CESAR's Manson: SF Gets More Water by Exploiting Political Clout

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 03:34 PM

By Courtney Coren

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The San Francisco Bay area gets more water than California's Central Valley, where farmers have been cut off from needed water because the coastal areas have more "political clout," says Craig Manson, executive director of the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability (CESAR).

CESAR recently filed a lawsuit in federal court against the National Park Service over the Hetch-Hetchy Project, which dams a river in Central California that flows from Yosemite National Park and diverts water to San Francisco, saying it violates the Endangered Species Act.

"Our lawsuit focuses on O'Shaughnessy Dam at Hetch-Hetchy Valley, which is part of Yosemite National Park," Manson told J.D. Hayworth and Francesca Page on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Monday.

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"For years the park service has allowed Hetch-Hetchy dam, O'Shaughnessy Dam, and Hetch-Hetchy reservoirs to fly water to San Francisco," he explained. "And yet every other water system in the state has to undergo what's called a Section 7 analysis, under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, to make sure they're not harming endangered species."

The other problem with the diversion is that farmers in the Central Valley aren't getting the water they need, which is exacerbated by the drought in the Golden Gate State.

However, Manson explained that the "farmers in the Central Valley don't have the same political clout that the coastal representatives have, and that's been exploited so that the coast has more room to maneuver on water than do our farmers."

"Our farmers in the Central Valley this year are getting zero allocation of water from the Bureau of Reclamation," he added.

Those in the San Francisco Bay area argue that they are diverting the water "to protect the Delta smelt, that small fish that lives in the San Francisco Bay Delta."

Manson says that "we flush several hundred thousand acre-feet of water down the bay to the Pacific Ocean, to protect this fish, and we don't even know that it's working."

The goal of the lawsuit, the CESAR director explained, is "to ensure that the fish really is protected by having it undergo an analysis under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, and that would result in more water for farmers."

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