Tag Archives: Salmon

Californians Call on Boxer to Take a Stand Against GE Salmon

SAN FRANCISCO – On behalf of a coalition representing the interests of consumers, environmentalists and fishermen statewide, Food & Water Watch will deliver petitions signed by more than 17,000 Californians to Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) San Francisco office on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 17, asking her to join her West Coast colleagues in urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to halt its approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon. The FDA could issue its decision as early as November 23. If approved, the product would be the first GE food animal allowed for human consumption.

“Every other Senator from the Pacific Coast – including Senator Feinstein – has voiced concern about what the approval of GE salmon would mean for human health, the environment, and the tens of thousands of men and women whose livelihoods depend on California’s commercial salmon fisheries,” said Food & Water Watch’s California Campaigns Director Adam Scow. “It’s time for Senator Boxer to take a stand against the approval of GE salmon.”

In September, the FDA held hearings to determine whether or not to approve the controversial product developed by Massachusetts biotech company AquaBounty. At least 30 House members and 13 senators expressed concern with the FDA’s review process, with many calling for the outright prohibition of GE salmon. Fourteen of California’s state legislators sent a similar message in a letter to the FDA that month.

“Senator Boxer has been a strong champion for California’s commercial fishing communities and we’re counting on her to help us combat GE salmon, which could spell disaster for our natural fisheries,” said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.  

Scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are concerned that insufficient research has been done on the environmental risks of GE salmon, according to documents obtained by Food & Water Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request and released on Monday.

Two types of petitions will be delivered to Senator Boxer: 2,219 petitions urge Senator Boxer directly to support legislation similar to H.R. 6265, which prevents the approval of GE fish, and to ask President Obama to direct the FDA not to rush approval of the product; 15,100 petitions directed to President Obama and FDA asking them to reject the approval of AquaBounty’s Aqua Advantage Salmon.

The coalition of groups that oppose GE salmon include the San Francisco Bay Chapter Sierra Club, Credo Action, Center for Food Safety, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, SalmonAID Foundation, San Francisco Crab Boat Owner’s Association, Fish Sniffer magazine, South Yuba River Citizens League and FISH Restaurant in Sausalito.

The following spokespeople are available to provide background and comment about the impacts of GE salmon approval on California’s consumers, environment and economy:

Adam Scow, California campaigns director for consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch

Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director for the public interest and environmental advocacy organization The Center for Food Safety (CFS)

Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA)

Kenny Belov, owner of sustainable seafood restaurant FISH in Sausalito

Paul Johnson, owner of Monterey Fish Co.

More information on U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s concerns about GE salmon can be found here: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.o…

Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.


Random Bill Blogging: Bill Monning’s AB 1279 Salmon Restoration

I haven’t done my random bill blogging for a while, so I fired up the ol’ (and by ol’, I mean circa 1996) Senate website.  I tried to be as random as I could be and chose 1279.  Of course, that was too high to get a Senate bill, so I was stuck with only one choice: AB 1279 by Assembly  member Bill Monning (D-Monterey).

AB 1279 is a short bill.  So short, in fact, that it is likely just a placeholder bill for a program to be later defined.  Here’s the entirety of it as it currently stands:


 SECTION 1.  It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would fund salmon restoration projects.

I suppose I agree with the merits of the sentence, despite any issues with the budget.  Both the environmental and financial impacts of the death of the salmon are enormous. So, go salmon restoration.

If anything, I suppose this can be a testament on some legislative principles. First, there’s the gut and amend process.  Basically this allows one house to pass an innocuous measure like this, and then either stick in a real bill in its place on the subject matter at hand or an entirely new bill. It’s not necessarily the most transparent process, and shouldn’t be used on a regular basis.  However, it can be used to help with some important legislation.  Marriage equality comes to mind.  When the Assembly did not have the votes to pass then Asm. Leno’s marriage equality bill, a bill passed by Asm. Yee was gutted on the Senate side and replaced with the civil marriage language.

While this could, in theory, be a holding bill for some legislation to be passed in the normal course of business, the bill deadline for all policy committees in the Legislature to pass out bills that will have a fiscal impact on the state is this Friday.  If Asm. Monning really wants to fund salmon restoration, he would need a real bill pronto.  

Arnold to Raise Money for a Fish and Job killer

[UPDATE] Almost as soon as I posted this Arnold announced the fundraiser will be rescheduled to Sept. 19. Doesn’t change the basic issue though.

Not content with firing 20,000 state workers and jeopardizing the wages of thousands more, and apparently unconcerned that the lack of a state budget might further harm California’s already reeling economy, Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to Portland on Thursday to raise money for Republican US Senator Gordon Smith.

