GSSA President: Trump’s Possible Water Plan For California Would “Decimate” Salmon Runs (UPDATED)

Like country singer Dwight Yoakam, Donald Trump is hitting the “Streets Of Bakersfield” this week.

Trump’s visit to California includes a stop in Bakersfield, where it’s expected he’ll visit with farmers, who are in a water war with environmentalists and conservationists who fear more diverted water from the Delta would have a devastating effect on already precarious salmon runs.  Trump will be joined by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, per Central Valley Congressman and Trump ally Devin Nunes.

Here’s a statement from GSSA president John McManus on the President’s pending visit:

“Trump and his Interior Secretary are in California this week to push another shady deal.  This one seizes more northern California water, which will decimate the environment and the state’s valuable salmon runs, to give to his supporters in the desert-like western San Joaquin valley. 

Trump’s Interior Secretary Bernhardt worked for the huge corporate ag operators in the dry western San Joaquin Valley for years, fighting to bring them more water when the law prohibited it.  Having lost every court battle when he was their attorney, he’s now attempting to change the rules to allow huge increases in water diversions and pumping highly detrimental to the environment and jobs.  The Golden State Salmon Association and allies have gone to court to stop this water grab and to protect the jobs of tens of thousands of Californian’s in the salmon industry.

The state previously concluded that the increased water diversions under Trump fail to protect salmon and the environment.  Governor Gavin Newsom said he’d stand up to Trump’s assault on California and go to court to stop it but other voices have apparently gotten to him, and so far, Newsom has failed to act.

The governor should immediately authorize Attorney General Becerra to file litigation to protect the state, as AG Becerra successfully did when Trump administration tried to choke the upper Sacramento River and destroy parts of the McCloud River by raising Shasta Dam.

California needs Newsom to stand up to Trump and protect jobs, California’s waters, and the coastal and rural communities that rely on salmon.”

John McManus


Golden State Salmon Association

Here is some more commentary prior to Trump’s stopover in the Central Valley, from Noah Oppenheim, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, and Morning Star Gali, member of the Pit River Tribe and Tribal Water Organizer for Save California Salmon.

“The Federal Government has a tribal trust responsibility to protect salmon, but instead of honoring Tribes, Trump is doubling down on diverting the rivers we rely on,” said Morning Star Gali. “Tribes have senior water and fishing rights, and clean water and salmon are the center of our cultures, health and way of life. The Trump Administration’s salmon extinction plan would destroy our way of life.”

Gali added, “Governor Newsom promised to fight the Trump water grab and to honor California’s Tribes. Instead he is siding with the Trump Administration on behalf of California’s wealthiest water users. It’s time for Governor Newsom to walk his talk and fight for California’s Tribes, the environment, and for all Californians, not just his political donors.”

The President’s actions this week come at a time when the state of California must choose which path to take on water policy.

“Months ago, Governor Newsom pledged to fight against the federal plan to suck our rivers dry and irrigate poison-laced deserts in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Noah Oppenheim, executive director of PCFFA. “Today, the Governor and his staff talk about cutting green tape, the very legal and procedural protections that keep rivers, salmon, and fishing jobs alive. The Governor must not allow his agencies to lock arms with the Trump Administration and join the race to the bottom on water policy.”