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California growers continue to expand their almond acreage in the state during the current drought while the Brown administration has mandated that urban families slash their water usage by 25 percent. (http://www.sacbee.com/...

California’s 2014 almond acreage is estimated at 1,020,000 acres, up 50,000 acres from the 2013 acreage of 970,000, according to a recent  survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. That is an increase of 5 percent in one year (http://www.nass.usda.gov/...)  

At the beginning of our current drought, almond acreage was 870,000 acres, reported the "On the Public Record" blog. (http://onthepublicrecord.org)

When you subtract the 870,000 acres from 1,020,000 acres, you get an increase of 150,000 acres - again, all during a record drought.

Of the total acreage for 2014, 870,000 acres were bearing and 150,000 acres were nonbearing, the Service reported. The preliminary bearing  acreage for 2015 is estimated at 890,000 acres, according to the service.

The survey also revealed that Nonpareil continued to be the leading variety of almonds, followed by Monterey, Butte, Carmel and Padre.

Kern, Fresno, Stanislaus, Merced and Madera were the leading counties  These five counties had 73 percent of the total bearing acreage, the Service reported.

So how would the amount of increased almond acreage translate into increased water usage during the current drought?

Using a number of 3.5 AF of water per acre of almonds at ULTIMATE demand with mature trees, the new acreage of 150,000 acres X 3.5 af/Acre = 525,000 AF of water ultimate demand. In other words, over 500,000 acre feet, or half of Folsom Lake when full, would be necessary to irrigate the new almond acreage once the trees become mature!

This new almond acreage when mature will also use more water than the average annual yield of all the proposed CALFED storage projects put together, according to Steve Evans, Wild Rivers Consultant. The PPIC estimates the CALFED projects will have a combined average annual yield of 410,000 AF.

Representatives of fishing groups, environmental groups and Indian Tribes have criticized the expansion of water acreage for almonds, a water intensive crop, at a time when salmon, Delta smelt and other fish populations are imperiled by poor water management by the state and federal governments - and when urban users are now mandated to cut back on water use by 25 percent.

“It’s a good thing for urban users to conserve water, but since agriculture uses 80 percent of water, the Governor's emergency drought declaration missed the mark by not including agriculture,” said Tom Stokely, Water Policy Analyst for the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN)  “A lot of people feel their efforts to conserve water are so that a wealthy almond farmer can plant more trees and make greater profit. These statistics on increased almond plantings actually PROVE that we are conserving water in urban areas so that more almonds can be planted."

In response to those who argue that if the acreage wasn't planted with almonds, it would be planted with cotton or other crops, Stokely noted, "Cotton is not a permanent crop and you can fallow it any year. You cannot fallow permanent crops like almonds and pistachios."

"It's inexcusable to increase the demand for California water by 500,000 AF in the midst of a historic drought," Stokely emphasized.

As urban users are mandated to slash their water use, Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick, owner of Paramount Farms and the largest tree fruit grower in the world, revealed his current efforts to expand pistachio, almond and walnut acreage during a record drought at this year’s annual pistachio conference hosted by Paramount Farms. (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/...)  

During the event covered by the Western Farm Press, Resnick bragged about the increase in his nut acreage over the past ten years, including an 118 percent increase for pistachios, 47 percent increase for almonds and 30 percent increase for walnuts.  

For more information about the California Water Impact Network, go to: http://www.c-win.org

Discuss

A lot of things about Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick, owner of Paramount Farms, and his wife, Lynda, are well-known.

Environmentalists have castigated the Resnicks, the largest orchard fruit growers in the world, and other corporate agribusiness interests for planting thousands of acres of new almond trees during the drought while Governor Jerry Brown is mandating that urban families slash water usage by 25 percent. (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/...)

The media, particularly alternative outlets, have also widely publicized the instrumental role that Resnicks played in promoting campaigns to eviscerate Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt populations and to build the fish-killing peripheral tunnels.

The Resnicks have become infamous as the "Koch Brothers of California Water" for the many thousands of dollars they contribute to candidates and propositions in California every year. (http://www.dailykos.com/...)

It is also well-documented how Resnick, while serving on the board of Conservation International, bought subsidized Delta water and then sold it back to the public for a big profit as Delta fish and Central Valley salmon populations crashed. (https://www.indybay.org/...)

The Resnicks' contributions to the arts and charities, as well as the millions donated to the Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA, are also well publicized. (https://www.law.ucla.edu/...)

However, I bet you didn't know that Stewart Resnick also sits on the Board of Advisors of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, made famous for serving as Chancellor when UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike pepper sprayed students during the Occupy protests in the fall of 2011. (http://chancellor.ucdavis.edu/...)

But that's not the only position in the educational system than Resnick holds. According to the UC Davis website, Resnick is a member of the Executive Board of the UCLA Medical Sciences; member of the Board of Trustees of Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; member of the Board of Trustees of the J. Paul Getty Trust; and trustee of the California Institute of Technology. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Anderson School Management, University of California, Los Angeles.

Resnick and his wife have managed to use their wealth not only to exert enormous influence over water politics in California, but over the educational sphere as well. This is yet one more example of the growing collaboration between corporations, billionaires and government in California and across the nation.

Here is the list of the Chancellor's Board of Advisors, where Resnick serves with other corporate leaders such as Riley P. Bechtel and Vivek Ranadivé:

Riley P. Bechtel
Bryan Cameron
Tani Cantil-Sakauye
Nancy Cantor
Richard H. Carmona
John A. De Luca
James J. Duderstadt
M.R.C. Greenwood
Alan Leshner
Vivek Ranadivé
Stewart A. Resnick
Patrick Soon-Shiong
Kathie Sowa
William P. Sullivan
John S. Watson
Sanford I. Weill  

Resnick's biography on the UC Davis website is listed below.

Stewart A. Resnick, president & CEO, Roll Global LLC:

Stewart A. Resnick is chairman and owner of Roll Global, a Los Angeles-based holding company that includes both global agricultural operations and well-known consumer-facing brands.

Among Mr. Resnick's companies are a number of Central California-based farming companies, including Paramount Citrus, Paramount Farming and Paramount Farms, the world’s largest growers, processors and marketers of citrus, almonds and pistachios. His holdings also include POM Wonderful, grower of pomegranates and maker of the all-natural POM Wonderful pomegranate juice; Teleflora, the largest floral wire service in the world; FIJI Water, the largest imported bottle water in the United States; Suterra, the largest biorational pest control company in the United States; and more recently, JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery, an award-winning winery based in Paso Robles focusing on Bordeaux-style blends and single varietals.

Mr. Resnick is a member of the Executive Board of the UCLA Medical Sciences; member of the Board of Trustees of Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; member of the Board of Trustees of the J. Paul Getty Trust; member of the Board of Conservation International; and trustee of the California Institute of Technology.  He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Anderson School Management, University of California, Los Angeles.

Mr. Resnick holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Juris Doctorate from UCLA Law School.

Last update: October 16, 2012

Discuss

On May 1, Governor Jerry Brown announced the following changes in staff positions at the Department of Water Resources following Thursday's release of the revised Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).

The three people appointed to new positions at the Department - Richard Stapler, Nancy Vogel and Ed Wilson - are all names well-known to those who follow the water wars and the Governor's campaign to build the twin tunnels under the Delta.

