9 Dec 2009

Speaking of bullshit

via Waterwired's tweet, Senator Diane Feinstein explains her support for a NAS review of the biological opinion, as requested by billionaire "farmer" Stewart Resnick:*
My reason for seeking the study is simple and clear. The Central Valley is in the midst of a devastating economic crisis, caused in part by a drought that has left hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland fallowed. This agricultural crisis, coupled with the collapse of the construction industry, has resulted in unemployment rates as high as 40 percent in some towns [1].

Some 13 lawsuits have been filed against the two biological opinions that form the basis for restricting water pumping to the Central Valley. These suits could hamper efforts to restore the delta ecosystem and complicate efforts to address California's water crisis [2].

Therefore, I believe a review by the Academy of Sciences is entirely appropriate. The Academy of Sciences is the most credible scientific body in the nation. When I met with valley farmers in August, they made it clear that the Academy of Sciences is the only scientific body whose opinion they will respect [3].
So, let's consider these points:
  1. This scattering of numbers does not connect the dots, ignoring WHY land is fallowed, unemployment is high and what impacts come from water pumping restrictions vs other causes. That said, I agree that less water is bad for business.
  2. So a NAS review will dismiss those suits? No. There will be a delay and then more suits.
  3. Does that mean that Resnick, Nunes, et al. will no longer challenge any ecological restoration programs if the NAS supports the biological opinion? I doubt it.
Bottom Line: DiFi's "explanation" is an thinly-veiled excuse for serving the needs of a big campaign contributor.


  1. Great post.

    The ESA is the ONLY thing that has worked in this issue; it is a last-stand regulation meant to kick in when things are right about to go over a cliff. And the processes that have been engendered because of it and other environmental regulations (like NEPA), have helped to make planning and government much, much more open and transparent than it had previously been.

  2. Great post - just gave your blog a shout-out, too, at:

  3. Everytime I hear about California's water woes, I go back to my reading of "Cadillac Dessert" and conclude that there shouldn't be much farming there at all, and much less population in California. It was government manipulation that made the growth of California possible, using cherry-picked numbers that allowed dams to be built, along with unsustainable farming.

  4. The given name is spelled "Stewart" according to most sources.

  5. Two helpful links: http://www.opencongress.org/people/show/300043_Dianne_Feinstein



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