also struggling in the drought — helped prompt the decision to look at possibly redoing the rules for operating the water project, Curtis said.
So did new U.S. legislation last year that encouraged more big water construction projects and water deliveries for Western farmers, Curtis said.
The response from the state’s environmental activists is as rational and profound as you would expect:
Delta smelt numbers reach new low. Now they could be finally made extinct by Trump administration plan to take more water from their habitat for corporate agribusiness: https://t.co/Jcyd2Z0d66
— Extinction Symbol (@extinctsymbol) December 30, 2017
However, many Californians are thrilled. Dawn Wildman, Director of the Coalition for Policy Reform, had this response:
For California, this act is on par with the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and the ending of the WOTUS rules, in terms of freeing our farms and small businesses from the tyranny of environmental extremists.
I am encouraging Californians across the state to support this move. It’s wonderful to see our President prioritize people over baitfish.
For those Californians who wish to comment, the link to the Reclamation regional office is HERE.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.