One of the key differences between the previous version of the BDCP and the latest incarnation is that it now calls for only "restoring" 30,000 acres for wetland and wildlife habitat - down from the 100,000 acres originally proposed.

The other major difference is that the BDCP has been split into two components - The "California Water Fix" component for the tunnels and the "California Eco Restore" component for the habitat "restoration" component.

Environmental groups and Delta advocates criticize the updated Bay Delta Conservation Plan for being nothing more than a "slightly revised" water grab for corporate agribusiness interests - and said it is even worse than the previous version for fish, the environment and people. (http://www.dailykos.com/...)

Stapler, Vogel and Wilson will really have their work cut out for them in trying to convince the California public that the tunnels project will "restore" the Delta ecosystem and provide water supply "reliability" when it does neither.  

Richard Stapler, 41, of Sacramento, has been appointed  deputy secretary for policy implementation at the California Natural Resources Agency, where he has served as deputy secretary of communications since 2011. He was director of communications for Kaufman Campaigns from 2010 to 2011, director of legislation and community outreach for the California Prison Healthcare Receivership at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from 2008 to 2009 and director of communications for the Yes on Prop 93 campaign from 2007 to 2008.

Stapler served as press secretary and deputy director of communication in the Office of California State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez from 2005 to 2008, was deputy director of communications and marketing at Human Rights Campaign in 2005, deputy press secretary and legislative aide in the Office of California State Assembly Speaker Herb J. Wesson Jr. from 2002 to 2004 and an account manager at Ross-Campbell Inc. from 1998 to 2002. Stapler is a member of the Sacramento Press Club and the Stonewall Democrats Club. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $132,276. Stapler is a Democrat.

Nancy Vogel, 47, of Sacramento, has been appointed deputy secretary for communications at the California Natural Resources Agency. Vogel has served as assistant director for public affairs at the California Department of Water Resources since 2012. She was a principal consultant for the California State Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes from 2008 to 2012, a reporter at the Los Angeles Times from 2000 to 2008 and a staff writer at the Sacramento Bee from 1991 to 2000. Vogel earned a Master of Arts degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $121,356. Vogel is registered without party preference.

Ed Wilson, 59, of Placerville, has been appointed assistant director of public affairs at the California Department of Water Resources, where he has served as deputy assistant director of public affairs since 2015. He has been assistant director of communications at the California Department of Conservation since 2005, where he has served in several positions since 2000, including interim assistant director and public information officer.

Wilson was news director at KTXL-TV from 1998 to 2000, news marketing producer at KOVR-TV from 1995 to 1998, a consultant at Wilson Broadcasting Resources from 1992 to 1998 and executive news producer at KXTV-TV from 1990 to 1994. He was a news director at KCOY-TV from 1989 to 1990, an executive news producer at WCPO-TV from 1987 to 1989 and a news director at KGPE-TV from 1979 to 1987. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $104,064. Wilson is registered without party preference.  

Discuss

Broadcast Premiere of Four-Part Film Series, STANDING ON SACRED GROUND
Timed with Asian-Pacific American Month

KVIE broadcasts start May 2— Series Debuts on WORLD Channel Beginning Sunday, May 17 at 9:00 PM (ET) Through Sunday, June 7 (check local listings)

Berkeley, CA (Thursday, April 30, 2015): Standing on Sacred Ground, a four-part documentary series, eight years in the making, on Indigenous struggles over sacred sites, enjoys its national broadcast premiere on The WORLD Channel, Sunday, May 17 at 9 PM (ET) (check local listings).

The next three episodes will run weekly through June 7, 2015. In addition, public television stations nationwide will have access to the programming via the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), which has also accepted the series for broadcast distribution beginning in April 2015.  The WORLD Channel delivers the best of public television’s nonfiction, news and documentary programming to U.S. audiences through local public television stations and streaming online. WORLD reached 35 million unique viewers 18+ last year.

KVIE in Sacramento will broadcast episode one, Pilgrims and Tourists on Saturday May 2 at 11pm (PT) on KVIE2, with the other three episodes following on May 9, 16 and 23 at 11pm (PT).

KVIE3 will rebroadcast the series on its WORLD Channel on May 17, 23, 30 and June 7 at 6pm and 10pm (PT). Pilgrims and Tourists features the local Winnemem Wintu Tribe confronting the proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam, which would flood many Winnemem sacred sites.

Standing on Sacred Ground, produced by the Sacred Land Film Project, shares stories from eight Indigenous communities around the globe resisting threats to lands they consider sacred in a growing movement to defend human rights, protect culture and restore the environment. In the series, Native people share ecological wisdom and spiritual reverence while battling government megaprojects, consumer culture, competing religions, resource extraction and climate change.

In episode one, Pilgrims and Tourists, Indigenous shamans of the Altai Republic of Russia and northern California’s Winnemem Wintu find common ground resisting government projects: Shasta Dam and a Gazprom pipeline. In episode two, Profit and Loss, from Papua New Guinea to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, Native people fight the loss of land, water and health to mining and oil industries. In episode three, Fire and Ice, from the Gamo Highlands of Ethiopia to the Andes of Peru, Indigenous communities protect their sacred lands from development, competing religions and climate change. In the final episode Islands of Sanctuary, Aboriginal Australians and Native Hawaiians reclaim land and resist the erosion of culture and environment.

 “Public television viewers will now have the opportunity to access global perspectives from a chorus of Indigenous voices defending against attacks on their resources, and on the future we share,” said producer and director, Christopher “Toby” McLeod. “We are proud to partner with The WORLD Channel, NETA, Vision Maker Media and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), who are constantly striving to provide public television stations with diverse, enlightening programming for their audiences.”

The films are now available for public television stations to schedule in time for broadcasts timed around Earth Day on April 22, 2015. The WORLD Channel premiere of episode one of Standing on Sacred Ground on May 17 coincides with Asian-Pacific American Month (May).

“We know having these films available to public television stations in May, timed with Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, will allow local stations to provide their viewers with important content that focuses on the issues facing many Native cultures in their areas,” notes Leanne K. Ferrer, Executive Director of Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC). “We also understand some stations may choose to hold some or all of the films to air in November during Native American Heritage Month.”  

The film series has screened to great acclaim around the world since its release at the Mill Valley Film Festival in October 2013. It received the Best Documentary Feature Award at the Native American Film Festival 2013 and director Toby McLeod received the John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival 2014. The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian screened the series last year as part of the U.S. Environmental Film Festival, and the films were featured at the World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, last November. The films have also been screening in the Altai Republic, Moscow, Peru and Papua New Guinea.

— 30 —

Praise for STANDING ON SACRED GROUND:
 “Beautifully illuminates Indigenous peoples’ resistance to environmental devastation and their determination to protect our common future.” —Robert Redford

“Some of the finest minds on the planet are featured in this documentary—and they’re talking about the biggest problems our planet has ever faced!” —Bill McKibben

In addition to the WORLD Channel premiere in May, NETA has distributed Standing on Sacred Ground to the full public broadcasting system for April 2015. To find out more about the series, visit www.StandingOnSacredGround.org.

