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Crisis In Court: Mega-farms Trying to Seize Salmon Water

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
16 August 2013, 12:05 PM
Court hearings this week may decide fate of Klamath/Trinity River salmon
Local fishing communities depend on healthy salmon runs. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

This is the time of year when Chinook salmon head back up the Klamath/Trinity River system to spawn—if they have abundant, cold water.

But this year—this week—powerful business interests are in court trying to seize that water, putting tens of thousands of salmon, and an entire generation of their offspring, in peril.

Here’s why:

Because California faces drought this year, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec) has developed a plan to release extra water from dams along the Trinity River (a tributary of the Klamath) to prevent another disaster like the ‘Fish Kill of 2002.’ Also a drought year, 2002 saw the Klamath running low, slow and with high temperatures. The Bush administration prevented water from being released, leading to a massive die-off of adult Chinook salmon, one of the worst fish kills in U.S. history. Coastal communities dependent on those salmon suffered $200 million losses.

Fast forward to this year: Corporate agricultural interests, led by the powerful Westlands Water District in California’s Central Valley, have sued to block water releases that will protect salmon. This despite the fact that more than half the water from the Trinity River is already diverted to industrial agriculture.

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, represented by Earthjustice, intervened last week in defense of BuRec’s plan to protect the salmon run. A 3-day hearing this week will determine the salmon’s fate.

“Healthy salmon runs are the sustainable lifeblood of Northern California coastal fishing communities,” explains Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman. “But without enough water in the river for salmon to survive, these resources will disappear.”

Stay tuned.

Release the water. Big business is killing everything. Even the people. Please use your power o protect the fish.

These god damned entities i.e. corporate agricultural interests, led by the powerful Westlands Water District in California’s Central Valley need to be put in their place by whatever means possible. Our country and it's environmental character is being damaged to the point of no return - and it seems those in power don't give a tinkers dam about anything that is not in their own selfish interests. People need to get in their face and do whatever needs to be done to protect this most important habitat and spawning grounds of the Chinook salmon. Tell them to shape up - or literally - go to hell - - -

does anyone know of the old saying "cut your nose off to spite your face"? seems like this is what the business moguls are trying to do. I can hear them now ' WE need the water more than the salmon do so we can grow more crops'. what good are crops now against the loss of future salmon??? we have got to stop the 'easy fix' mentality that this country seems to rely on.

leave our rivers alone!! The Trinity river is beautiful and our salmon and their way of life is important to us. The Government needs to quit destroying our wild life.

Not only the salmon, the bears who need to eat the salmon are effected. It's the whole wildlife Eco system!! Stop this greed!

Well in the Obama regime, special interests also trump the public good. The corruption starts in DC and if fish have to die, they don't care. They killed Americans in Benghazi. What's a few fish.

Why do we even need to explain how imperitive it is the water releases be allowed to take place especially when the fact is that more than half the water from the Trinity River is already diverted to industrial agriculture. The water must be released to protect Salmon thereby protecting humans. It is clear and easy for any intelligent person to understand they would not even question protecting our natural resources by releasing the water.

I, for one, am HEARTILY SICK AND FED UP with hearing about rancher-PARASITES, "agri-business" or other forms of big business seeking to trash MY planet and Wildlife. We SERIOUSLY need to get rid of all - ALL - the planet's politicians and replace them with ECOLOGISTS, who, hopefully, will also have enough intelligence to enforce Hominid PC & E..

PC & E = Population Control & Eugenics..

The principal crops grown in the area include alfalfa hay, cereal grains, onions, potatoes, sugarbeets, grass seed, and irrigated pastures for beef cattle.

ALFALFA AND HAY FOR CATTLE!! Beef should be more expensive. Get it from Texas and eat less of it.

CEREAL GRAINS!! Get it from the great plains and stop eating so many carbs.

ONIONS AND POTATOES!!! Get them from Iowa.

GRASS SEED!! Get it from Kansas

SUGAR BEETS!!! Get the sugar from cane crop and if the price goes higher because you have to ship it so far then TOO BAD; eat lest processed sugar.

And if all this cost a little more then tighten your belt. Most of us are too fat anyway and leave the environment undestroyed.

This basin does not need to be a major agriculture area. Sorry farmers: but you must learn to adapt not destroy. We don't need to suck up all the water needed for this major ecosystem for this unnecessary agribusiness.

There always needs to be a good balance between farming and other industries and needs. However for the agri-business to sue, in an effort to crush another industry is ridiculous.

Corporations have no conscience everything in their way must die. It has always seemed to me that things went downhill faster when "Personnel" offices changed their name to "Human Resources" and the actual persons became just another "resource" to be mined at will. Where I worked it became much harder for the workers to upgrade in their jobs. New staff that were hired into management were from outside and had to be trained by those who would be "bossed". It sounds like an old wives tale but it happens. It became a situation of "if you don't like it quit". If the fish are in the way. Too bad. Corporations need the air you breathe and in the fishes case the water they live in. It's got to stop.

