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California | Central Valley | North Coast | Santa Cruz Indymedia | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections
Secretary John Laird, ocean 'protector'
There is no doubt that the oceans are in deep trouble with folks like Secretary John Laird and Senator Fran Pavley in charge of "ocean protection" in California. Laird is one of the worst Natural Resources Secretaries for fish, oceans and the environment in California history.
Secretary John Laird, ocean 'protector'
by Dan Bacher
John Laird, Secretary for Natural Resources and Chair of the California Ocean Protection Council, on April 14 sent a memo to the "California Ocean and Coastal Community" discussing recent letters on the federal FY15 budget that he sent to three Congressional appropriation committees.
"Please find attached my letters to three Congressional appropriation subcommittees regarding funding for key ocean initiatives in the federal FY15 budget," Laird wrote. "Of particular note for the ocean and coastal community, my letter to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies includes support for coastal management grants, regional ocean partnerships, ocean observation systems, ocean acidification research, and marine debris, among several other items. Similar letters were sent to the respective appropriation subcommittees in the Senate."
"In addition, please also find attached a letter from members of the California legislature, including OPC members Senator Pavley and Speaker Atkins, stating their support for increased funding for ocean acidification research," concluded Laird.
Joey Racano of the Ocean Outfall Group wasn't impressed by Laird's memo and letters.
"WTF do we need more research for? Stop manufacturing oil fired cars.Go electric. There's nothing to research," quipped Racano.
Racano also questioned the presence of Senator Fran Pavley, the author of the green light to fracking bill, Senate Bill 4, on a committee designed to "protect the ocean."
"'Frackin Fran" is on the OPC?" he asked.
There is no doubt that the oceans are in deep trouble with folks like Secretary John Laird and Senator Fran Pavley in charge of "ocean protection" in California.
Laird is one of the worst Natural Resources Secretaries for fish, oceans and the environment in California history.
He presided over record exports of water to corporate agribusiness interests in 2011, resulting in the massacre of millions of Sacramento splittail in the Delta water export pumps. Nearly 9 million Sacramento splittail, a native fish species, were "salvaged" in the death pumps, a new record. The actual number of fish lost in the pumps is estimated by scientists to be 5 to 10 times the "salvage" numbers. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/06/1089304/-Report-documents-record-Delta-water-exports-and-splittail-salvag)
Laird and federal officials also presided over the systematic draining of northern California reservoirs during a drought in 2013 to fill the Kern Water Bank and Southern California reservoirs, resulting in enormous damage to salmon and steelhead populations and endangered Delta and longfin smelt, as well as imperiling the water supplies of Sacramento, Folsom and other cities. (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/02/07/18750438.php)
He has relentlessly pushed the most environmentally destructive project in California history, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels. The project will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and green sturgeon and other species, as well imperil Trinity and Klamath River salmon and steelhead. The project will devastate the Bay-Delta Estuary, the most significant estuary on the West Coast, resulting in tremendous damage to coastal halibut, striped bass, leopard shark, anchovy, sardine, herring, halibut, leopard, rockfish, lingcod and other fish populations.
Laird also oversaw the completion of a network of a network of so-called "marine protected areas" under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. In an extreme case of greenwashing, these "marine protected areas" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and other human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering. (http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/14/how-big-oil-bought-sacramento/)
Senator Fran Pavley has also been a strong supporter of the privately-funded MLPA Initiative, as well as authoring the bill that clears the path to expanded fracking in California.
In one of the biggest environmental scandals in California history, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" on the South Coast. Meanwhile, the oil industry was conducting highly polluting fracking operations in Southern California marine waters, as revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request and media investigation by the Associated Press and http://www.truthout.org last year. (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/epa-require-calif-offshore-fracking-reports)
Right after Governor Jerry Brown signed Senator Pavley's Senate Bill 4 on September 20, 2013, the same Reheis-Boyd praised the legislation for providing an "environmental platform" for the expansion of fracking in California (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/09/23/18743678.php)
"With the signing of Senate Bill 4, California has the toughest regulations of hydraulic fracturing and other energy production technologies in the country," said Reheis-Boyd. "While SB 4’s requirements went significantly farther than the petroleum industry felt was necessary, we now have an environmental platform on which California can look toward the opportunity to responsibly develop the enormous potential energy resource contained in the Monterey Shale formation." (http://www.wspa.org/blog/post/statement-wspa-president-catherine-reheis-boyd-signing-sb-4)
With environmental guardians like Laird and Pavley, California is in deep, deep trouble.