VOL . 36 • ISS . 14
Hey Dan ! — Letters To The Editor
What ’ s on your mind ? Do you have something you ’ d like to share with us and our readers ? A picture ... a story ... a question to ask , or an answer to another ?
Let ’ s hear your compliments , or your gripes ! Whatever it is , send it to : HEY , DAN !, c / o Fish Sniffer Publications , The Fish Sniffer - P . O . Box 776 , Colfax , CA 95713 , or you can now e-mail it at danielbacher @ fishsniffer . com . Please enclose a self-addressed , stamped envelope for the return of pictures or text . Thanks !
Lawsuit Filed Against DWR over Oroville Dam Records
Hey Dan !
CHICO - AquAlliance filed a lawsuit in state court on June 6 , 2017 against the California Department of Water Resources (“ DWR ”) over its failure to release records related to the Oroville Dam main and emergency spillways crisis that started in February 2017 .
On April 19 , 2017 AquAlliance filed a Public Records Act (“ PRA ”) request to DWR to release records that explicitly pertained to the asbestos . The asbestos was uncovered by the break in the main spillway and then further eroded by the massive water released at the main spillway that was necessary due to the near failure of the emergency spillway . AquAlliance has been concerned about the extent of the asbestos material and how it did or will affect workers , Oroville residents , and aquatic species .
In response to the request , DWR released nine documents , none of which included any e-mail communication . When questioned further , DWR claimed that there are no more responsive records and that all responsive e-mails are protected under attorney-client privilege .
AquAlliance disagrees and is asking the court to enforce the PRA . “ DWR ’ s culture is bound by secrecy to protect its image and its very slanted focus , which is to maximize water exports to its contractors ,” expressed Barbara Vlamis , AquAlliance ’ s Executive Director . “ AquAlliance strongly believes that the public ’ s right to know is essential in a democracy and legally enforceable1 , something we are happy to take on .”
~ Barbara Vlamis , Executive Director , AquAlliance
Hey Barbara ! I am stoked to hear that your are suing the California Department of Water Resources for withholding documents related to the Oroville Dam crisis . The latest refusal by DWR to release documents occurs within the larger context of the penchant for secrecy in government by both the Schwarzenegger and Brown administrations . This lack of transparency has characterized the Delta Vision , Bay Delta Conservation Plan and California WaterFix plans to build the Delta Tunnels , as well as the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act ( MLPA ) Initiative to create so-called “ marine protected areas ” in California .
GROUPS : Interior Deputy Nominee Bernhard Has Serious Ethics & Conflict Issues Hey John !
Hey Dan ! WASHINGTON , D . C . - A coalition of California fishing , conservation , and environmental groups sent a letter ton June outlining their concerns over the nomination of David Bernhardt to serve as Deputy Secretary of Interior .
The letter was sent to Senators Lisa Murkowski and Maria Cantwell , the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources , respectively .
The coalition letter sent today outlines conflict-of-interest concerns about Mr . Bernhardt dating back to 2008 when he served as Interior Solicitor . The groups claim recently revealed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that Bernhardt colluded with powerful water districts in California “… to redirect federal appropriations to pay their costs of the quarter of a billion dollar planning effort …” for the controversial Delta Tunnels proposal in California .
Because of this redirection of federal dollars , “ The taxpayer gets the bill instead of the water contractors ,” who were supposed to pay the entire bill for the planning , construction , and operation of the Delta Tunnels project .
“ Creating this invisible funding mechanism that benefits a few federal water contractors at the expense of the American taxpayer , as well as other Federal and non-Federal water contractors , mandates full disclosure and further investigation . Given the pending nomination , Mr . Bernhardt ’ s role in this deception of Congress , water users and the public requires a full examination .”
The coalition also wants a full accounting of Mr . Bernhardt ’ s later activities as a lobbyist for the Westlands Water District .
“ From public records and U . S . lobbying reports , Westlands has paid $ 1,714,291 to the Brownstein firm , of which Mr . Bernhardt is a partner . This includes the $ 189,291 paid to the firm prior to Mr . Bernhardt registering as the Westlands ’ lobbyist .
“ Before confirming Mr . Bernhardt , as Deputy Secretary of Interior , with jurisdiction over this federal largess , it is critical to understand whether federal laws were broken , twisted or bent while Mr . Bernhardt was Solicitor and again while employed by Westlands . Limited disclosures to date reveal that millions of taxpayer dollars have gone to benefit Westlands that should have been deposited in the Federal Treasury . Before approving this nomination , to be in charge of the Nation ’ s water , minerals and public lands , a comprehensive investigation is required .”
Groups signing the letter include the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance , Golden Gate Salmon Association , Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen ’ s Asssociations , Planning and Conservation League , Sierra Club California , Restore the Delta , Southern California Watershed Alliance , Environmental Water Caucus , The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water , Friends of the River , Friends of the Earth U . S . and AquAlliance .
John McManus , Executive Director , Golden Gate Salmon Association
It is crucial that everybody opposed to the destruction of salmon and other fisheries in California opposes President Donald Trump ’ s nomination of a Westlands lobbyist like David Bernhardt as Deputy Secretary of Interior . It appears that Trump has replaced the alligators in the swamp of corrupt politics as usual with Creatures from the Black Lagoon like Bernhardt and Rex Tillerson , the former CEO of Exxon and Trump ’ s Secretary of State .
Trolling for holdover rainbow trout has picked up over the past few weeks at Lake Berryessa . Trollers at the lake will also occasionally pick up crappie and black bass while targeting trout , king salmon and kokanee salmon . Les Fernandes of Fish On Charters shows off two hefty black crappie that hit Wiggle Hoochies behind Sling Blades at 30 feet deep in open water off the Big Island on June 6 .
Photo by DAN BACHER , Fish Sniffer Staff .
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