About the Partners:
Standing on Sacred Ground is a co-production of Sacred Land Film Project and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) in association with Vision Maker Media (VMM), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

About the Sacred Land Film Project:
For 30 years, the Sacred Land Film Project has produced documentaries, journalism and educational materials—films, DVDs, articles, photographs, school curricula and website content—to deepen public understanding of Indigenous cultures and environmental issues. Our 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor is the nonprofit Earth Island Institute.

About Christopher (Toby) McLeod, Producer/Director:
Toby McLeod circled the globe for five years filming the Standing on Sacred Ground series. McLeod founded the Sacred Land Film Project in 1984 to make high-impact documentary films relevant to indigenous communities and modern audiences. He produced and directed In the Light of Reverence (P.O.V., 2001) and other award-winning documentary films: The Four Corners: A National Sacrifice Area?, Downwind/Downstream, and NOVA: Poison in the Rockies. Awards include the Council on Foundation’s Henry Hampton Award, the John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship for filmmaking and a Student Academy Award in 1983. His first film was The Cracking of Glen Canyon Damn – with Edward Abbey and Earth First!  McLeod holds a master’s degree from U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. in American History from Yale.

About Pacific Islanders in Communications:
The mission of Pacific Islanders in Communications is to support, advance, and develop Pacific Island media content and talent that results in a deeper understanding and appreciation of Pacific Island history, culture and contemporary challenges. Established in Honolulu in 1991 as a national nonprofit media arts corporation, PIC is a member of the National Minority Consortia, which collectively addresses the need for programming that reflects America’s growing ethnic and cultural diversity. Primary funding for PIC and the Consortia is provided through an annual grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Visit www.piccom.org for additional information.

About Vision Maker Media:
Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Founded in 1977, Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, nurtures creativity for development of new projects, partnerships and funding. Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality Native American and Pacific Islander educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media—to be the next generation of storytellers. Located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we offer student employment and internships. For more information, visit www.visionmakermedia.org.

About the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA):
NETA is a professional association that serves Public Television licensees and educational entities in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Since 1967, our reason for existing is to connect Public Television people and ideas, by providing quality programming, educational resources, professional development, management support, and national representation. For more information, visit www.netaonline.org.

About The WORLD Channel:
The WORLD Channel delivers the best of public television’s nonfiction, news and documentary programing to US audiences through local public television stations and streaming online at worldchannel.org. WORLD reached 35 million unique viewers 18+ last year (55% adults 18-49) and over-indexes in key diversity demographics.* Online, the WORLD Channel expands on broadcast topics and fuels dialogue across social media, providing opportunities for broad and diverse audience interaction. (Source: Nielsen Local Buyer Reach Scorecard 01/13-12/13)
WORLD is programmed by WGBH/Boston, in partnership with American Public Television and WNET/New York, and in association with the American Public Television and National Educational Telecommunications Association. Funding for the WORLD Channel is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding for “America ReFramed” is provided by the MacArthur Foundation.  

Major funding for Standing on Sacred Ground was provided by: The Christensen Fund,
Robert Friede, Kalliopeia Foundation, Grousbeck Family Fund, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Paula and William McLeod, Weeden Foundation, Paula and James Crown, Compton Foundation, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, The Tides Foundation, George Appell, Annenberg Foundation, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund—a complete list is available at www.StandingOnSacredGround.org.

Contact: Donna Hardwick, 617-308-5677
dhardwick@onandonpr.com
Diane Buxton, 617-835-5793
dbuxton@onandonpr.com

Discuss

On April 30 at a press conference in Oakland, Governor Jerry Brown and federal officials unveiled controversial plans that they claim "accelerate restoration of the Delta's ecosystem" and "fix the state's aging water infrastructure" by building two massive underground tunnels.

Environmental groups and Delta advocates responded that the updated Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is nothing more than a "slightly revised" water grab for corporate agribusiness interests - and is "more unfair than ever" for the majority of Californians during the record drought.

One of the key differences between the previous version of the BDCP and the latest incarnation is that it now calls for only "restoring" 30,000 acres for wetland and wildlife habitat - down from the 100,000 acres originally proposed.

The other major difference is that the BDCP has been split into two components - The "California Water Fix" component for the tunnels and the "California Eco Restore" component for the habitat "restoration" component.  

“We can't just cross our fingers, hoping for the best in the Delta,” said Governor Brown in touting the revised plan. “Fish populations are at an all-time low. Bold action is imperative."

"We've listened to the public and carefully studied the science," echoing his comments that he made regarding the tunnels plan at a press conference in Sacramento in July 2012.

"This revised plan is the absolute best path forward," stated Brown, without offering evidence how this plan compared to other more comprehensive solutions to California's water supply and ecosystem restoration problems, most notably the Environmental Water Caucus Responsible Exports Plan that sets a cap of 3 million acre feet per year on water exports from the Delta.

Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor claimed, “The State, through Governor Brown’s leadership, has been a strong partner working with us to improve California’s water infrastructure while restoring the Delta. The plan announced today, which has been greatly improved in response to public input, will secure California’s water future and a healthier, sustainable Bay-Delta ecosystem."

The Governor claimed the revised plan "substantially improves the health of California’s fisheries, increases water reliability and addresses the uncertainty of climate change."

"Specifically, the plan will accelerate long-stalled Delta environmental projects, including critical habitat, wetlands and floodplain restoration, while fixing California’s aging and environmentally damaging water infrastructure system," the Governor said.  "The effectiveness of the restoration work depends on building a reliable conveyance system."

The Governor's Office released a brightly colored 8-page "fact sheet" that summarizes the changes in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan:  http://gov.ca.gov/...

Revised plan is "Ecocide" for the Delta

Critics of the tunnels slammed the revised tunnel plan for a number of severe flaws after reviewing the released documents. Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and Board Member of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) and Executive Commitee Member of Restore the Delta, summed up the reactions of many to the revised plan when he said, "The Water Fix and  Eco Restore‬ are Ecocide for the Delta."

Adam Scow, the California Director of Food and Water Watch, said the revised tunnels plan remains a scheme to provide subsidized water for "Big Agriculture" that has expanded its water-intensive almond acreage during the drought while urban water users are asked to cut their water usage by 25 percent and more.

"Governor Brown’s plan to build massive tunnels to divert the Sacramento River away from the San Francisco Bay Delta – estimated to cost as much as $67 billion – has always primarily been a scheme to send massive amounts of water to corporate agribusinesses on the west side of the Central Valley," said Scow. "These powerful agribusinesses, including Stewart Resnick’s Paramount Farms and growers in the Westlands Water District, have planted excessive amounts of water-thirsty almonds and pistachios, most of which are exported overseas and need massive amounts of water to succeed in the hot and dry climate of the west side."

“The Governor has slightly repackaged his euphemistically named Bay Delta Conservation Plan, because the tunnels plan will likely not meet federal water quality standards in the Bay Delta, but the fundamental problem with the project remains: it is grossly unfair for the Governor to make California taxpayers and water ratepayers subsidize a massive project that only benefits a handful of California’s most powerful agribusinesses," he stated.

"Forcing taxpayers to subsidize agribusiness is especially wrong now that the Governor has demanded all Californians reduce their own water use or face substantial fines. In addition, removing fresh water from the Bay Delta via tunnels will only worsen conditions for California’s threatened wild salmon," said Scow.

Limits on west side agribusiness water usage urged

Scow urged the Governor to impose limits on the amount of water that is used by agribusiness interests on the San Joaquin Valley's west side.

