Beware Santa Barbara potters with time on their hands

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on August 1, 2009

As I was waiting by the side of the freeway Friday afternoon waiting for AAA to show up to change the flat on my car, I was listening to talk radio show host Hugh Hewitt interview an environmental busybody who was one of the people behind a lawsuit that is creating a faux “drought” in California’s Central Valley.

I encourage you to either read the transcript or listen to the podcast, because it’s just shocking that the endangered species act is being used in such a fashion by people who probably should stick to making pots.

A couple of highlights:

Hugh Hewitt: How many Delta Smelt are there?

Carolee Krieger: Well, there used to be hundreds of thousands of them, and now they’ve been decimated to about one or two percent of the population that they used to be?

HH: So in terms of the number of them in the Delta right now, do you have a number?

CK: I really don’t have a number. One of the people I work with who represents the sports fishermen could spout those numbers off to you, but I’m sorry, I don’t know.

HH: Well, how do we know it’s endangered just because its numbers are down? I mean, there are a lot fewer of everything nowadays, but it doesn’t mean they’re endangered.

CK: Well, we know that the Smelt in the Delta, the Smelt is an indicator species of the Delta. And the reason that we know that things are getting bad is that when the Delta Smelt has problems, it means that there’s going to be more salt water intrusion. It means that there’s more different kinds of other species that are coming in to takeover the environment.

HH: But how will the judge’s order that led to the cutoff of the water to the Central Valley help save the Delta Smelt?

CK: Well, when Judge Wanger made his order, what he was saying is that the state water project and the Central Valley project were pumping too much water out of the Delta. That’s what’s affecting the life cycle of the smelt.

HH: How?

CK: There are not enough, there’s not enough flow into the Delta, freshwater flow into the Delta, because it’s being diverted before it gets there. And when the pumps for the Central Valley project and the state water project get turned on, they suck the water so strongly that they actually reverse the flow of the river, of the rivers. And what happens is that sucks the smelt and the juvenile salmon up into the pumps, and kills them.

HH: So is it the number of smelt that are getting chewed up by the turbines that’s the issue? Or is it the level of water?

CK: It’s both.

HH: Is that what the judge said?

CK: Yup. If the pumps were not turned on, there would be more water flowing down. You see, when you turn on the pumps, that sucks up the water and changes the flow of the river, reverses the flow of the river.

HH: And so how many smelt are getting chewed up in the turbines?

CK: Well, I don’t know the exact numbers, …

So, we don’t know how many there are. We don’t know whether their population is increasing or decreasing, but if we just allege it – the evidence is apparently an unpublished, non-peer-reviewed study and a phone conversation with one U.C. Davis professor – then we can ruin the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and migrant workers in the Central Valley.

And it gets better.

HH: In the article, you said that farmers may be facing hardships, but so are fishermen and the fish.

CK: That’s correct.

HH: Okay, what kind of hardships are the fishermen facing due to the smelts’ problem?

CK: Well, the hardship that the fishermen are facing is because of the lack of flow, okay, and as I say, it’s complex, but it’s all related, and you have to get past your just one, you know, just the smelt, because that’s just one piece of it. But because of the lack of flow, the salmon, which is a major source of food, and a major crop for the fishermen, the salmon season has been closed for the second season in a row because there are not enough fish.

HH: And so will reducing the flow to the Central Valley save or even increase the number of fishermen jobs out there?

CK: Absolutely.

HH: By how many?

CK: It will bring them back to what they were before.

HH: How many are there?
CK: You know, I don’t know the exact number.

HH: Well, 40,000 jobs at least have been lost in the Central Valley due to the loss of the water. Do you think there are 40,000 fishermen who lost their jobs up in the Delta?

CK: I think there are more than that.

HH: There have been more than 40,000 fishermen that lost their jobs?

CK: Yes. You know, there’s about to be a million fishing boat, you know, it’s like the million man march? Well, this is going to be a million fishing boat, it’s not a march, but I mean.

HH: It’s a float. But I mean, 40,000 fishermen have lost their jobs?

CK: Oh, I think there are more than that, and when you add in the sports fishermen, and all of the tackle shops, and all of the boating gear, and all of the recreational aspects of it…

HH: There is nothing for them to do because of the Delta Smelt? They’re all out of work? I mean, I don’t fish. I’m going fishing for the first time in two weeks in Montana, and it’s a danger to everyone involved. But I just can’t imagine that I haven’t seen a story about 40,000 fishermen out of work in the Delta.

CK: You’re about to hear a whole lot more about what’s happened to the fishermen in the Delta. And it’s not just the Delta, it’s the whole West Coast.

I call Bolshevik Storytelling. Are we seriously to believe that the fishing industry in the Bay Area has lost 40,000 jobs because of the lack of Delta Smelt and there hasn’t been a single newspaper story on it, let alone a Billy Joel song? I mean, I know the news media is downsizing, but they missed 40,000 lost jobs in one industry in one small area of the country?

And, just for good measure, I’m going to expose Krieger’s first lie right here for Hugh.

HH: [Lester Snow, the director of the Department of Water Resources] is a scientist. He runs the agency. Why wouldn’t we listen to him?

CK: He’s not a scientist, and he may run the agency, but just as I am the executive director of a much smaller organization, certainly, than the Department of Water Resources, you know, I have people that I rely on for my facts, and so does he. The problem with what’s happened with both the Department of Water Resources and other agencies is that special interests get to them, if you know what I mean.

So, Lester Snow isn’t a scientist? His bio:

Snow earned a Master of Science degree in Water Resources Administration at the University of Arizona and a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Sciences from Pennsylvania State University.

All of which reminds me of the famous C.S. Lewis quote:

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

God save us from misguided do-gooders.


Perfectly said: “It’s not that the statue had become unworthy of the museum. It’s that the museum had become unworthy of the statue. “

Load More...


August 2009



pencil linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram