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Feinstein pledges support for raising Shasta and Exchequer dams
by Dan Bacher
Friday Apr 13th, 2012 5:24 PM
"Based on this report, it seems safe to say that the assault on the national Wild and Scenic river system is no longer just a rumor," commented environmentalist Jerry Cadagan. "She wants to raise BOTH Shasta and Exchequer dams (which is on the wild and scenic Merced River).
dianne_feinstein.jpg
dianne_feinstein.jpg

Feinstein pledges support for raising Shasta and Exchequer dams

by Dan Bacher

A report on the Radio KMJ 580 AM website reveals how Senator Dianne Feinstein vowed her support for the water bond, the raising of Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River and the expansion of Exchequer Dam on the Merced River during two fundraisers at the homes of San Joaquin Valley agribusiness leaders this week.

The station reported first on a lunch on Wednesday at the Sanger home of the president of the Nisei Farmers League where Feinstein said the controversial $11.14 water bond "must appear on the ballot." (http://www.kmjnow.com/pages/landing_localnews_2011?Feinstein-Harvests-Donations-From-Valley=1&blockID=599372&feedID=8257)

"In Sanger - at the home of Manuel Cunha, Jr. - Senator Feinstein told a gathering of 64 specially-selected people that she had their backs when it came to several key issues facing San Joaquin Valley farming," the article stated. "She told the group that she has discussed the state water bond measure with Governor Jerry Brown and insisted that it must appear on the ballot in November. The governor has indicated a preference to move the bond to 2014 so as not to compete with his plan to raise taxes."

She also pledged her support for raising Shasta Dam, a project strongly opposed by the Winnemem Wintu Tribe because it would flood ceremonial sites sacred to the Tribe and would lead to the destruction of Central Valley salmon and Delta fish populations, and Exchequer Dam on the Merced River.

"Feinstein said she favors increasing surface storage, supporting such plans as increasing the heights of the Shasta and Exchequer Dams to increase supplies. As a Democrat, she is a proponent of preparations for the effects of global warming and increasing water storage and conveyance capacities is an important part of those preparations according to her remarks," the report continued.

This fundraiser was followed by a dinner in north Fresno at the home of the board president of the Westlands Water District, where she likewise voiced her support for the agribusiness agenda.

"After the meeting in Sanger, Senator Feinstein visited with Don Parucchi of the Westlands Water District and his guests," the article said. "The fundraiser covered many of the same subjects as the senator continues to portray herself as being California's ag representative."

"Groups like the California Farm Bureau Federation endorsed her re-election saying Feinstein has always been available to them and works for as many of their causes as her political orientation allows. They cite the ethanol subsidy as an example of where Feinstein lead the challenge against it and was able to get the $6 billion dollar annual program killed," the article noted.

Environmentalists, Tribal leaders and fishermen were alarmed by Feinstein's pledge of support for the raising of Shasta and Exchequer dams and the water bond, a virtual "festival of pork" that funds so-called "habitat restoration" under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral canal. State, federal and independent scientists all say the construction of the peripheral canal or tunnel would likely hasten the extinction of endangered winter run chinook salmon, Delta smelt and longfin smelt.

"Based on this report, it seems safe to say that the assault on the national Wild and Scenic river system is no longer just a rumor," commented environmentalist Jerry Cadagan. "She wants to raise BOTH Shasta and Exchequer dams (which is on the wild and scenic Merced River).

“I’d be curious to see how far Senator Feinstein intends to go to assist in putting a reservoir (Lake McClure) in a permanently protected National Wild & Scenic River," said Ron Stork, senior policy advocate for Friends of the River. "Since raising the reservoir would be illegal under state law (drowning a state fully protected species, the limestone salander), and it’s not certain the project could pass dam-safety muster, I wonder if the Fresno farmers who attended her fundraiser actually expect for her to deliver the dam raise on the Merced River."

"And since there would be very little new water that would come from an expanded reservoir there, one wonders what they really have in mind; maybe it's breaking the ‘permanent’ in the permanent protection accorded wild and scenic rivers, our nation’s premier river-protection system," Stork said.

"I can certainly imagine that some major statewide players still thirst after North Coast rivers now protected by the state and federal wild & scenic river system. They’ve never managed to break into this system before, but have appeared to have enlisted a gullible California Senator to help them do it---and without a Senate hearing," added Stork.