“Instead of pushing this outdated tunnels project, the Governor should limit agricultural irrigation on the west side and stop sending enormous amounts of public water to agriculture tycoons at the expense of California taxpayers and the fragile ecosystem and fish populations supported by the San Francisco Bay Delta," concluded Scow.

Restore the Delta (RTD) responded to Gov. Brown’s "abandonment of habitat restoration" in his Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) tunnels scheme by saying the new plan violates the statutory co-equal goals and "end-runs" the EPA and federal scientists who refused to issue permits for the project.

Governor Brown has called the massive change “technical,” but RTD and other opponents said it results from "fatal flaws" in the BDCP and the lack of funding for the restoration formerly proposed under the BDCP.

The group pointed out that the "new maneuver" ignores the judgment of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Delta Independent Science Board (DISB), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after scientific reviews that the tunnels project didn’t meet minimum Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Clean Water Act (CWA) standard.

The agencies found in particular that the project would "jeopardize," rather than help recover key species, and violate anti-degradation laws to protect the Delta waterways as fishable, swimmable and drinkable, according to RTD.

RTD said the change also results from the failure of the BDCP to identify the required funding to meet the financial assurances provisions of the ESA, RTD noted. The BDCP relied heavily on future unidentified state bonds and state and federal budget allocations.

New document reveals Prop. 1 funds will pay for tunnels mitigation  

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD Executive Director, pointed out, "Though a key promise made to pass the 2014 Water Bond was that it would not fund the BDCP, the administration has now indicated it does intend to take Prop. 1 funds for restoration to attempt to address the damage from over pumping the Delta, which the tunnels would compound."

The 12-page document confirms the contention of Barrigan-Parrilla and other tunnel opponents that the water bond will fund "restoration" to mitigate the environmental damage caused by the tunnels.

Page 1 of the fact sheet reveals that 1,000+acres out of the more than 30,000 acres of "Delta Habitat Restoration and Protection" will be funded by Prop. 1 and Pro. 1E

The fact sheet states, ""Various aquatic, riparian, and upland restoration and multi-benefit flood management projects will be supported by Proposition 1 and 1E."

The document also claims: "Proposition 1 funds and other state public dollars will be directed exclusively for public benefits unassociated with any regulatory compliance responsibilities."  

New plan even worse than previous one

Bob Wright, senior counsel for Friends of the River, slammed the revised Bay Delta Conservation Plan also, saying that the new plan is "even worse" for people and the environment than previous one was.

“After 9 years and $250 million dollars, creating a stack of planning documents over 27 feet tall, the governor has admitted that the BDCP could not protect Delta species and therefore could not meet HCP and NCCP standards,” said Wright.  “The BDCP, a plan that conserved little and would cost ratepayers and taxpayers over 25 Billion dollars to subsidize giant unsustainable agribusiness, is now even worse for the people, the environment, and sustainable water policies.”

Wright noted that the BDCP was previously designed as an HCP/NCCP to purportedly “…restore and protect ecosystem health, water supply, and water quality within a stable regulatory framework.” As an HCP/NCCP, the BDCP was required to protect endangered species and prevent their decline.  

“The plan has now shifted from a proposal to protect 56 Species, and over 100,000 acres of habitat, to a straight water grab that would take up to half of the freshwater from the north end of the Delta,” added Barrigan-Parrilla. “The governor plans to do an end-run around the public, the federal agencies that flunked the project, and the Legislature, with a fast-tracked section 7 process for permitting the tunnels. Under section 7, the project only needs to mitigate for direct project impacts, and does not have to meet a recovery standard.”

“The tunnels would create permanent drought conditions in the Delta by diverting up to half of the freshwater flows, which will increase salinity intrusion into the Delta and help push several species to extinction,” Barrigan-Parrilla said.

For more information, go to: http://restorethedelta.org/...

Tunnel fiasco part of a larger pattern

The recent abandonment of the pretense of "restoration" and "conservation" under the BCCP is part of a larger pattern by the Brown administration, a regime that has pushed some of the most anti-fish and anti-environmental policies of any administration in California history. This is a huge story that the mainstream media and much of the alternative media have failed to cover. (http://www.truth-out.org/...)

The Brown administration, in collaboration with the Obama administration has presided over record water exports out of the Delta and record deaths of Sacramento splittail and other species in 2011; the collapse of Delta smelt and other fish species to record low levels in 2014 and 2015; the death of 95 percent of endangered winter run Chinook salmon in low, warm water conditions in 2014; the creation of questionable "marine protected areas" created under the helm of a Big Oil lobbyist; and the clearcutting of forests in the Sierra Nevada.

Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, said the water bond, peripheral tunnels, Shasta Dam raise and other water projects now being planned by the state and federal governments are in in reality "one Big Project" that will destroy salmon, rivers and groundwater supplies. (http://www.truth-out.org/...)

“It does not make sense that people are separating the water puzzle into individual pieces, such as: the raising of Shasta Dam, Proposition 1, the Delta tunnels, BDCP, Sites Reservoir, Temperance Flat, CALFED, Delta Vision, BDCP, OCAP, the Bay Delta, Trinity/Klamath Rivers, the Sacramento River, the San Joaquin River, and water rights," said Chief Sisk. "It is all one BIG Project."  

Meanwhile, the mainstream media continues to portray Brown as a "climate leader" and "green energy" guru when in fact he is a strong proponent of neoliberal carbon trading policies and the expansion of the environmentally devastating practice of fracking in California. (http://www.nytimes.com/...)
 

Discuss

Governor Jerry Brown will join federal and state officials today in Oakland to discuss "Delta habitat restoration and water infrastructure," according to a media advisory from the Governor's Office.

The event to discuss the revised Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the twin tunnels, open only to "credentialed media," will take place on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at approx. 11:00 a.m., at the Elihu M. Harris Building, Auditorium, 1515 Clay Street Oakland, CA 94612. As usual, the public, which overwhelmingly opposes the tunnels, is not invited.

The Governor's Office, in an apparent attempt to keep the public or opponents from knowing where and when Brown would announce his latest tunnels-only plan to destroy the Delta and SF Bay-Delta estuary, did not release the media advisory until 6:06 pm Wednesday.

However, one California official, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham, did reveal to the Associated Press Wednesday that they have dramatically scaled back the "habitat restoration" planned during construction of two giant tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to export northern California water to corporate agribusiness, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations.

Bonham told the Associated Press that the project now calls for restoring 30,000 acres for wetland and wildlife habitat - down from the 100,000 acres originally proposed.(http://www.newson6.com/...)

Bonham said the amount of land targeted for environmental "restoration" was revised because there was "too much complexity" in the original 50-year plan, given the need to get permits from federal wildlife agencies against a backdrop of "uncertain future climate change impacts."

"We need to restore habitat in the Delta," Bonham told the Associated Press. "We've known that for a long time. There's no dispute there. Let's get going and do it."

Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Governor Brown’s rush to build massive underground water tunnels that would "drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries," announced a news conference at noon, April 30, outside the State Building, 1515 Clay Street, to respond to the governor’s abandonment of habitat restoration in BDCP tunnels. For more information, go to: http://www.restorethedelta.org.