The fundraiser is a slap in the face to Californians, and not just because Arnold is abandoning the budget stalemate. Gordon Smith played a central role in the salmon crisis that has crippled the California fishing industry and imperiled the jobs of thousands.

In 2002 Smith conspired with Karl Rove and Dick Cheney to divert water from the Klamath River to farmers in southern Oregon experiencing dry conditions, in order to shore up Smith’s rural base. Cheney convened a “God squad” that overrode endangered species protections in order to make the water diversion for nakedly political purposes – still one of the boldest and most destructive anti-environment moves of the entire Bush era.

The result was an ongoing catastrophe for the Pacific Coast salmon fishery. The diversion caused a massive die-off of salmon in the Klamath River in 2002, but the effects have been long-lasting. Salmon numbers have been so slow to recover that salmon fishing was severely restricted in 2007. Here in 2008, of course, the ENTIRE west coast salmon fishery has been closed, an unprecedented event. While the issues in the Sacramento Delta were a primary motivator behind the total closure, the ongoing weakness of the Klamath fishery, dating to the 2002 fish kill, is a contributing factor.

Gordon Smith is unrepentant  about his role in the fish kill:

Sen. Gordon Smith said Tuesday that he has no regrets about the diversion of water from the Klamath River that was intended to protect fish but instead went to farmers….

“I am not here to make any apologies,” said Smith, who faces re-election next year. “I am proud to fight for the farmers or any group of Americans whom the federal government says has no standing, no water. I just find that offensive.”…

I am not sorry for fighting for farmers. I have a responsibility for humankind.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has his own responsibility – to Californians and their jobs. To Californians who have been devastated by the salmon crisis, from Yurok and Hoopa peoples living along the Klamath whose traditional rights have been eroded, to the fishermen in towns like Fort Bragg and Monterey whose livelihoods have been put at risk so Gordon Smith could score points with a few farmers in southern Oregon.

Arnold’s attendance at the fundraiser is a slap at his fellow Californians. And while it’s not likely that we can convince him to cancel the event, we can fight back by donating to Jeff Merkley, the progressive Democrat running against Smith. Merkley has said that he will help save the salmon by preferencing science, not crass politics. It’s a better position for us Californians than the fish and job killing of Gordon Smith that our own governor is now helping enable.

California Blog Roundup, 7/3/06

Today’s California Blog Roundup is on the flip. Teasers: Phil Angelides, Arnold Schwarzenegger, CA-50, CA-04, CA-11, Richard Pombo, John Doolittle, Brian Bilbray, corruption, environment, budget, initiatives, salmon, other environment, clean money.

More Initatives. Oy.

Governor’s Race

Bilbray / CA-50

Paid-For Pombo / CA-11

15% Doolittle / CA-04

  • Abramoff pays Julie Doolittle. 15% Doolittle, devout anti-gambling religious Mormon helps out Abramoff’s Indian gaming clients. Move along. No corruption here. 15% Doolittle can’t be bought. He’s an upright man, a family man, a religious man.
  • Dump Doolittle points us to an Auburn Journal piece on the bases of support for the two CA-04 candidates.
  • So here’s how our federal government “works” after 12 years of Republican majority rule: citizens pay our taxes, federal representatives ignore us and our local governments until our local governments use our taxes pay lobbyists, lobbyists give the federal reps campaign donations, fancy dinners, junkets, and jobs, and then our taxes sometimes come back to some of us (less a percentage off the top) on that basis. The Republicans: standing for the right to get rich in government since at least 1994.

Other Republican Paragons





California News Roundup, 4/10/06

Todays California News Roundup is on the flip. Blog Roundup should come later today. Teasers: immigration, more on Westly payola (?), some oppo research on Angelides masquerading as news, CA-50, SacBee thrashing John Doolittle, global warming, salmon, rural roads.

UPDATE: Somehow I forgot the story concerning voter registration fraud by Republican-hired contractors.

California News Roundup 4/6/06

News Roundup from the last couple days on the flip. Teasers? We don’t need no stinking teasers! Oh, alright then: Millionaires, Schwarzenegger, pay-to-play(?), more immigration, San Diego corruption, emissions, energy, salmon, water water everywhere, Prop 82, and earthquakes.

