Environment

Downstream vengeance in California

Submitted: Mar 12, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
by Bill Hatch
 
Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican from the biggest cow county in the USA, Tulare CA, booted home his San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act (HR 1837) to a big win in the House two weeks ago. An old-fashioned Western water grab got the Tea Party all hot and a few Blue Dog Democrats slithered along for the ride.
 
The Act is worthy of all truce-breaking acts the world over through history back to the time the goddess Athena persuaded godlike but stupid Pandaros to shoot an arrow into Helen’s husband, Menelaos, prolonging Homer’s Iliad for 23 more chapters.
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The Big Shadow

Submitted: Mar 03, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The Valley's political jurisdictions -- cities and counties -- have shown themselves to be big banks' biggest suckers. Nobody's much surprised that Stockton recently declared bankruptcy nor will they be particularly surprised if Modesto and Merced follow shortly. The three cities, aside from being the seats of adjoining counties, have been and remain at or just outside of the epicenter of the foreclosure-rate disaster in the nation. It was an illusion that the tremendously productive agriculture in the northern San Joaquin Valley would be any buffer at all against the busted housing boom, an illusion that was believed only by naive, well-meaning peopld who just couldn't believe how unstable such an economy is. The illusion of economic security through agriculture was never shared by farmers. The proof of this is the land the boom grew on -- farmland, and more often than not, prime farmland.

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

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Decision-making process on final destruction of San Joaquin Delta

Submitted: Feb 27, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

...and the technocrats hope that their environmental documents will be so long, so convoluted, so trugidly technological and full of flimsy assertions of "balance between environmental, urban and agricultural needs" that, in the ensuing lawsuits, judges will measure the adequacy of the documents by the hundredweight and political pressure rather than by anything as radical and masochistic as reading them.

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

2-27-12
San Franciscoo Crhonicle
California water project won't be decided at poll
Wyatt Buchanan
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2012/02/27/MN6U1NBMVG.DTL

Peripheral canal


Sacramento --

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Outline of basic California water-rights laws and policies

Submitted: Feb 22, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

The finance, insurance and real estate oligopoly in California has bought itself a Congressional bill to destroy the San Joaquin River Settlement. The settlement, which took 18 years in court and three years in Congress to reach accord on how to put water back into a 80-mile  reach of the San Joaquin River diverted by the FRiant-Kern Canal. The bill, H.R. 1837, passed the House Resources Committee last week.

A great wrong, set right again, could be set wrong again.

We thought we would revisit some of the most basic policies and laws governing California in light of this current attempt to return to the spirit of primitive accumulation.

The two poles of water rights in California are riparian rights and prior appropriation rights.

Riparian rights came from the Middle Ages through English Common Law to the American Colonies. Under the riparian rights doctrine, only people owning riverbank land had rights to use river water to drink, water their crops and livestock. People living away from rivers and streams used wells. Riparian rights did not imply any ownership of the river. Rivers were conceived of as belonging to God or to themselves. The riparian right was a seen as a use right, not a property right.

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The battle's on ... again

Submitted: Feb 17, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

2-16-12
Central Valley Business Times
House committee sends Central Valley water bill to House floor
http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=20436

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

•  Pits California representatives against each other

•  A new North-South war?


The House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday approved H.R. 1837, the “Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act” authored by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare.

Mr. Nunes says the bill will restore the flow of water to farms and rural communities, and make unnecessary the construction of a $12 billion peripheral canal to bypass the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.


Mr. Nunes call his bill a “remarkable North-South compromise” that will protect all water users.


But he apparently didn’t count all the noses.


Ten Northern California representatives say that as written, the legislation would divert additional water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta to South-of-Delta water users, running counter to established economic and environmental policies.

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California's problem is the direction of its economy, not the quantity of its natural resources

Submitted: Feb 15, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

2-15-12

San Francisco Chronicle

Study: Sierra snowfall conssitent over 130 years

Peter Fimrite

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi f=/c/a/2012/02/15/BA8N1N7HNQ.DTL

Snowfall in the Sierra Nevada has remained consistent for 130 years, with no evidence that anything has changed as a result of climate change, according to a study released Tuesday.

The analysis of snowfall data in the Sierra going back to 1878 found no more or less snow overall - a result that, on the surface, appears to contradict aspects of recent climate change models.