“You cannot have successful habitat or restore fisheries while draining the Delta of its water,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. “The governor has now abandoned that as a co-equal goal of building the tunnels. BDCP is now a naked ‘tunnels-only’ water grab for the unsustainable mega-farms in Westlands and Kern.”

Barrigan-Parrilla and Bob Wright of Friends of the River will speak and answer questions at the news conference.

Background: Earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown finally admitted what most Californians have known all along - the "conservation" and "habitat restoration" components of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan have been nothing but window dressing for the twin tunnels water grab, potentially the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history.

On April 13, RTD and the Center for Biological Diversity responded to the governor's abandonment of the pretense of "conservation" and "restoration" and move to permit a "tunnels only" Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

"The new plan is a giant step backward," said Chelsea Tu, a staff attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. "If it goes through, this massive project's boosters will be able to build these tunnels without having to do anything to protect our wildlife and waters — and will neatly sidestep input from the public."

The recent abandonment of the pretense of "restoration" and "conservation" under the BCCP is part of a larger pattern by the Brown administration, a regime that has pushed some of the most anti-fish and anti-environmental policies of any administration in California history. This is a huge story that the mainstream media and much of the alternative media have failed to cover. (http://www.truth-out.org/...)

Meanwhile, the mainstream media continues to portray Brown as a "climate leader" and "green energy" guru when in fact he is a strong proponent of neoliberal carbon trading policies and the expansion of the environmentally devastating practice of fracking in California. (http://www.nytimes.com/...)

Discuss

The Shasta Dam raise proposed by the federal government threatens over 40 of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe's sacred sites and would harm salmon, steelhead and other imperiled fish populations on the Sacramento River.

At the same time, water from the Trinity Reservoir on the Trinity River and Shasta Reservoir on the Sacramento is exported hundreds of miles to benefit California’s agriculture industry, which continues to use 80% of California’s water on water intensive crops such as almonds during the record drought.  

Want to find out more about this water grab and how you can help stop it in order to restore the Klamath/Trinity and Sacramento River systems? Then check out a film night hosted by North Coast activists in Arcata, California on Friday, May 8th to discuss the threats to Northern California's rivers.

The film night will focus on impacts to rivers from water diversions and how politicians and corporate agriculture interests are using the drought to push through new harmful water projects, such as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, Shasta dam raise, and drought legislation, according to organizer Regina Chichizola.

The event will start with a dinner at 6:30 at Arcata’s D Street Community Center, which is located at 1301 D street, and will be followed by several short films along with speakers that are members of the Winnemem Wintu, Yurok, Karuk, and Hoopa Valley Tribes, along with featured filmmakers.

Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe will speak about the Tribe's campaign to restore winter run Chinook salmon to the McCloud River and to fight the "Brown Water Plan" and Shasta Dam raise.

Governor Jerry Brown and Department of Interior officials are expected to announce the latest version of Brown's plan to build the twin tunnels under the Delta as early as Thursday, April 30. Brown has decided to remove all pretense of "habitat restoration" from the plan by making it a tunnels-only project.

The tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperiling the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

Donations will be taken but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. More information is available at SavetheKlamath-Trinity on facebook or through contacting Regina Chichizola at klamathrights@gmail.com or 541 951-0126.

Volunteers are needed to help out with the event.

Discuss

Restore the Delta expects Gov. Brown to roll out the latest iteration of his Delta tunnels project as soon as tomorrow. They will be there to respond. Here is the media advisory:

Tunnels Opponents to Respond to Governor’s Announcement

Tunnels-Only BDCP Abandons Pretext of Saving Fisheries

Ignores “Co-Equal Goals” Requirement; End Run on EPA

Sacramento, CA- Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build massive underground water tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom sustainable farms, salmon and other Pacific fisheries, today announced a news conference on Thursday, April 30, to respond to the governor’s abandonment of habitat restoration in BDCP tunnels.

“You cannot have successful habitat or restore fisheries while draining the Delta of its water,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, RTD executive director. “The governor has now abandoned that as a co-equal goal of building the tunnels. BDCP is now a naked ‘tunnels-only’ water grab for the unsustainable mega-farms in Westlands and Kern.”

WHAT:  Tunnels Opponents: What does Gov. Brown’s “tunnels-only” BDCP Mean?

WHEN:  Thursday, April 30, 2015  - News Conference Immediately Following Governor’s BDCP Announcement

WHO:    Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta; Bob Wright, Friends of the River

WHERE: Outside location where governor’s announcement takes place

Restore the Delta is a 20,000-member grassroots organization committed to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable to benefit all of California. Restore the Delta works to improve water quality so that fisheries and farming can thrive together again in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. www.restorethedelta.org

Contact: Steve Hopcraft
Hopcraft Communications
Government and Media Relations; Campaign Management
Phone: 916.457.5546; FAX: 916.457.5548
http://www.hopcraft.com
Follow me on Twitter @shopcraft

Discuss

The recent admission by the Brown administration that it could use money from Proposition 1, the water bond, to pay for "habitat mitigation" linked to the construction and operation of the massive Delta tunnels is no surprise, especially when you consider the Big Money interests that dumped $21,820,691 into the campaign.

The contributors are a who’s who of Big Money interests in California, including corporate agribusiness groups, billionaires, timber barons, Big Oi, the tobacco industry and the California Chamber of Commerce. There is no doubt that these wealthy corporate interests are expecting a big return for their "investment" in the corrupt "play to pay" politics that rules California today, including the construction of the twin tunnels and new dams.

Richard Stapler, spokesman for the California Department of Natural Resources, "acknowledged that the money [for delta habitat restoration] could conceivably come from Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond that California passed last year,” according to Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle.(http://www.sfgate.com/...)

Delta advocates slammed Governor Brown for breaking his campaign promise that bond money wouldn't be used to mitigate the environmental damage caused by the tunnels, a $67 billion project designed to export Sacramento River water to agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations.

"It is outrageous that the governor would break the promise he made to the people of California that their taxes would not be used to mitigate damage from the tunnels,” said Restore the Delta Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. "Now he is signaling that bond monies will support mega-growers like Stewart Resnick, who plans to expand almond production by 50 percent over the next five years." (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/...)

And guess who was one of the contributors to the Prop. 1 campaign? Yes, Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills agribusiness tycoon, owner of Paramount Farms and largest orchard fruit grower in the world, contributed $150,000.  

Corporate agribusiness interests, the largest users of federal and state water project water exported through the Delta pumping facilities, contributed $850,000 to the campaign, including the $150,000 donated by Resnick.

The California Farm Bureau Federation contributed $250,000, the Western Growers Service Association donated $250,000 and California Cotton Alliance contributed $200,000.

Resnick and his wife, Lynda, have been instrumental in promoting campaigns to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt populations and to build the fish-killing peripheral tunnels - and have made millions off reselling environmental water to the public.

The largest individual donor in the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign was Sean Parker, who contributed $1 million to the campaign. Parker is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who cofounded the file-sharing computer service Napster and served as the first president of the social networking website Facebook. He also cofounded Plaxo, Causes, and Airtime.

Four members of the Fisher family, who own the controversial Gap stores, collectively donated $1.5 million to the Yes. on Prop. 1 and Prop. 2 campaign. They also own the Mendocino Redwood Company and Humboldt Redwood Company, formerly the Pacific Lumber Company (PALCO), more than half a million acres of redwood forest lands in total.

