Governor Jerry Brown’s 10 Worst Environmental Policies
Photo Credit: Dan Bacher
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On October 17, Governor Brown failed to show up to receive a “Right Stuff” environmental award from the BlueGreen Alliance at a gala dinner at Le Parc Hotel in San Francisco as over 60 people protested outside.
Every year, the Apollo Alliance Project of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation recognizes business, community, environmental and labor leaders for their “outstanding work in advocating for family-sustaining jobs, clean energy, stronger infrastructure, and a better future for all of us.” This year, they selected Governor Jerry Brown as a winner in the government category.
Outraged over the selection of Brown for the award after he has advanced so many bad environmental policies such as promoting fracking, a coalition of environmentalists, indigenous leaders and labor activists organized the protest to expose the real, abysmal environmental record of Governor Brown.
At the protest, Michael Preston from the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, blasted Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels and the federal Shasta Dam raise plan that will cause massive fish extinction and destroy the Delta.
“I am here as a Winnemem Wintu Tribe warrior to speak for the salmon and for our cultural beliefs and sacred sites,” said Preston. "We have to speak out against the peripheral tunnels and Shasta dam raises because they could make the fish extinct and destroy the whole Bay Delta Estuary. These plans will affect all of life more than we know.”
Brown's ten worst environmental policies were outlined in an alternative program that protesters handed out to attendees of the dinner. These policies include the following:
1. Twin Tunnel Plan: Brown is fast-tracking the $54.1 billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that would divert massive quantities of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to corporate agribusiness, developers and oil companies. The construction of the peripheral tunnels will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and green sturgeon, as well as imperil salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.
2. Senate Bill 4: Not only did Brown sign SB4— Senator Fran Pavley’s “greenlight to fracking” bill—he gutted it at the 11th hour, adding poison pill amendments, which make CEQA review of fracking permits optional, and prevent imposing a moratorium on fracking for 15 months. He signed the bill after receiving at least $2.49 million over several years from oil and natural gas interests. Mark Nechodom, head of the state Conservation Department, recently said definitively, “Gov. Brown supports hydraulic fracturing.”
3. REDD: The REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation+) allows Northern Hemisphere polluters to buy forest carbon offset credits from the global South. Brown is trying to link an agreement among Chiapas, Mexico; Acre, Brazil; and California, to AB32 (which commits to a 25% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for 2020, and an 80% reduction for 2050).
4. Record Water Exports: The Brown administration authorized the export of record water amounts of water from the Delta in 2011 – 6,520,000 acre-feet, 217,000 acre feet more than the previous record of 6,303,000 acre feet set in 2005 under Schwarzenegger. Most of this went to corporate agribusiness, including mega-growers irrigating unsustainable, selenium-laced land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
5. Record Delta Fish Kills: The Brown administration “salvaged” a record 9 million Sacramento splittail and 2 million salmon, steelhead, striped bass, largemouth bass, threadfin shad, white catfish and sturgeon in the Delta export pumping facilities in 2011. Since the actual number of fish killed in the pumps is at least 5 to 10 times those reported, the actual number of fish killed is probably 55 million to 110 million.