Save the Fish, Starve the Humans

Saving a two-inch “endangered” fish has cost hundreds of thousands of jobs in California ‘s Central Valley and turned parts of it, some of the most productive agricultural land in the U.S., into a dust bowl. 

Putting humans first while saving “endangered species” should be a high priority policy goal of the new Republicans in Washington, D.C.

I know.  I put repealing ObamaCare at the top of that list.  Closely followed by rolling back Obama’s suicidal no-oil-drilling policy.

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is next.

This rogue agency is gearing up to impose “cap and tax” to fight “global warming” without congressional authority to do so.  The immediate effect would be to “skyrocket” (Obama’s word) electricity rates for everyone.  Can’t wait to hear Nancy Pelosi call that a “job generator.”

The EPA also plans to impose stricter CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards on all cars sold in the U.S.  The immediate effect of this will be to mandate hybrid and electric cars at the same time that “cap and tax” skyrockets electricity rates and makes it impossible to build new electricity generating plants.

To the Republicans’ credit, Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R.-Mich.) have introduced measures to restrict the EPA from ruining the economy to fight global warming.

While addressing these EPA/Obama absurdities, Republicans also need to rein in the Endangered Species Act.  The California experience tells us why this is an urgent need if the private market economy is ever to revive.

University of California (Davis) Prof. Peter Moyle started the Save the Delta Smelt campaign.  The professor admits that the smelt has no commercial value, that its life cycle is just one year, and that, even in optimal conditions, it’s prone to extinction anyway.

Nonetheless, it must be saved at any cost.  That’s the mandate of the Endangered Species Act.  Moyle was successful in convincing the EPA to list the Delta Smelt as endangered in 1993.  Several court cases later, the obscene cost of saving a fish the professor says has only been in the Sacramento River delta for 8,000 to 10,000 years is now apparent.

Simply put, California transfers water from the water-rich north to the parched south, much of it through the Sacramento River delta.  Pulling the freshwater south allows saltier water to infiltrate the delta area from the San Francisco Bay, disrupting what Moyle describes as the fish’s sensitivity to salinity levels.

To save the smelt, farmland in the delta has been purchased by the government and taken out of production, and freshwater deliveries to 25 million people and about 2 million acres of rich farmland south of the delta have been drastically reduced.

The effect of that?  All kinds of fun. 

Massive unemployment among farmers and farm workers (many of them illegal), rising vegetable, fruit, and rice prices as demand increases but supply is constricted, sweeping “water conservation” programs in Southern California leading to a series of water rate hikes that hit the poorest the hardest, and a flight of water-using industries to friendlier places, costing working Californians good-paying jobs.

Reduced crops in California have aggravated already rising food prices throughout the world, contributing to the food riots in Tunisia that led to the overthrow of the government there.

That’s all.  Small prices to pay to preserve this smelt, don’t ya think?

Note the politics here.  The Democrats own California.  The governor and all statewide offices and big majorities in the state legislature are all Democrats and they are backed by a liberal media and hard-left academia.

With the delta smelt issue, it’s Democrat vs. Democrat.  The working poor, the welfare poor, the illegals, the United Farm Workers Union, the Los Angeles Democratic machine and its phalanx of minorities are all on one side.  The environmentalists and their allies in Hollywood and San Francisco on the other. 

The Enviros won.  They own the courts, because the Endangered Species Act is crystal clear—once listed as endangered, a species must be preserved at any and all cost. 

The result in California is devastating.  Washington Republicans must act now—the result will save California’s economy, help the worlds food supply situation, and, just maybe, restore viable two-party politics here too.