So... the fish will end up being killed anyway, right? By the fishing community? So this isn't really about "saving the salmon".

I believe that agribusiness should not be allowed access to the waters of the salmon spawning areas. What next? First it's fracking and now this in the war on water. It seems there are billions of other planets able to support life. Why are we interested?
So that after finishing off this one we can start on the others?

Stop destroying our environment

Stop destroying our environment

We must fight for our rights and the rights of nature. Until we change our laws to say nature (ecosystems) have the right to "resist, persist, regenerate and evolve." corporations and Commerce Laws will prohibit such change.

Mega farms and agribusiness? This is kind names for money hungry powermongering corporations that want control of our food supply along with the naturals gas industry wanting to control our water supply with hydrologic fracturing. All these damn people want is another billion dollars in profit. Just how much money does a CEO or a Board of Trustees need? The answer is: there will never be enough money for these gluttens. They're in the "big club", and you and I are not in the "big club". I learned this early in life at about 25. I'm now 57 and I see it's even worse than I thought it was. The best example was the invention of the Iraq war for the profit of Cheney's Halliburton on the blood and lives of poor and middle class people. It's as old as the 30 pieces of silver paid for Christ's life.

Corporations have no conscience everything in their way must die. It has always seemed to me that things went downhill faster when "Personnel" offices changed their name to "Human Resources" and the actual persons became just another "resource" to be mined at will. Where I worked it became much harder for the workers to upgrade in their jobs. New staff that were hired into management were from outside and had to be trained by those who would be "bossed". It sounds like an old wives tale but it happens. It became a situation of "if you don't like it quit". If the fish are in the way. Too bad. Corporations need the air you breathe and in the fishes case the water they live in. It's got to stop.

In this case, what is finally being argued are the interests of one food production industry over the other. Upon its merits, it is similar to Soloman's dilemma with two mothers and one live baby. In that case, Soloman was able to discern who the real mother was. This one needs to be resolved in the same manner but not reliant on a mother's love.

The giant industrial agribusinesses in California not only supply food but at an inflated price for their massive profit rake offs for the dividends to their shareholders. To some extent, the same is true of the fishing industry but it is not quite the same. There are those who fish for the salmon who are not giant corporations for profit first and food production last. Without any profit motive at all they will still fish. Without profit motive the others would go into some other line of work. Many of the fishermen are depending on the salmon in a direct way for their own food. Thus, the one depletes the resource for profit, while the other wishes to preserve it for their own survival and for the future well being of their posterity. It is when we come to this word "posterity," that we find the legal basis for a ruling.

According to the Constitution of the United States, in its Preamble, the very most elemental purposes of the Federal government's reason for being are set forth. Every Article in that Constitution and every law made under it and every decision of every Federal Court and by extension of Article Six, every decision, by every Judge, in any place under the judicial authority of the United States, shall be bound by the intentional directives of that Preamble, setting forth the real purpose of all that "We the people" have therein "ordained."

Among other things, "We the people" have "ordained" that there shall be accomplished, as one thing, that our government will "promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to our posterity." It was to these and its other purposes that "We the people," the ultimate sovereign authority of the United States of America did "ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." In this case, "promoting the general welfare" could mean "taking care of business," in the valleys of California or it could mean that we must "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." With these two views somewhat in conflict with each other, the court must decide which takes precedent. The answer appears quite clear to me.

Businesses and their opportunities come and go. "Liberty" is neither guaranteed nor permanent, so long as there are those who insist upon denying some others of us the basics of survival, for their personal gain and profit. It was our Declaration of Independence which guided us in all that we sought to do, in establishing the United States of America. Therein it is stated: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." When one interest is empowered with the ability to damage the liberty of another, to achieve their pursuit of happiness or worse to the basic materials necessary to life itself, we have to take the view that the material blessings of "profit" must not take precedence over the "posterity" of all others, not only in the given generation of these proceedings, for all future generations as well.

If we keep allowing corporate interests to kill off our essential wildlife, at some point, "liberty" will not be possible to any individual, who does not bow down to the demands of the corporate power, which is all too rapidly becoming the new governing authority of the United States. As it is, even now, most of our citizens could not be free of the coercive influences of our organized civilization, because they would have not a clue about how to step into the aboriginal past and live off the land. Yet, so long as our natural world is preserved for "our posterity," there is freedom and the option of liberty and life and the pursuit of happiness (lawfully), beyond the immediate demands of our civilization. That IS the most basic birthright of our posterity at stake in this case. Once the wildlife is gone, so too is any potential of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," beyond the reach of the controlling authority of the corporate power, of those who will have taken possession of the whole land and all other means of production, which would represent not only a final victory for unbridled capitalism but for feudalism as well... and with no "new world" to run to, to escape it... the very antithesis of the foundations upon which this country and its Constitution were founded.

