Thursday, April 17, 2008


Oppose the San Luis Drainage Resolution Act - bad for taxpayers, bad for California's environment

San Joaquin valley irrigation has destroyed California from north to south.

California has been devastated to enable this foolish irrigation project that never should have been constructed. Up north the Trinity River has been destroyed to divert too much water into the Sacramento River. (Trinity River history of water diversions - Friends of Trinity River.) The California Delta, the salmon and many other fishes have been destroyed by diverting too much Sacramento River water south to support these pollution farms in the western San Joaquin valley. Selenium, arsenic and other toxins that are released from these irrigated toxic waste farms pollutes southern California. These pollutants then return north via the San Joaquin River to poison the California Delta and San Francisco Bay. (Conservation Groups Oppose San Luis Drainage Resolution Act - Indybay 05april2008.)

All taxpayers should oppose the new selenium irrigation drainage plan for San Joaquin Valley in California.

"Farmers and federal officials are revising plans to fix the San Joaquin Valley's irrigation drainage problem. The latest plan quietly floated on Capitol Hill this week gives the sprawling Westlands Water District an indefinite contract for irrigation water. In exchange, Westlands would pay off some of the money it owes for irrigation facilities and assume the federal government's responsibility for drainage on the Valley's west side." (New selenium irrigation drainage plan proposed for Valley - FresnoBee 07mar2008)

This article exposes many serious problems of this new selenium toxic waste drainage plan.
• "Westlands would ... assume the federal government's responsibility for drainage on the Valley's west side" In the 20 years since the environmental disaster at Kesterson Reservoir federal scientists and engineers have been unable to devise an acceptable plan for drainage of the toxic wastes produced by this irrigation project. Why would we consider transferring responsibility for poison drainage to Westlands without first seeing their plan and the proof that their plan will protect the environment?

• "Administration officials believe a better alternative would be to hand the cleanup responsibility to Westlands, raising the big question of what Westlands gets in return." The real question is what taxpayers and citizens get in return!! If the government is unable or unwilling to clean up the mess that this federal irrigation project has created how can we be sure that Westlands will do any cleanup? Why would we transfer cleanup responsibility to Westlands without first seeing their plan and the proof that their plan will work?

• "indefinite contract for irrigation water" "exempt from the acreage-limitation rules designed to ensure only small farms get subsidized water" Why should the toxic pollution farms of Westlands get a sweetheart water contract far better than any other irrigation project gets? Large corporation agribusiness farms should never get taxpayer-subsidized cheap water supplies!!

• Why should the government give billions of dollars worth of taxpayer-subsidized water to Westlands just to avoid a few billions of dollars of cost for retiring the land and solving this environmental disaster once and for all? The full cost of what Westlands owes for the original construction of the irrigation project should be deducted from the money paid for any land retirement plan. It is more and more clear that the only solution is to retire these selenium polluted farmlands to end this toxic waste disaster.

Write to your federal legislators to oppose the San Luis Drainage Resolution Act.

California residents should contact your US congressional representatives to demand a better solution to the selenium toxic waste disaster in the western San Joaquin valley. California's water policy should serve the needs of the people, not just the special interests!!

I have written to my US congressional representatives: Sen. Feinstein, Sen. Boxer & Rep. Thompson.

For more information:
As state wrestles with scarcity, Westlands seeks sweetheart water deal, Sierra Club Yodeler mar2008.
California Delta Water Supply Policy and River Conservation Articles.
California Delta Directory - Conservation, Recreation & Water Policy. (79 sites).
Selenium Directory - toxic waste in irrigation drainage from the western San Joaquin Valley of California (59 sites).
Trinity River Directory - Conservation, Recreation & Water Policy. (26 sites).

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