Will Jerry Brown Find 'Common Ground' With Trump on Building Delta Tunnels?

By Dan Bacher | November 14, 2016 | California Governor Jerry Brown issued a statement last week on the 2016 presidential election a...



By Dan Bacher | November 14, 2016 |


California Governor Jerry Brown issued a statement last week on the 2016 presidential election and the transition to the new Trump administration in the wake of one of the nastiest, most vitriolic and most bizarre presidential elections in U.S. history.

He said his administration would do its part  “to find common ground whenever possible” while “protecting the precious rights of our people” and confronting “devastating climate change.
Brown stated, “Today we saw the beginning of the transfer of power to the President-elect.
While the prerogatives of victory are clear, so also are the responsibilities to ensure a strong and unified America. As President Lincoln said, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ With the deep divisions in our country, it is incumbent on all of us – especially the new leadership in Washington – to take steps that heal those divisions, not deepen them. In California, we will do our part to find common ground whenever possible.
But as Californians, we will also stay true to our basic principles. We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time – devastating climate change.  
E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
While I strongly support his call to protect people’s rights and to confront climate change, I fear that these are hollow words and he may in fact make a deal with incoming President Trump to support his “legacy project,” the environmentally destructive Delta Tunnels plan, the construction of new dams and the expansion of fracking in California.
While Brown poses as a “climate leader” and “environmentalist” at climate conferences, he is heavily backed by agribusiness billionaires and the oil companies — the same corporate interests that have funded Brown’s reelection and proposition campaigns, including Proposition 1 in 2014. These are the same corporate interests that Trump and his transition team represent.
I fear that the “common ground” that the Brown administration will find with the Trump administration will be on tunnels, new dams and fracking. We must stop Brown from working with Trump to weaken landmark laws like the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act in order to fast-track the completion of the California Water Fix before he leaves office.
Trump's “rumored cabinet wishlist” includes Sarah "Drill, baby, Drill" Palin as Secretary of the Interior; anti-EPA Texas Ag Commissioner Sid Miller as Secretary of Agriculture; and fracking billionaire Harold Hamm as Energy Secretary, according to Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club
Trump hasn't taken a specific position on the Delta Tunnels, but his comments to date on California water have shown a strong embrace of the campaign by corporate agribusiness interests to pump more water from the Delta at the expense of Delta smelt and salmon populations. At a rally at the Selland Arena in Fresno on May 27, 2016,  he appeared to agree with the claims of some growers that there is no drought in California.
“When I just left, 50 or 60 farmers in the back and they can’t get water. And I say, ‘How tough is it; how bad is the drought?’ 'There is no drought, they turn the water out into the ocean.’ And I said I’ve been hearing it and I spent a half an hour with them it’s hard to believe.” (www.slate.com/...)
He also claimed that the subsidized water that growers should have received was washed out to sea in an effort to protect “a certain kind of 3-inch fish," referring to the Delta smelt .
“Believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive,” said Trump. 
Alex Breitler, Stockton Record reporter, pointed out, “’Opening up the water’  implies increasing the volume of water exported south from the Delta, exports that are blamed in part for the long-term decline of the fragile river estuary west of Stockton. The Delta ecosystem suffers from a kind of perpetual drought because more than half of its fresh water historically has been diverted for human use.” (www.recordnet.com/...
Politico also reported Wednesday that David Bernhardt, a lawyer who co-chaired the natural resources department at the firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck and served as a George W. Bush Interior Department official, is leading the transition's Interior Department team.  
According to Congressional disclosures, his current lobbying clients include the Westlands Water District, considered the Darth Vader of California politics by Tribes, fishermen and environmentalists, and one of the biggest proponents of exporting more Delta water. Bernhart  represented the Westlands Water District on litigation involving the Delta and the Endangered Species Act. (www.politico.com/…
Big Ag’s Nunes appointed to Trump transition team!
It gets worse. Today Representative Devin Nunes (CA-22), one of the most aggressive Congressional proponents of increasing Delta water exports to agribusiness, joined the executive committee of Donald Trump’s transition team.
“Today I was honored to have been named to the executive committee of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team,” said Nunes in a statement. “In this role, I will advise President-elect Trump on the appointments of his Cabinet members and on appointments to other top positions in the new administration. I look forward to helping to assemble an energetic and forward-looking team that will capably lead our country toward more economic growth, greater opportunity, and a safer homeland for all Americans.” 
Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels/California Water Fix plan poses a huge threat to the ecosystems of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Klamath and Trinity river systems. The project is based on the untenable premise that taking more water out of a river before it reaches the estuary will somehow “restore” the San Francisco Bay Delta and its precious fish and wildlife species.
This project, featuring two massive 35 mile long tunnels under the Delta, will make the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, San Francisco Bay and our ocean waters into a giant aquatic graveyard. We must drive a stake into the heart of this project and stop it from pushing Delta and longfin smelt, Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, green sturgeon and other fish and wildlife species into extinction — and prevent Brown and his administration from making any deals with the Trump that will weaken landmark environmental laws to push forward the tunnels, as well as new dams and fracking.
Background: Brown’s real environmental  legacy exposed 
While Jerry Brown often receives fawning coverage from the mainstream media when he appears at climate conferences in California and across the globe,  his policies on fish, wildlife, water and the environment are among the most destructive of any governor in recent California history. 
The California WaterFix is not the only environmentally devastating policy promoted by Governor Brown. Brown is promoting the expansion of fracking and extreme oil extraction methods in California and is overseeing water policies that are driving winter run-Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other species closer and closer to extinction.
As if those examples of Brown’s tainted environmental legacy weren’t bad enough, Brown has promoted carbon trading and REDD policies that pose an enormous threat to Indigenous Peoples around the globe; has done nothing to stop clearcutting of forests by Sierra-Pacific and other timber companies; presided over record water exports from the Delta in 2011; and oversaw massive fish kills of Sacramento splittail and other species in 2011.
Jerry Brown also oversaw the “completion” of so-called “marine protected areas” under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, overseen by a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate interests, in December 2012. These faux “Yosemites of the Sea” fail to protect the ocean from oil drilling, fracking, pollution, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
Brown spouts “green” rhetoric when he flies off to climate conferences and issues proclamations about John Muir Day and Earth Day, but his actions and policies regarding fish, water and the environment should be challenged by all of those who care about the future of California and the West Coast.
The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) in September opened an investigation into the California Democratic Party in response to a report by a prominent consumer group, Consumer Watchdog, claiming that the party acted as a “laundry machine” to funnel donations from oil, energy and utility companies to Brown’s 2014 election campaign. 
The report, “Brown's Dirty Hands, tabulated donations totaling $9.8 million dollars to Jerry Brown’s campaigns, causes, and initiatives, and to the California Democratic Party since he ran for Governor from 26 energy companies with business before the state. The companies included the state’s three major investor-owned utilities, as well as Occidental, Chevron, and NRG.
The report alleges that energy companies donated $4.4 million to the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party gave $4.7 million to Brown’s re-election between 2011 and 2014. Consumer Watchdog submitted its report to the FPPC as a sworn complaint.
To read Brown’s Dirty Hands, go here: www.consumerwatchdog.org/...


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