Let the waters flow freely to the sea and the wildlife flourish... not only for now but for our posterity. Long live the United States of America.

I had forgotten to put my name to this composition, which I do claim, as can be verified by the e-mail address of the person submitting it to Earth Justice, whom I release to verify that information, also. Franklin Walters.

We must protect our fish they can not protect themselves.

Stop messing with nature! Enough already!

We must protect our fish they can not protect themselves.

Please do not allow anymore environmental/ecological damage to occur to our already diminished natural stocks. There are always amicable solutions to be had, ones which allow productive commerce, without the penalties required of sacrifice.

This is reprehensible. This goes along with all the other damage big agribusiness is doing to our food chain. Time to take a stance. Buy local, buy organic!

Someone grab some and put them in an artificial environment for a break then reintroduce them to their proper habitat.

We as "we the people" must never forget that for the 1% uberrich, everything will never be enough.

Big agricultural can recover sooner than the salmon from lack of water. The disaster salmon kill of 2012 should not be repeated. The U S Bureau of Reclamation is acting correctly.

A legal battle between big agriculture and salmon fishery over water rights is only a temporary solution to the core problem of climate change. In the end we will destroy both unless we can come together on this issue. The facts are clear to support climate science. The problem is that our governmental leadership cannot come together on this issue. If ignorance is the problem than education is the solution. If they don't believe in science, they are not representing the common good of our nation and should be voted out of office.

Save our fisheries protect our salmon stock for future generations.

For crying out loud...stop, STOP. Is their no animal species on earth worth saving? You can't eat money morons.

Agri-business? AKA factory farms. They're destroying the country, sucking up vast quantities of water, spreading disease to the waters, the soil, and air, developing and maintaining the most inhumane, disgusting farming methods ever known and now they want to murder more fish so they can steal water for their nefarious "businesses."

No, the answer is no. Factory farms need to be wiped off the face of the earth. Give the land and its resources back to the small farmers who once upon a time raised animals, produce, and grains etc that didn't kill us.

Republikon policies have wreaked havoc and despair on our country...make it stop NOW!

The fight for the living creatures just doesn't end. Don't stop to fight for the Earth and its voiceless inhabitants. Thank you for your vigilance. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

During a drought all interests need to be looked at. Obviously killing the Salmon
Is not an option. How about doing water releases now and just during the run and stop after the run is over. Or just releases every other day. Surely there is a solution that benefits all without harming the Salmon.

Release the water for the salmon run. People need to these fish, to live. We know all about drought, here in, Texas, but we manage to live with them. Please use common sense when it comes to water use.! Let the water flow, for the salmon, and restrict yard watering, instead.
That's what we are doing in West Texas, until our water table goes back up.

When mankind holds the fate of our fellow creatures in our hands, it is our responsibility to protect them, and not stand with selfish interests who only care about their businesses even when they're not under threat. They want ALL the water, even at the expense of an entire eco-system (the salmon) and those people who depend on them for THEIR livelihood.

Do the right thing; release the water.

We can't take water from salmon and create another horror of a fish-kill. Do not divert this water.

Please. let the salmon live

is there any thing else that i as a private person except for donating money to help...i don't have much money

This can't happen!

Don't block water release. We need to Salmon.

Please consider the fate of the salmon and the fishing communities that depend on them.

Keep the water- SAVE THE FISH!!!

We need to balance water use to effectively maintain our fisheries, and effective water use by our agricultural industry. Our focus should be effective use, making full use of conservation, drip irrigation, planting of crops appropriate to the existing climate change, and planning for the future. The past is gone, and we need to recognize this.

The salmon run is an important vital part of the ecosystem. To disrupt this will disrupt everything. A cascading effect.

Please read the comments - it is necessary for 'Healthy salmon runs which are the sustainable lifeblood of Northern California coastal fishing communities. But without enough water in the river for salmon to survive, these resources will disappear.'
The powerful Westlands Water District in California's Central Valley ALREADY have diverted more than half the water from the Trinity River for industrial agriculture. Please help stop this water grab and save the salmon. Please do the 'right' thing. Please. Thank you.

America is domed especially now America is totally under the influence of huge organizations
that simply don't care about fish. Protecting their investments is their business at any cost .
There is a trend now in the US where large tracts of river's water and other water sourced there is under threat mostly from drought, which has a knock on effect as companies try to secure the water that is still available and literally make it their own, which in turn effects normal average people s life's with huge consequence because they lack the power to defend their own interests in a supposedly free country.
If the Bush administration didn't care don't expect a different decision this time although personally I hope that's not the case . Food sources for the future should be given massive priority, that means the Salmon should prevail, the way they are farming in this disputed region on the land is simply not sustainable

Please take a stand for what is right

Stop messing with nature

The fish deserve better than this!

This sickens and frightens me. Don't corporations get it? Do they not have children and grandchildren who may inherit millions, but will surely suffer like anyone else when these greedy corporations destroy natures' resources. Money cannot buy a new Eco-system.

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