Doris F. Fisher contributed $499,000, John J. Fisher $351,000, Robert J. Fisher $400,000 and William S. Fisher $250,000. The Gap become notorious among labor and human rights advocates for employing sweatshop labor in the Third World to produce its clothes.

In a major conflict of interest, Robert Fisher profits by logging North Coast forests while he serves as co-chair of a little-known cabinet-level body in Sacramento called the "California Strategic Growth Council (SGC)," according to reporter Will Parrish in the East Bay Express. (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/...)

"Enacted by the state legislature in 2008, the SGC is a cornerstone of Governor Jerry Brown's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions," Parrish wrote. "The panel has the broad and unprecedented mandate of coordinating implementation of California's climate change prescriptions across all levels of state government, while also preparing the state to accommodate a projected population of 50 million by the year 2050."

"As such, Robert Fisher, whose close relationship with Brown is well-known within the corridors of the state Capitol, is not only in charge of helping set California climate change policy, but he also profits handsomely from harvesting living species that are increasingly being recognized as one of our last best hopes for forestalling the catastrophic impacts of global warming," said Parrish.

Aera Energy LLC, a company jointly owned by affiliates of Shell and ExxonMobil, contributed $250,000 to the Yes on Proposition 1 and 2 campaign, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

Aera Energy LLC is one of California's largest oil and gas producers, accounting for nearly 25 percent of the state's production, according to the company’s website. (http://www.aeraenergy.com/...)

Tobacco giant Philip Morris also contributed $100,000 to Governor Brown’s ballot measure committee established to support Propositions 1 and 2. On October 20, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) called on the governor to return that money.  

A total of eleven ballot measure campaign committees registered in support of Proposition 1 and 2, according to Ballotpedia (http://ballotpedia.org/..._(2014))

The committees and money raised are below:
• California Business Political Action Committee, Sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce: $1,169,500   
• Wetlands Conservation Committee, Sponsored by Ducks Unlimited, Audubon California and The Nature Conservancy, Yes on Prop. 1: $265,000  
• Conservation Action Fund - Yes on Proposition 1 and 2 - Sponsored by Conservation Organizations: $1,042,526     
• Sac. Valley Water & Rice for Prop 1: $72,356     
• Brown; Yes on Props 1 and 2 A Bipartisan Coalition of Business, Labor, Republicans, Democrats and Governor: $17,690,658     
• Think Long Committee, Inc., Sponsored by Nicolas Berggruen Institute Trust, Supporting Propositions 1 & 2 (Non-Profit 501(C)(4)):
$250,000     
• Western Plant Health Association, Supporting Propositions 1 and 2 (Non-Profit 501 (C) (6)): $100,000     
• NRDC Action Fund California Ballot Measures Committee - Yes on Prop. 1: $12,653
• Southern California District Council of Laborers Issues PAC
$203,662     
• Laborers Pacific Southwest Regional Organizing Coaltion Issues PAC - Yes on Props 1 and 2: $842,896   
• The California Conservation Campaign: $171,440

These committees raised a total of $21,820,691 and spent a total of $19,538,153.     

In contrast, Proposition 1 opponents raised only $101,149 and spent $86,347 during the campaign. To put that in perspective, note that just one big grower, Stewart Resnick, contributed $150,000 to the Prop. 1 campaign, more than all of the opponents combined. And Resnick wasn’t even one of the top 23 donors, with Sean Parker being the largest individual donor at $1,000,000!

Top 23 Contributors to Prop. 1 and 2 Campaign:

Brown for Governor 2014    $5,196,529
Sean Parker    $1,000,000
L. John Doerr    $875,000
California Alliance for Jobs - Rebuild California Committee    $533,750
The Nature Conservancy    $518,624
California Hospitals Committee    $500,000
Doris F. Fisher    $499,000
Health Net    $445,600
Robert Fisher    $400,000
351,000    $351,000
Area Energy LLC    $250,000
California American Council of Engineering Companies    $250,000
California Farm Bureau Federation    $250,000
California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems    $250,000
Dignity Health    $250,000
Kaiser Permamente    $250,000
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Issues PAC    $250,000
Reed Hastings    $250,000
SW Regional Council Of Carpenters    $250,000
Think Long Committee, Inc.    $250,000
Western Growers Service Corporation    $250,000
William Fisher    $250,000
 

Discuss

Below is the press release regarding the national broadcast premier of Standing on Sacred Ground, a four-part documentary series, eight years in the making, on Indigenous struggles over sacred sites.

Series Timed with Asian-Pacific American Month

Debuts on WORLD Channel Beginning Sunday, May 17 at 9:00 PM (ET) Through Sunday, June 7 (check local listings)

Berkeley, CA — Standing on Sacred Ground, a four-part documentary series, eight years in the making, on Indigenous struggles over sacred sites, enjoys its national broadcast premiere on the WORLD Channel, Sunday, May 17 at 9:00 PM (ET) (check local listings).

The next three episodes will run weekly through June 7, 2015. In addition, public television stations nationwide will have access to the programming via the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), which has also accepted the series for broadcast distribution beginning in April 2015.  The WORLD Channel delivers the best of public television’s nonfiction, news and documentary programming to U.S. audiences through local public television stations and streaming online. WORLD reached 35 million unique viewers 18+ last year.

Standing on Sacred Ground, produced by the Sacred Land Film Project,shares stories from eight Indigenous communities around the globe resisting threats to lands they consider sacred in a growing movement to defend human rights, protect culture and restore the environment. In the series, Native people share ecological wisdom and spiritual reverence while battling government megaprojects, consumer culture, competing religions, resource extraction and climate change.

In episode one, Pilgrims and Tourists, Indigenous shamans of the Altai Republic of Russia and a northern California tribe find common ground resisting government projects: Shasta Dam and a Gazprom pipeline.

In episode two, Profit and Loss, from Papua New Guinea to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, Native people fight the loss of land, water and health to mining and oil industries.

In episode three, Fire and Ice, from the Gamo Highlands of Ethiopia to the Andes of Peru, Indigenous communities protect their sacred lands from development, competing religions and climate change. In the final episode Islands of Sanctuary, Aboriginal Australians and Native Hawaiians reclaim land and resist the erosion of culture and environment.

“Public television viewers will now have the opportunity to access global perspectives from a chorus of Indigenous voices defending against attacks on their resources, and on the future we share,” said producer and director, Christopher “Toby” McLeod. “We are proud to partner with The WORLD Channel, NETA, Vision Maker Media and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), who are constantly striving to provide public television stations with diverse, enlightening programming for their audiences.”

The films are now available for public television stations to schedule in time for broadcasts timed around Earth Day on April 22, 2015. The WORLD Channel premiere of episode one of Standing on Sacred Ground on May 17 coincides with Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month (May).

“We know having these films available to public television stations in May, timed with Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, will allow local stations to provide their viewers with important content that focuses on the issues facing many Native cultures in their areas,” notes Leanne K. Ferrer, Executive Director of Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC). “We also understand some stations may choose to hold some or all of the films to air in November during Native American Heritage Month.”

The film series has screened to great acclaim around the world since its release at the Mill Valley Film Festival in October 2013. It received the Best Documentary Feature Award at the Native American Film Festival 2013 and director Toby McLeod received the John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival 2014.

