We were puzzled by some statements in the press release from Congressman Devin Nunes’ office announcing proposed funding cuts affecting the biological opinions and San Joaquin River Restoration.
The press release calls these cuts the first step “to replace the flawed billion dollar salmon run…” In place of the existing restoration plan, Nunes and House leaders say they are seeking to establish both an environmentally and economically responsible San Joaquin River restoration. This will include a year-round, live river on the San Joaquin but will also ensure a robust east side agriculture economy.”
Hoping to learn more, we checked out the Congressman’s website. We found a link to a November 2007 publication on the San Joaquin River Settlement. In it, the Congressman says, “What is best for the Valley is an extension of the current tailout fishery that exists below Friant Dam.” We’re waiting for clarification from the Congressman’s office on that.
We didn’t ask what a “flawed billion dollar salmon run” would be.
The House leadership wants to defund the biological opinions, salmon protections, and San Joaquin River restoration. But they haven’t touched water, power, and crop subsidies and direct crop payments. So clearly, these defunding proposals aren’t about saving money or making government smaller. They’re about targeting environmental protections, especially for fish, to benefit a small but politically powerful segment of California’s economy.
And do we need to explain again how adequate fresh water flows
in the Delta are good for jobs in the Delta farming community and California’s fishing community?