The US Supreme Court declined to hear a case brought by the Central Valley farmers and California water districts who sought to extract more water from a delta that also serves as the home of a small, endangered fish. According to The New York Times, the court upheld a 9th Circuit decision supporting the US Fish & Wildlife service’s biological plan for the delta. The fish in question is the three-inch long Delta smelt that was listed as endangered in 1993. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is the only home of the smelt and when the fish was classified as endangered, Fish and Wildlife enacted restrictions on the amount of water that cold be removed.
Because of California’s recent water shortages resulting from the state’s drought, farmers and state water districts sued to enable more water to be released. The farmers especially have been impacted since a lack of water has gravely impacted their crop yields. The New York Times quotes two farmers who had to remove aspects of their crop cultivation efforts due to the drought and water restrictions for the fish. Environmentalists, naturally, are overjoyed at the Supreme Court’s decision.
“We need to keep this estuary healthy and functional for everybody,” Poole said. “The smelt is telling us that we’re not doing a good enough job of that right now.”
Earthjustice attorney Trent Orr said the court’s decision is a victory for the Endangered Species Act.
“Contrary to their claims, there have been no reductions in water allotment for protection of this species,” Orr said. “The drought is what’s causing a water shortage, not the smelt.“
Please go back and read the above quotes again. Notice the condescending and elitist manner the attorneys for the environmentalist groups have toward their opponents. Somehow, they have had some sort of mystical revelation or psychic reading as to the needs of the smelt fish. The claim that the drought, and not the Delta smelt, is causing water shortages is only a half truth. One farmer quoted by The Times said he would have to take out some of his citrus crop if the drought continued, while an almond farmer stated he had cut down one-fifth of his almond trees last year resulting from not only the drought but the water mandates too.
The farmers and the California water districts litigated so they could use and provide water for human usage while the green groups sided with the fish. This case boiled down to a case between civilization and the nature. Endangered species rules were used to block a human need for water to maintain the habitat of a rare, little known fish. Green groups get massive amounts of money and could put people’s donations to use to implement preserves for species like the smelt so water from places like the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could be used for California resident’s water needs. The patronizing comments from the environmentalist attorneys in this case goes to show that they and other environmentalists like them care little for human beings.