Thanks guys, for another rendition of that same-old/same-old Country favorite, "I hear that huge, old suckin' sound"(the Trans-Pacific- Partnership version). Thanks for all the bribery and corruption enabling our cowardly, venal and crooked members of Congress to vote to blind themselves from what's in the trade agreement. Thanks for all the lies and corporatist "rules" of secrecy. Thanks for helping further close the American mind -- what's left of it -- for your profits. Thanks for shrugging your shoulders about Global Warming. Special thanks in advance for all the jobs this trade "agreement" will cost the US -- surely many entrepreneurs and dues-paying members of the Chamber of Commerce will arise from all that involuntary leisure. Thanks for your treason, all bunted up in the red, white and blue.Read More »
The drought in the San Joaquin Valley -- let's call it the Great San Joaquin Valley Drought ,,, no, we should call it The Greatest Drought in World History, because we like to have the biggest things in the world here -- biggest cheese plants, biggest almond crops, biggest winery, biggest land subsidence, greatest destruction of bees, biggest air-quality problems, and our water quality was recently the subject of a genuine United Nations investigation on behalf of the farm workers, mostly citizens of another country, which must have been the reason the UN got involved because, you know, being citizens of another country, they aren't exactly our responsibility, at least you could argue that people without the proper paperwork to be here don't really have a right to safe water supplies and sewer services. They're just farm workers, after all, you have to draw the line somewhere,, and where water is concerned, that line has to be clearly drawn because our sacred San Joaquin Valley economy is based on Irrigated Agriculture. And this year farm workers are cheaper than water and a sewer in compliance with state and federal regulations.Read More »
We've been stunned by the drought and responses to it locally and at a state and national level. Environmentalists have been warning about how farmers have been over-drafting the aquifer in the Central Valley for decades and have been snubbed and demonized for mentioning it, as if we were not citizens and members of the same society that landowners and urban businessmen are. They don't even have to bribe elected officials anymore; social elites spring up overnight around wealth in new industries, whose "leaders" get what they want and they always want more water. Elected officials and educators -- from kindergarten to UC Merced -- babble on constantly about leadership. And they all use that one phrase, growing more absurd by the day: "We've got to move forward."Read More »
Drought Dementia #3: Fracking, regulatory corruption, aquifer contamination, Harvard and Hilmar Cheese
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? -- bljRead More »
The drought has revealed that all the government and hydrological science available is not going to put California water policy back together again. It is like submitting Humpty Dumpty to exhaustive scientific studies of the tensile strength of egg shells and the heights of walls. As long as the king and his men keep growing, it will just get worse.
The total effect of groundwater regulation and associated increased expenses is going to be to put Valley agriculture 100-percent in the pockets of irrigation and water districts and federal and state agencies with jurisdiction over surface waters. The template has been in place for decades, but this will cause even more concentration of land ownership in the hands even fewer, richer growers. This neo-feudal system of agribusiness is so overwhelming that no new ideas or leadership can be generated from within it. Perhaps the bill by the two congressmen from north of the Bay Area at least won't add to the destruction. -- bljRead More »
We join the writer of a letter recently published in the Merced Sun-Star in welcoming a genuine "Fortune 250" energy corporation, NGR, to Merced County. We couldn't imagine anything as exciting short of news that Occidental Petroleum was opening a local office to manage it fracking wells. We are particularly joyful to see that this authentic renewable energy corporation calls its plantations of solar panels "gardens" instead of the clunckier "parks." used by a German-based transnational solar corporation to describe its plan to put 1,400 acres under glass on the west side.Read More »
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
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. -- blj1-2-15
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LA lives or dies by its own propaganda except for its fine B movies, its superb detective-story writers, and the incomparable Mike Davis (City of Quartz, Planet of Slums, and much more).
But, is it absolutely necessary that the rest of the state swallow LA propaganda, particularly on the question of how much Northern California water it "deserves" as "fair and equitable" so it can continue to grow? For the benefit of whom (1) at the cost of the destruction to what (2)?
See answers below. -- bljRead More »
How might the historical grasp of the frequency of megadroughts in California influence our decision on the water bond, with its funds for the construction of tunnels beneath the Delta to ship the fresher Sacramento River water to the great north-south canals?
For some, it make make the bond even more imperative than it already is for them. At any cost to the environmental and -- increasingly -- to the society, capitalism in California must continue following the path to the greatest return on investment -- real estate development, either residential or -- also increasingly -- in agribusiness. Another player in the merry dance of natural resource destruction in the state is hydraulic fracturing drilling for oil and gas, which uses enormous quantities of water and pollutes groundwater wherever it is established.
Others, perhaps more thoughtful people, and those who possess some connection with Nature not entirely committed to commercial exploitation and destruction, might take a different view. Or, simply that that portion of the vast majority of Californians that don't have much of any connection to Nature, exploitive or otherwise, but who are just not subject to being bullied by the fear mongering of the usual financial, insurance and real estate special interests.Read More »
"To extirpate" means to destroy completely or to extinguish. It is a fancy word used by resource-agency biologists in the past participle, "extirpated," as professional jargon for "extinction". Agribusiness, Southern Californa water agencies and state and federal resource agencies have been working together for years to extirpate the Delta smelt because it is the principle endangered species that obstructs agricultural corporations and urban water agencies from unlimited use of Delta water. Exstirpation of the Delta smelt would render moot the entire ediface of official biological opinion and state and federal judges' rulings that tend to limit the amount of water that primarily corporate agricultural interests (which use 80 percent of California's water) can legally take from the Delta.
The federal Bureau of Reclamation may be able to guarantee at least some water to junior water-rights holders in the Westlands Water District after the Delta smelt disappears from memory. If so, the gamble that west side growers took -- to plant permanent crops without a guarantee of receiving water in dry years -- will pay off and a new "balance" will be achieved.Read More »