After President Trump’s announcement during his California trip that would divert water to Central Valley farmers and presumably threaten the state’s king salmon runs, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the state will file a lawsuit.
Here’s reaction from the Golden State Salmon association:
On February 20 California attorney general Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit challenging new federal water diversion and pumping rules for the Central Valley Project. By this action, California joins GSSA and our allies in court challenging the new federal rules which, if implemented, would cause great damage to the state’s biggest salmon runs and the environment.
The AG’s lawsuit finds, among other things the new Trump water diversion rules “…acknowledges the high extinction risk for winter-run Chinook salmon. NMFS, however, then permits changes in South Delta exports and Old and Middle River (OMR) flows that will indisputably result in more entrainment and other harm to listed salmon.”
This means that while the federal government admits that winter run salmon are at risk of going extinct, they still allow big increases in water diversions in the Delta that will further harm these salmon as well as other wildlife.
You can read the press release put out by the Attorney General’s office here. You can read the AG’s lawsuit here.
Statement from John McManus, president, Golden State Salmon Association:
“Fishermen and women, and the tens of thousands working in the salmon industry throughout California, especially in rural areas, are very grateful to Attorney General Xavier Becerra for his bold action to support our salmon runs, our industry and overall ecological health of the Central Valley, the Delta and San Francisco Bay. We thank Governor Newsom for the legal challenge and ask that he order the Department of Water Resources to rework its permit application under state law to pump Delta water so it too is protective of our salmon runs and the overall environment. This needs to be done in accordance with the best science which clearly says that more, not less, wildlife protections are needed.”
About GSSA: The Golden State Salmon Association (www.goldenstatesalmon.org) is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fishermen and women, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. GSSA’s mission is to restore California salmon for their economic, recreational, commercial, environmental, cultural and health values.
Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in economic activity and 23,000 jobs annually in a normal season and about half that much in economic activity and jobs again in Oregon. Industry workers benefiting from Central Valley salmon stretch from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This includes commercial fishermen and women, recreational fishermen and women (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and others.