The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian screened the series last year as part of the U.S. Environmental Film Festival, and the films were featured at the World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, last November. The films have also been screening in the Altai Republic, Moscow, Peru and Papua New Guinea.

Praise for STANDING ON SACRED GROUND:

“Beautifully illuminates Indigenous peoples’ resistance to environmental devastation and their determination to protect our common future.” —Robert Redford

“Some of the finest minds on the planet are featured in this documentary—and they’re talking about the biggest problems our planet has ever faced!” —Bill McKibben

In addition to the WORLD Channel premiere in May, NETA has distributed Standing on Sacred Ground to the full public broadcasting system for April 2015. To find out more about the series, visit www.StandingOnSacredGround.org.

About the Partners:

Standing on Sacred Ground is a co-production of Sacred Land Film Project and Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) in association with Vision Maker Media (VMM), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

About Pacific Islanders in Communications:

The mission of Pacific Islanders in Communications is to support, advance, and develop Pacific Island media content and talent that results in a deeper understanding and appreciation of Pacific Island history, culture and contemporary challenges. Established in Honolulu in 1991 as a national nonprofit media arts corporation, PIC is a member of the National Minority Consortia, which collectively addresses the need for programming that reflects America’s growing ethnic and cultural diversity. Primary funding for PIC and the Consortia is provided through an annual grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Visit www.piccom.org for additional information.

About Vision Maker Media:

Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Founded in 1977, Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, nurtures creativity for development of new projects, partnerships and funding. Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality Native American and Pacific Islander educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media—to be the next generation of storytellers. Located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we offer student employment and internships. For more information, visit www.visionmakermedia.org.

About the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA):

NETA is a professional association that serves Public Television licensees and educational entities in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Since 1967, our reason for existing is to connect Public Television people and ideas, by providing quality programming, educational resources, professional development, management support, and national representation. For more information, visit www.netaonline.org.

About the Sacred Land Film Project:

For 30 years, the Sacred Land Film Project has produced documentaries, journalism and educational materials—films, DVDs, articles, photographs, school curricula and website content—to deepen public understanding of Indigenous cultures and environmental issues. Our 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor is the nonprofit Earth Island Institute.

About Christopher (Toby) McLeod, Producer/Director:

Toby McLeod circled the globe for five years filming the Standing on Sacred Ground series. McLeod founded the Sacred Land Film Project in 1984 to make high-impact documentary films relevant to indigenous communities and modern audiences. He produced and directed In the Light of Reverence (P.O.V., 2001) and other award-winning documentary films: The Four Corners: A National Sacrifice Area?, Downwind/Downstream, and NOVA: Poison in the Rockies. Awards include the Council on Foundation’s Henry Hampton Award, the John de Graaf Environmental Filmmaking Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship for filmmaking and a Student Academy Award in 1983. His first film was The Cracking of Glen Canyon Damn – with Edward Abbey and Earth First!  McLeod holds a master’s degree from U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. in American History from Yale.

About The WORLD Channel:
The WORLD Channel delivers the best of public television’s nonfiction, news and documentary programing to US audiences through local public television stations and streaming online at worldchannel.org. WORLD reached 35 million unique viewers 18+ last year (55% adults 18-49) and over-indexes in key diversity demographics. Online, the WORLD Channel expands on broadcast topics and fuels dialogue across social media, providing opportunities for broad and diverse audience interaction. (Source: Nielsen Local Buyer Reach Scorecard 01/13-12/13)

WORLD is programmed by WGBH/Boston, in partnership with American Public Television and WNET/New York, and in association with the American Public Television and National Educational Telecommunications Association. Funding for the WORLD Channel is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding for “America ReFramed” is provided by the MacArthur Foundation.

Major funding for Standing on Sacred Ground was provided by: The Christensen Fund,
Robert Friede, Kalliopeia Foundation, Grousbeck Family Fund, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Paula and William McLeod, Weeden Foundation, Paula and James Crown, Compton Foundation, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, The Tides Foundation, George Appell, Annenberg Foundation, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund—a complete list is available at www.StandingOnSacredGround.org.

Contact: Diane Buxton
On and On Marketing and PR
dbuxton@onandonpr.com
617-835-5793

Discuss

At an Earth Day press conference at the State Capitol, Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) announced the introduction of legislation, Senate Bill 788, to forever protect the coast of California from new offshore oil development in state waters.

McGuire appeared with other legislators and representatives of a broad coalition of fishing and environmental groups that are supporting the measure. Three Indian Tribes   - the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, Sherwood Band of Pomo Indians and the Smith River Rancheria - are backing the legislation. Two representatives of United Native Americans also stood with a banner at the event in support of the legislation.

He said this bill "will protect our pristine beaches and benefit our coastal and state economy from what be the devastating impacts of an offshore oil bill."

Surrounding McGuire and other speakers were dramatic photos of the birds harmed by the Santa Barbara Oil Spill of 1969. The oil spill directly spurred the creation of Earth Day in 1970, first in the United States and then in countries throughout the world.

“We have to close the loophole in state law that could allow for new offshore oil development,” Senator McGuire said. “After all of the work that we have done to protect our coast and our environment, it’s unconscionable to think that there is a loophole that could lead to additional drilling in state water. It poses too great a risk.”

Senator McGuire introduced SB 788 – The Coastal Protection Act – to close that loophole and "forever protect California’s coast."

“A year after the terrible oil spill in Santa Barbara, locals got together and held the first-ever Earth Day," McGuire told the crowd at the Capitol. "Every year since then, for 45 years now, we have celebrated these efforts to protect our environment from the devastating impacts a sizeable oil spill off our coast would have on our natural resources, our ocean and our coastal dependent economies."

California has the world’s eighth largest economy and coastal communities contribute $40 billion annually to the state’s economy, and provide nearly half a million important jobs.

Commercial fisheries in the state are valued at more than $7 billion annually, while recreational fishing is valued at over $2 billion annually along California’s coast, according to Tim Sloane, the Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, and others who spoke at the event. Ocean dependent tourism is valued at over $10 billion annually.  

The California Coastal Sanctuary Act, passed in 1994, contains a loophole from the offshore extraction prohibition, Public Resources Code 6244, by allowing new oil leases if the “State Lands Commission determines that oil and gas deposits contained in tidelands are being drained by means of wells upon adjacent federal lands and leasing of the tidelands for oil or gas production is in the best interest of the State.”

SB 788 would eliminate this loophole by repealing PRC 6244 to ensure that the Coastal Sanctuary Act and Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) are able to provide their intended protections for our coastal resources and prevent additional offshore oil extraction.

For over a decade, fishing groups, Indian Tribes and grassroots environmentalists  criticized the implementation phase of the Marine Life Protection Act, the MLPA Initiative, for failing to protect the ocean from offshore oil drilling, fracking, pollution, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing gathering.    

Edward Moreno, Policy Advocate with Sierra Club California, recalled the tremendous damage to California fish and wildlife caused by the 1969 oil spill off Santa Barbara.

"More than 45 years ago, California witnessed just how dangerous and damaging offshore oil drilling can be," said Moreno. "A massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara shocked the nation and launched the modern environmental movement. It spurred the passage of some of the most important federal and state laws designed to protect our air and water quality, wildlife, and natural heritage."

However, over the years, oil industry interests have managed to carve out an exception in the California Coastal Sanctuary Act of 1994, Moreno noted.

