A woman-made environmental disaster 0

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is the prime mover in restricting the supply of water to the farms of California’s hitherto fertile Central Valley, so severely that the farmers are going out of business with  dire consequences. Food production is dropping, and local unemployment is 40% and rising.

She is doing this in order, ludicrously, to save the hypomesus transpacificus, a wee fish that she and her fellow environmentalists apparently believe the world cannot conceivably do without. [See our post below, Smelt fishy, 2 September, 2009]

You would think, wouldn’t you, that Nancy Pelosi is passionate about preserving endangered species?

Yet, according to the American Spectator, she herself circumvented ESA [Endangered Species Act] requirements for two endangered species on one of her own investment properties‘.

While hypocrisy so characterizes the left that no new instance of it can be surprising, the wickedness of what Pelosi is doing is too outrageous to be passed over with a sigh.

This is an abuse of power that should be punishable by law. Is it? If not, why not?

Mike Adams, at Townhall, while telling the story of one farmer’s ruin, points out more consequences of this scandal:

For nearly 20 years, California’s water availability has been precariously tied to decisions made by bureaucrats and politicians using the power of the Endangered Species Act. The effects of the far-reaching ESA could ultimately lead to the destruction of one of the most fertile valleys in the world, the reduction of the nation’s food supply and greater dependence on foreign food sources that don’t meet high U.S. food standards. The use of this overriding legislation that mandates federal control of our nation’s land and water is representative of the overall trend in this country of increased government intrusion into the lives of its citizens. That a statutory decree exists that can override human suffering in the service of preserving animal habitats is a serious indictment of our government’s commitment to preserve liberty and the American way of life. …

In August, fifty mayors from the San Joaquin Valley asked President Obama to come see the devastation first-hand. He refused. Obama previously denied a request to designate California as a federal disaster area. To do so would have acknowledged the fact that Obama’s radical environmental policies are, quite literally, scorched earth policies. Just go to the San Joachim Valley and you’ll see plenty of scorched earth.

Smelt fishy 3

How much longer will  people tolerate the Green dictatorship?  How much longer will we permit human sacrifice on the altar of Environmentalism, one of the most sentimental and stupid cults of all time?

Among their many cruel ukases,  the Green pontiffs ordain that corn be turned into an expensive fuel called Ethanol rather than let cheap fuel be pumped out of the earth and sea, because the pumping process might harm some beast of the field,  fowl of the air, or monster of the deep. The result? Multitudes in Africa go hungry.

And now the destruction of food in America, as explained in this report by Ben Shapiro at Townhall:

In December 2008, the federal government decided that Fresno County, a farming-rich area which provides half of America’s vegetables, no longer needed water. The farmers whose ancestors built the canals to irrigate the Central Valley have been totally cut off from their water supply, even though they’re still paying bills for it. Hundreds of acres of prime farming land lie fallow, crops withered and dead. All because the federal government thinks that smelt — tiny 5- to 7-centimeter fish — are more important than human beings. It seems that these annoying little creatures have been filleted by the water pumping systems necessary to make irrigation possible. They are now endangered. As the Fish and Wildlife Service put it, “it is the Service’s biological opinion [! an intelligent opinion would serve far better – JB] that the coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project … are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the delta smelt.” In other words, all water supply must be shut down, lest the world lose the incomparably valuable smelt… The prices of staple foods will rise all over the country as farmers plow the sun-scorched crops into the ground.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s take on this tyrannous economic outrage:

California has a new endangered species on its hands in the San Joaquin Valley—farmers. Thanks to environmental regulations designed to protect the likes of the three-inch long delta smelt, one of America’s premier agricultural regions is suffering in a drought made worse by federal regulations.

The state’s water emergency is unfolding thanks to the latest mishandling of the Endangered Species Act. Last December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued what is known as a “biological opinion” imposing water reductions on the San Joaquin Valley and environs to safeguard the federally protected hypomesus transpacificus, a.k.a., the delta smelt. As a result, tens of billions of gallons of water from mountains east and north of Sacramento have been channelled away from farmers and into the ocean, leaving hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land fallow or scorched.

For this, Californians can thank the usual environmental suspects, er, lawyers. Last year’s government ruling was the result of a 2006 lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other outfits objecting to increased water pumping in the smelt vicinity. In June, things got even dustier when the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that local salmon and steelhead also needed to be defended from the valley’s water pumps. Those additional restrictions will begin to effect pumping operations next year.

The result has already been devastating for the state’s farm economy. In the inland areas affected by the court-ordered water restrictions, the jobless rate has hit 14.3%, with some farming towns like Mendota seeing unemployment numbers near 40%. Statewide, the rate reached 11.6% in July, higher than it has been in 30 years

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that he “doesn’t have the authority to turn on the pumps” that would supply the delta with water, or “otherwise, they would be on.” He did, however, have the ability to request intervention from the Department of Interior. Under a provision added to the Endangered Species Act in 1978 after the snail darter fiasco, a panel of seven cabinet officials known as a “God Squad” is able to intercede in economic emergencies, such as the one now parching California farmers. Despite a petition with more than 12,000 signers, Mr. Schwarzenegger has refused that remedy.

The issue now turns to the Obama Administration and the courts, though the farmers have so far found scant hope for relief from the White House. In June, the Administration denied the governor’s request to designate California a federal disaster area as a result of the drought conditions, which U.S. Drought Monitor currently lists as a “severe drought” in 43% of the state. Doing so would force the Administration to acknowledge awkward questions about the role its own environmental policies have played in scorching the Earth

It’s like a bizarre story of some crazy nation that Gulliver happed upon in the course of his astonishing travels!