Public Works

Drought dementia #6: Views from Stockton and Fresno

Submitted: Feb 25, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The truth, Shields said, is there’s simply very little water in the Stanislaus River system — with or without the new rules protecting fish. -- Alex Breitler, Stockton Record, Feb. 24, 2015.

 

California has only five weeks left of the wet season and needs more than the modest storm that just passed through. That was like shooting spit wads at an elephant. -- Mark Grossi, Fresno Bee, Feb. 24, 2015

2-24-15

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Our friendly local farmers/environmentalists/developers

Submitted: Feb 24, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The latest news (below) on the Ferrari Ranch development project near Atwater made us ask once again if this was truly a whole New Day of such blinding light that it should wipe our memory as clean as a virus destroys computer files.

But, not quite ...

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Drought dementia #5: "You can't fault them ..."

Submitted: Feb 22, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The new Farm Bill, nothing less than the final triumph of finance, insurance and real estate special interests over government in yet another real estate deal -- agriculture,  severs all connections between agriculture and actual husbandry. It's no accident that almond and pistachio orchards are being planted in record numbers. But this bubble won't burst until -- in the projected long drought -- the hedge funds, banksters and the vampire squid of finance, enabled by our local "stewards of the land unto the seventh generation,"  have sucked the Valley aquifer dry, taken their profits and all the money taxpayers provide for the new, risk-free, totally insured "agriculture," and left ... what, exactly? A desert? It was always a desert, but this one might end up containing more ghost towns than the gold and silver rushes left behind them in California and Nevada on poisoned ground. Agribusiness wouldn't care if every county seat down 99 turned into another Detroit, just as long as the big boys got out whole. -- blj

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The irrelevance of Hanson

Submitted: Feb 16, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

We found this recent column on the California drought by Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, an acclaimed  academic and Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, (1) and heir to a farm in Fresno County, to be unusually wide of the mark, even by his standards. Hanson is a writer that people interested in rural California read. We often agree with his facts yet end up mystified by the opinions he "derives" from them. Nevertheless, he is one of ours, so we remain interested.

The topic of Hanson's column is water, specifically how environmental "extremists" are stealing it from farmers. He assumes agriculture's rights to water are absolute and  neglects to mention that agriculture uses 80 percent of the developed water in California. Without that elementary nod to reality, reasonable people just throw up their hands and ask, "When is this enfant savant going to grow up?" 

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Not two sides to every story in the Bee

Submitted: Feb 13, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

This article is a curious excuse for journalism because, although Valley congressmen "pressure(s) both sides in ports dispute," only one side is given a line in the story:

On Thursday, citing the higher costs entailed by holiday and weekend wage rates, the Pacific Maritime Association said it would suspend vessel operations through Monday. The association’s leaders contend longshoremen have been engaged in deliberate work slowdowns.

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Drought Dementia #3: Fracking, regulatory corruption, aquifer contamination, Harvard and Hilmar Cheese

Submitted: Feb 03, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Successful polluters the world around agree: You just can't trust a government you don't own.

And that's why the smart people in the oil industry figure that whatever the regulatory laws might be, it's all in the enforcement, otherwise known as the "empty monitoring envelop syndrome."  The smart people at Harvard know they can drill all the water they want near Paso Robles. They just may not be smart enough to anticipate what might be in that water. But, they're all Harvard lawyers, so they can sue somebody. And Hilmar Cheese, after a successful run for years with a corrupt state water quality board, dug deep injection wells and accepted federal monitoring. We wonder how that's all going to work out in the drought. Do curds and whey clog drip-irrigation nozzles? -- blj

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Washington DC: The American Necropolis

Submitted: Jan 22, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

1-22-15

TomDispatch.com

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Washington's Walking Dead
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Farm Bill subsidized insurance scam and California groundwater

Submitted: Jan 14, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board


The 2013 Senate and House farm bills add costly new subsidy programs. These new programs would go well beyond providing a safety net for farmers by protecting them from virtually all risk. Some of the programs, allegedly designed to cover major losses, are so generous that they would effectively provide guaranteed payments to some farmers. Many of the cost assumptions for the new programs are based on commodity prices staying at or near record highs. If these prices come down to their longer-term averages, the costs to taxpayers could be astronomical. Congress is gambling taxpayer money on risky assumptions. -- The Heritage Foundation, June 2013  

 

 

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Moyers' last interview: in the Public Trust Doctrine

Submitted: Jan 08, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

 It was typical of Bill Moyers, the guy who always got it, to end his magnificent career of public broadcasting with an interview on the environment, specifically how the great American environmental law, once the envy of the world's environmentalists, has been largely corrupted -- Badlands has done some documentation on that topic -- and that the whole environmental legal edifice needs to be regrounded in  Public Trust Doctrine. Moyer's guest, Mary Christina Wood, a legal scholar from the University of Oregon, has published a book on the topic, Nature's Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age, Cambridge University Press, 2013. -- blj

1-2-15

 

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Merced County Board of Supervisors, 12-16-14: Groundwater crazy train

Submitted: Jan 04, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 In its December 16, 2014 meeting, the Merced County Board of Supervisors considered a moratorium on well drilling until such time as an ordinance on groundwater may be enacted the state steps in and stops the groundwater-mining bonanza. -- blj

rtsp://mediaserver.co.merced.ca.us/board/video/2014/12-16-14_bdsupvideo.rv

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