Poole, Kate

Restoring Fairness to the World of California Water

By Kate Poole

The Los Angeles Daily News penned a noteworthy editorial last week titled California is drowning in ancient and unfair water rules. It’s noteworthy because the editorial correctly debunks some of the common myths about California’s water system and, in doing so, points the way to several needed reforms:

Myth 1 – urban southern California is the biggest water hog in the state.

A Victory for Central Valley Salmon

By Kate Poole
Natural Resources Defense Council

On Friday, the Ninth Circuit ruled, once again, that Westlands Water District and other junior Central Valley Project (CVP) water users in the San Joaquin Valley are only entitled to “surplus” water from California’s Bay-Delta, and are not entitled to flows that Congress dedicated to restore California’s beleaguered salmon runs. The decision may be found in full here. This decision should put a rest to the relentless campaign by Westlands’ approximately 600 agribusinesses to elevate their claims to California’s water resources above the public’s interest in healthy rivers and fisheries.

Here are a few highlights of the decision:

The court reiterates that the CVP was initially authorized “to provide for the transportation of ‘surplus’ waters within the Sacramento Valley to the San Joaquin River.” Page 5.

How to Deny that Fish Need Water

By Kate Poole
Natural Resources Defense Council

I recently came across this checklist for global warming deniers on Michael Campana’s post:

  1. Deny global warming.
  2. After global warming is determined to be real, deny that it's human caused.
  3. After it is determined to be human caused, deny that it will be harmful.
  4. After it is shown that it will be harmful, claim that it's too expensive to stop.
  5. After it is shown that it will be more expensive *not* to stop, send a threat to a climate scientist.
  6. Engage some scientists who may have ‘street creds,’ but in another field.

Insert the words “Delta ecosystem collapse” for “global warming,” and you have the playbook of some of the biggest water users in California who are driven by a desire to continue profiting from an unsustainable level of water diversions from the Bay-Delta.

Good Government Takes the Scare Away From Mad Scientists and Lawyers

By Kate Poole
Natural Resources Defense Council

It’s shaping up to be a happy Halloween for California’s fishermen, boaters, birdwatchers, and drinkers of water – in other words, all of us who rely on a healthy Delta ecosystem.

First, the Supreme Court yesterday denied the Pacific Legal Foundation’s request to hear PLF’s argument that fish who don’t manage to swim across state lines don’t deserve our protection.  PLF’s argument was mad lawyering at its best. Every single court to hear their claim has denied it.

Our Salmon Runs Are Going Extinct - The Time For Protections Is Now

By Kate Poole
Natural Resources Defense Council

On Tuesday, Judge Wanger issued what is likely his final ruling in the struggle to protect California’s mighty streams and rivers from the destructive impacts of excessive water diversions. His 279-page decision is not a surprise in light of the Judge’s previous rulings and the mountain of complaints that corporate agribusiness and others lobbed at the 2009 biological opinion. But it is a disappointment.

What’s in those rivers worth protecting? For one thing, our majestic king salmon runs and the many coastal fishing towns and families who rely on salmon fishing to make a living.  For another, the thousands of family farmers in the Delta who rely on clean, clear flows to keep their crops growing.

H.R. 1837 and the Death of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan

By Kate Poole
Natural Resources Defense Council

Last week, Congressman Nunes introduced an eye-poppingly radical bill, H.R. 1837, which would:

  • Eliminate a century-old requirement that the federal government follow state water law whenever possible;Overturn Endangered Species Act protections for the Bay-Delta and its imperiled fisheries;
  • Abolish the widely-supported San Joaquin River restoration settlement and its collaborative process to restore historic salmon runs;
  • Wipe out requirements to modernize the Central Valley Project in the Central Valley Project Improvement Act;
  • Override the historic state Water Reform Package passed in 2009 that adopted the co-equal goals of restoring the Bay-Delta ecosystem and improving water supply reliability as the twin drivers of California water management;