Special roundup of news coverage of the Univision debate up next and then much later today, a belated blog roundup

Pure Politics

  • The CC Times reminds us that only millionaires are running for Governor. This may be in part an unintended consequence of limiting contributions while allowing unlimited spending on a campaign from one’s own wealth. Of course, lifting the contribution limit will allow millionaires to buy their own candidates, so I fail to see where that would help. Sounds like public financing is the way to go.
  • Dan Walters thinks that 2006 is setting up the pool of California’s elected officials for the next big things. But isn’t that true of pretty much every major election?
  • Daniel Weintraub reports, mostly without injecting his personal biases, on a pending problem: a recent court ruling that initiative petitions need to be translated from English into the language(s) spoken by any large minority of the population of the relevant political unit.
  • Schwarzenegger’s approval ratings rising . . . some. This story is mostly notable for the Schwarzenegger spokesman pushing the “it’s a choice” message. Wouldn’t want Schwarzenegger to have to run on his record — no accountability for Republicans.
  • Steve Westly probably didn’t do anything really wrong when he suggested that CalPERS have a look at a VC fund that raised contributions for him (especially when one considers how little outside funding he really has. But still, it looks like pay-for-access. Public financing, people.


  • There’s a lot of coverage of the global warming pollution restrictions being discussed in the California State Government. The CC Times has a good summary of the larger picture. There’s a nifty quote from an oil company lobbyist, who admits that “climate change is real”. Wow. After all those millions (and probably billions) of dollars spent by the oil industry attacking the science and delaying any effort to deal with the problem, now global warming is real. Of course, the oil companies don’t want do do anything about it, so that hasn’t changed.
  • In other news, moderate Republicans who aren’t in the pocket of the extractive industries seem to be educable on the problem. Now if only they’d buck the Bush-Cheney-Oil wing of the party and do something about it.
  • Re that issue, for example, see this SacBee editorial calling out the Bush DOT’s usurpation both of state regulatory authority and the EPA’s authority.
  • Vinod Khosla and Steven Bing are teaming up to sponsor a ballot initiative to tax the oil industry and fund alternative energy technology.
  • The looming salmon fishery closing has effects beyond just the commercial fishing industry. There’s a big group of people who fish recreationally and a lot of merchants who serve them.



Water: Not Enough, Too Much

  • Generic Dan Walters: There’s a problem with X. Politicians need to stop listening to special interests and fix X. Today, X = Water Policy.
  • Non-generic Dan Walters: Local governments shouldn’t be able to freeload on the state’s liability for flood damages by building in known danger areas.
  • Some federal money may be coming to strengthen the levees.
  • And from a professor who actually studies, y’know, ecosystems ‘n’ stuff, a flood control plan that doesn’t rely on building artificial canyons or lakes.


  • Think tank doesn’t like Prop 82 much. And it doesn’t seem to be ideological.(Link fixed by Brian)
  • If the big one hits before we fix some (well, a lot) of stuff, the Bay Area is screwed. Oh, the Delta too: levees down, floods everywhere. And does anyone think that a Republican-controlled federal government will help us godless librul eleets, even if by some miracle, they’re competent to do it right?

News Roundup, 3/27/06

Nifty! A news roundup first thing in the morning. Whodathunkit? Teasers:Ad buy,debate set, debate silliness, salmon, student walkouts, new state revenue initative,Lake Tahoe.

  • I’m only going to mention 2 pieces of the many stories around Schwarzeneggers’ recent staged news event in the form of a small ad buy. The first is this brief and informative piece by an OC Register reporter which compares the claims made in the ad to actual facts and prior Schwarzenegger positions. The second is this Chron “blog’ entry by Carla Marinucci, which uncritically notes the existence of the ad and the pitch, and speaks only to Matthew Dowd, Schwarzenegger’s chief strategist. The Marinucci piece is particularly notable for its failure, even in this informal context, to report on the estimated size of the ad buy. One would think that a reporter charged with statewide political coverage might read at least Bill Bradley’s public stuff, and I’m sure there are insider newletters that say the same type of thing with more detail.
  • The SacBee reports that there will be at least one Angelides / Westly debate in Los Angeles, hosted by the League of Conservation Voters. Other debates continue to be the subject of pointlessly pointed semi-public argument between the two campaigns.
  • The Contra Costa Times reports that a federal judge has ordered that the Klamath River be allowed sufficient water to fully support its salmon run.
  • Tens of thousands of students walked out of schools in the Los Angeles area yesterday in support of the immigration rallies over the weekend.
  • Reed Hastings and John Doerr launch a signature drive for a parcel tax initiative — a direct strike at Proposition 13.
  • The Sacramento Bee reports on the plight of regular folks who live in Tahoe — even while vacation homes sit empty, they have a hard fime finding an affordable place to live. That’s John Doolittle country up there. Any guesses as to what kind of homes his developer contributors want to build?

That’s it for the news roundup today.