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California “Natural” Resources Agency - Something Smells Fishy

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Name Change Won’t Alter Resources Agency’s Dark Mission

Big Kudos to Dan Bacher at TRUTHOUT. Dan is a local activist and an editor of The Fish Sniffer, “The No. 1 newspaper in the world dedicated entirely to fishermen.)

As all things environment move centerstage, more corporations and agencies like the California Coastal Commission are going to greenwash and drape themselves in a cloak of green to enable them to commit sins of commission under the guise of sound environmental protection.

The CCC has been doing this for years.

On January 1 The Resources Agency adopted a new name, the California “Natural” Resources Agency, to give the agency a more “green” veneer. 

(Source: Truthout)

Unfortunately, nothing has changed at the agency. A press release from the agency in late December claimed that the name change was adopted to “better reflect its mission.”

“Since 1961, the Resources Agency has been responsible for the safeguarding and stewardship of California’s precious natural resources,” according to the release. “From water and wildlife management and conservation to wildland fire protection, energy, ocean and coastal policy, land stewardship, climate change adaptation, sustainable living, and the promotion of outdoor recreation, the agency oversees most all of the state’s functions designed to protect California’s natural resources.”

In July, Gov. Arnold “Fish Terminator” Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1464 (Maldonado) authorizing the Resources Agency to change its name. “The new Agency logo will remain largely the same and the change will be phased in gradually as new supplies are ordered,” the release stated. “In this way there will be little or no cost to the Agency or any of its departments, boards or commissions (The California Coastal Commission is one of them) save for any replacement costs that would normally be incurred.”

California’s Natural Resources Agency is responsible for the state’s natural resource policies, programs and activities. It has 17,000 employees and oversees 25 departments, commissions, boards and conservancies, including the Department of Fish and Game, Department of Water Resources, CALFED Bay-Delta Program, California Conservation Corps, Department of Boating and Waterways, Department of Conservation, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Department of Parks and Recreation.

(Note: Curious that the article did not mention the CCC in the line up)

However, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for the Resources Agency to adopt a name that truly reflects its REAL primary mission? Based on years covering California fisheries, this mission appears to be engineering the collapse of Central Valley salmon fisheries, driving the California Delta’s pelagic fish populations to the edge of extinction, building a peripheral canal, constructing more dams, slashing funds for salmon and steelhead restoration, and instituting massive closures of public trust fisheries throughout the state’s ocean waters.

Considering all of this, wouldn’t “the Natural Destruction Agency” be a more appropriate name for the agency?

Other potential names for the agency could be

“Bureau of Corporate Greenwashing,”

“Raping of Natural Resources Agency,”

“No More Natural Resources Agency,”

“The Fish Termination Agency,” or the “Water Exports Agency.”

Readers of Dan’s articles have also suggested the “Final Legislative Usurpation of Significant Habitats, FLUSH,” and “The Death Star” as more appropriate names for this agency with such a legacy of environmental destruction behind it.

While the name of the agency has changed, pelagic (open water) fish populations of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta continue to collapse. There is nothing “natural” about this unprecedented and catastrophic species decline.

The delta smelt population has declined to its lowest level ever, according to the latest data from the DFG’s fall midwater trawl survey. The DFG studies the health of these populations by compiling an “index” - a relative measure of abundance. The index declined to 23 in fall 2008, down from the previous low level of 28 in fall 2009.

These fish populations have declined to unprecedented low population levels because of the deplorable water and fishery management policies of the California “Natural” Resources Agency under the Schwarzenegger administration, combined with extremely bad management by the federal government.

In 1976, the California Legislature enacted the California Coastal Act that established a far-reaching coastal protection program and made permanent the California Coastal Commission.  ( Source: California Natural Resources Agency.

The commission is supposed to plan and regulate development and natural resource use along the coast in partnership with local governments and in keeping with the requirements of the Coastal Act. SINS OF COMMISSION reveals the commission’s unsung other mission is to destroy chapparral, sell environmental degredation, obliterate constitutional rights, and cook the books on pollution standards. 

The crisis in Delta fisheries, or in the abundant chaparral that surrounds major California cities will not be solved by changing the agency’s name..but by cleaning house.

 

Something smell fishy to you too?  Help us get the word out.  Hit the Donate Now button on the right.

California Coastal Commission - Time for Change - Part 2

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Separation of Powers is vital to individual liberty

The principal of Separation of Powers, vital to the protection of individual liberty, is ignored by the California Coastal Commission. Without it, some people might be tempted to let one individual or group take too much power in the name of pursuing some popular cause.

Right now, right here in California, USA, “the California Coastal Commission is the poster child for government power run amok — but because everything the commission does is supposedly to protect the environment, hardly anybody questions it. Especially the news media.” ¹ 

Do we, the people really want a state agency that claims jurisdiction over telling a homeowner what color to paint their house under the guise of environmental protection?  AND if we do, perhaps its time to re-prioritize PDQ, given our massive budget problems.

The California Coastal Commission’s purpose is so important… to protect the coast from serious threats such as oil spills, sea walls strip mall development it has been able to claim popular immunity for all sorts of sins of commission done in the name of protecting the environment.

SINS OF COMMISSION pierces the fog of secrecy surrounding the imperial California Coastal Commission and replaces cloudy vision with the crystal clear reality that for 30 plus years homeowners, farmers, and landowners have been told what to do by a government agency that was designed to protect our precious coastal resources of California from major offenders, and not John and Jane Doe Homeowner.

The chairman runs the meetings, has influence over the agenda and serves as the commission’s public face.  The commission, the state’s most powerful land-use regulator…is an independent panel – much to the irritation of a number of governors, including the current one – and it has an aggressive staff. Those two qualities often put them at odds with the powers in Sacramento the people who are affected by its decisions first hand.

(Source: John Howard, CAPITOL WEEKLY)

Bonnie Neely recently became the California California Coastal Commission’s new chairperson, and I for one sincerely hope she can get the California Coastal Commission back on the track it derailed from and refocus the commission’s attention to the big issues facing California’s 1,100 mile coastline.

Feeling burnt?

Donate now through the International Documentary Association, our fiscal sponsor.

¹http://www.cpoabigsur.org/Archive/CCC_Articles/Reinventing_The_Coastal_Commission.html

Urban Wild Land Fires Ravished California Again

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Sylmar Fire

1 month after the Porter Ranch Fire, California was once again under siege from devastating fire storms.

As we take stock of the events that led up to these firestorms, we might want to evaluate how our land management agencies, conservancies, and other organizations charged with protecting our valuable natural resources are facing these mounting challenges. 

 

Deer Lost

Deer Lost

California will double its population.

The desire to live further away from cities and be in more rural areas has been thoroughly documented. 

As population and land preservation mix, SINS OF COMMISSION suggests this may also be an appropriate time to take a fresh look at how we are protecting these large unbroken swaths of Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHA) in these interface zones.

Building codes updates are important, but they’re half the equation.

Without a willingness to explore new possibilities of vegetation modification (brush clearance)  and apply it to these large wilderness areas,  a/k/a/ fuel beds in fire department lingo, we are continuing to put people’s lives, property, and the environment we all wish to preserve at risk from repeated burning. Not to mention the huge cost in men and machines to fight the fires.



 
 
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