John Christy, the Alabama state climatologist who authored the study, said the amount of snow in the mountains has not decreased in the past 50 years, a period when greenhouse gases were supposed to have increased the effects of global warming.

The heaping piles of snow that fell in the Sierra last winter and the paltry amounts this year fall within the realm of normal weather variability, he concluded.

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GMO labeling petition

Submitted: Feb 10, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Thomas Wittman of Ecofarm, whose Genetic Engineering Newslist keeps us informed about the state of the GMO mess, has sent a request for signatures for a nationwide petition to label GMO foods and and an article reporting the latest news on the costs of such labeling -- nearly zilch despite what the trogs at the Biotech Industry Association put out.

Thanks to Thomas' unremitting work over the last decade we also know that the dirty little story of GMOs is in: they don't cut down on pesticide demand, gene drift via pollen makes GMO-crop fields major contaminators of their regions, Monsanto and its weak sisters in the industry move with relentless barbarism through the courts to enforce their "patents on life," trying to create a Meek New World in which farmers will not save seed and will pay whatever the biotech corporations demand for genetically modified seed. And that's just for starters.

Information about how you can join the Genetic Engineering Newslist is at the bottom of this page.

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

1-10-12
Ecofarm.org
Action Alert - Tell FDA You Want GE Foods Labeled!
Thomas Wittman

Dear Readers,
   Please go to the NOC site www.NationalOrganicCoalition.org or the Just Label It site to see all active links and to take action.
Thank you,
Thomas

 

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"...it ain't."

Submitted: Jan 23, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

"I know what you're thinking about," said Tweedledum; "but it isn't so, nohow."

"Contrariwise," continued Tweedledee, "if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't.

That's logic." -- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

 We found it necessary to consult this primary text in logic to attempt to "parse" (even to robustly and proactively parse") the following statement from the desk of our very own White Queen, Dianne Feinstein, senior US Senator for California:

Because California can't store enough water during wet years to compensate for dry years, transferring water is a criticaltool to help provide farmers, businesses and residential areas with a dependable water supply.--US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sacramento Bee, Jan. 17, 2012.

Within the primary unexamimed assumption, "Because California can't store enough water during wet years to compensate for dry years," there is another fundamental assumption, "California" itself.

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D-D-D-Duh-Dry December Drives Drums of Drought

Submitted: Jan 11, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

1-11-12

Merced Sun-Star

Dry January raises concern over drought in northern California…Matt Weiser

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2012/01/11/v-print/2186343/dry-january-raises-concern-over.html

The dreaded D-word – "drought" – is back on the tongues of many Californians now that a dry December has crawled into a dry January.

A dry December is not that unusual. But a dry January – well along into winter and usually the state's wettest month – is another matter.

"What is unusual is that it just hangs on and on and on," said Maury Roos, chief hydrologist at the California Department of Water Resources, noting it will be hard to recover from the missed January storms.

"It's not impossible, but it's quite unlikely we'll make it back to normal before the end of the season," Roos said.

Sacramento has had no rain since Dec. 15, and only a trace on that day: 0.07 inches.

Lake Tahoe – so dependent on snowfall for its winter economy – has fared just as badly. South Lake Tahoe has seen no measurable precipitation since Nov. 20, according to National Weather Service data.

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So, it was Mike Gallo's pipeline all along

Submitted: Jan 02, 2012
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Gee whiz: we're soooo surprised.

 

12-31-11

Merced Sun-Star

Livingston annexation appears on fast track

Gallo family wants 334 acres of land to be rezoned for industrial, commercial uses…JOSHUA EMERSON SMITH

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/12/31/v-print/2173795/livingston-annexation-appears.html

LIVINGSTON -- City officials have taken steps toward approving a Gallo family request to annex several hundred acres of land into the city.

Proponents argue it would set the stage for luring industry and jobs to the town. However, local residents have already voiced concerns about the possible negative impacts of development in the area.

On Thursday the Livingston Planning Commission voted unanimously to send an annexation plan to the City Council, which would make 334 acres of land owned by the Gallo family part of the city.

If the council votes to incorporate the property into the city limit, future industrial, commercial and housing developments approved at the site would then have access to public services, including water, sewer, fire and police -- important incentives for prospective investors.

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