top
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: California | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections
Salmon Fishermen Respond to Commerce Secretary's Puzzling Directive on Water for Fires
by Dan Bacher
Friday Aug 10th, 2018 7:10 AM
"We all agree public safety is the first priority," said John McManus, President of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA). "We disagree with Secretary Ross that the federal government should hijack California’s wildfires to impose weaker protections for our fish and wildlife."
sm_wilbur_ross.jpg
Apparently responding to President Trump’s tweet on Monday claiming that Governor Jerry Brown “must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean” as the California fires rage, Secretary of Commerce Commerce Wilbur Ross issued a directive on August 8 stating that “the protection of life and property takes precedence over any current agreements regarding the use of water in the areas of California affected by wildfires.”

“The California wildfires are a direct threat to life and property and all measures available must be taken to protect both,” said Ross. “Today, I direct NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service to make clear to all its Federal agency partners that the protection of life and property takes precedence over any current agreements regarding the use of water in the areas of California affected by wildfires. Public safety is the first priority.”

“Consistent with the emergency consultation provisions under the ESA, Federal agencies may use any water as necessary to protect life and property in the affected areas. Based on this directive, NOAA will facilitate the use of water for this emergency. Going forward, the Department and NOAA are committed to finding new solutions to address threatened and endangered species in the context of the challenging water management situation in California,” said Ross.

John McManus, President of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA), responded to Ross’s statement, noting that he was puzzled by “what additional actions he was asking federal employees to take.” He also said he disagreed with Ross that the “federal government should hijack California’s wildfires to impose weaker protections for our fish and wildlife.” Here’s his full statement:

“Today, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to take undefined actions intended to provide water that’s already available to firefighters.   

Secretary Ross correctly points out that emergency provisions under the federal Endangered Species Act already allow firefighters to use any water needed to protect life and property threatened by wildfires, so it’s puzzling what additional action he’s asking federal employees to take.   

We all agree public safety is the first priority. We disagree with Secretary Ross that the federal government should hijack California’s wildfires to impose weaker protections for our fish and wildlife.

A bill languishing in the state legislature, Senate Bill 49, would go a long ways towards confirming common sense protections for fish and wildlife while leaving firefighters, who know best how to fight fire, to do their jobs.”

As if the devastating fires and Trump’s ignorance of California water and geography weren’t bad enough, “climate leader” Jerry Brown and the Trump administration have teamed up on the most environmentally destructive public works project in the California history, the Delta Tunnels. The tunnels project — also known as the California Water Fix — consists of two massive 35-mile long tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to facilitate the export of water to San Joaquin Valley corporate agribusiness interests, oil companies conducting fracking and other extreme extraction methods and Southern California water agencies.

The tunnels would devastate West Coast salmon and other fish populations, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead on the Trinity River, the major tributary of the Klamath River, that is diverted via a tunnel through the Trinity Mountains into the Sacramento River watershed at Whiskeytown Reservoir.

For more information, read: http://www.dailykos.com/...