"SB 788 will undo the effects of the oil industry's lobbying," said Moreno. "It will help make sure that no part of California's coastline is open to new oil drilling."

Rachel Binah, Environmental Caucus Chair, Emerita (California Democratic Party), said how the slogan for the campaign to ban offshore oil drilling off California was "Save the Kansas coast."

"Our coast belongs to all Americans, not just Californians," she explained.

She concluded, "This has been a long struggle. Elected officials all over the state of California know that protection for our coast and ocean is supported by all Californians, no matter their political party. Now, thanks to Senator McGuire, the next step is being taken."

SB 788 has broad support from legislators, fishing groups, Indian Tribes and environmental groups. The principal coauthors are Senators Jackson and Leno and Assemblymember Levine. Coauthors are Senators Allen, Hancock, and Wolk and Assemblymembers Dodd, Wood, Mark Stone, and Williams.

Organizations backing SB 788 include: the California Coastkeeper Alliance, California Coastal Protection Network, California League of Conservation Voters, California Sea Urchin Commission, California Sport Fishing League, California Trout, Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, Coast Seafoods Company, Defenders of Wildlife, Environment California, Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, Environmental Defense Fund, Fishing Vessel Corregidor, Golden Gate Salmon Association, Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, Heal the Bay, Hog Island Oyster Company, Humboldt Baykeeper, Kayak Zak’s, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Mad River Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ocean Outfall Group, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Santa Barbara Environmental Defense Center, Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Sierra Club California, Smith River Rancheria, Surfrider Foundation, The Northcoast Environmental Center, The Wildlands Conservancy, Union of Concerned Scientists, United Native Americans and West Marin Environmental Action Committee.

You can expect the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and the oil companies to fiercely oppose SB 788, just as they did a previous bill addressing the oil industry loophole last year.  

Tupper Hull, a spokesman for WSPA, told the Daily Breeze the bill "is a poor solution" to protect the state’s coast and combat oil operations.(http://www.dailybreeze.com/...)

“I’ve heard this proposal in at least two other legislative sessions,” said Hull. “There seems to be an abundance of organizations with very strong opinions about energy production in California. What they never seem willing to confront is the fact that we are the third largest gas and diesel consumer in the world. The only political jurisdictions that use more oil and gas are China and the U.S. as a whole. We’re an enormous market for the products."

In an egregious conflict of interest, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association and the lead lobbyist for fracking and offshore drilling in California, chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called "marine protected areas" on the Southern California coast. She also served on the panels to create "marine protected areas" on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast from 2004 to 2012.

The WSPA is the most powerful corporate lobbying group in California. The WSPA set a new spending record, $8.9 million, lobbying state officials in 2014, nearly double what it spent in the previous year. WSPA spent $4.67 million in 2013. (http://www.eastbayexpress.com/...)

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and media investigations by Associated Press and truthout.org reveal that the ocean has been fracked at least 203 times in the past 20 years, including the period from 2004 to 2012 that Reheis-Boyd served as a "marine guardian.” (http://www.usatoday.com/...)

Discuss

During the fall election, Governor Jerry Brown and advocates of Proposition 1, the state water bond, constantly claimed that the measure was "tunnels neutral."

In photo opportunity after opportunity, Brown and Prop. 1 backers, including corporate environmental" NGOs, promised the people of California that water bond funds would not be used for the BDCP, but for dealing with the drought.

Now, Restore the Delta (RTD) is charging that Brown is breaking his promise after Richard Stapler, the spokesman for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, admitted to Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle that they could use money from Proposition 1 to pay for "habitat mitigation" for construction and operation of the tunnels.

RTD Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla said, "It is outrageous that the governor would break the promise he made to the people of California that their taxes would not be used to mitigate damage from the tunnels. Now he is signaling that bond monies will support mega-growers like Stewart Resnick, who plans to expand almond production by 50% over the next five years."

“It's time for Governor Brown to drop the 19th century tunnels plan, and embrace water technologies that will serve the world we live in now, and our children will live in in the future," she said.

According to the Chronicle, Stapler "acknowledged that the money could conceivably come from Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond that California passed last year.”

Here is a link to the San Francisco Chronicle story including this startling admission: http://bit.ly/...  

“The science has demonstrated that habitat without water for fisheries fails in the Delta. The tunnels project cannot restore the Delta because it takes the necessary water out of the Delta,” said Barrigan-Parrilla.

“California experiences dry or drought conditions 40% of the time historically, even before climate change. That means that in at least four out of ten years exporters will have astronomical fixed costs to pay for no water," Barrigan-Parrilla concluded.

On Monday, a coalition of environmentalists blasted Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick and other corporate agribusiness interests for continuing to plant thousands of acres of new almond trees during the drought while Governor Jerry Brown is mandating that urban families slash water usage by 25 percent.

Barrigan-Parrilla said Stewart Resnick, the owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, uses as much water for his almonds as the amount of water 38 million Californians are now required to conserve.

“While farmers make their own decisions on what to plant, the public is paying the price for poor decisions made by greedy mega-growers, who plant permanent crops where there is no water,” Barrigan-Parrilla told reporters in a news conference  about the “tunnels only” version of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that Governor Jerry Brown is now pushing. “That is not sustainable and the tunnels would subsidize unsustainable agriculture.”  

For the complete details on the news conference, go to: http://www.dailykos.com/...  

Proposition 1, California Governor Jerry Brown’s $7.5 billion water bond, sailed to easy victory on November 4, 2014. The election results show how the power of millions of dollars of corporate money in the corrupt oligarchy of California were able to defeat a a grassroots movement of fishermen, environmentalists, Indian Tribes and family farmers opposed to Prop. 1.

The Hoopa Valley, Yurok, Winnemem Wintu and Concow Maidu Tribes, the defenders of California’s rivers and oceans for thousands of years, strongly opposed Prop. 1. because of the threat the bond poses to water, salmon and their culture.

Caleen Sisk, chief and spiritual leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, said the water bond, peripheral tunnels, Shasta Dam raise and other water projects now being planned by the state and federal governments are in reality “one Big Project” that will destroy salmon, rivers and groundwater supplies.

“It does not make sense that people are separating the water puzzle into individual pieces, such as: the raising of Shasta Dam, Proposition 1, the Delta tunnels, BDCP, Sites Reservoir, Temperance Flat, CALFED, Delta Vision, BDCP, OCAP, the Bay Delta, Trinity/Klamath Rivers, the Sacramento River, the San Joaquin River, and water rights,” said Chief Sisk. “It is all one BIG Project.”

She emphasized, “You have to look at the whole picture and everything in between from Shasta Dam to the Delta estuary. We need to ask what is affected by our actions and who is benefitting from them? These are not separate projects; they are all the same thing that the State is asking us to fund – California water being manipulated for the enrichment of some and the devastation of cultures, environments, and species all in the name of higher profits.”

Prop. 1 proponents, including a rogue’s gallery of oil companies, corporate agribusiness tycoons, Big Tobacco, health insurance companies and greedy billionaires, dumped over $16.4 million into the campaign, while Prop. 1 opponents raised around $100,000 for the effort. Resnick, the Beverly Hills billionaire “farmer” who has made millions off of reselling environmental water to the public, donated $150,000 to the Yes on Prop 1 campaign.

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