Hypocrisy: Government will shut off water to farmers to protect a 3-inch bait fish for ecological reasons. Yet it has no problem uprooting a threatened species to make room for a trendy green energy project.
The tiny, inedible delta smelt falls under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. It is so important that in 2007 a federal judge ordered water streaming from the San Joaquin-Sacramento River routed away from California farmers because the pumps used to redirect the flow were killing the fish. Job and financial losses naturally followed the judge’s decision.
The smelt isn’t the only California creature that has been given preferential treatment over man. The well-being of the kangaroo rat has been used to stop home development and freeway construction in Southern California. Farmers in the northern part of the state have been denied water so the needs of the coho salmon and shortnose suckerfish can be served. And in the Inland Empire, the Delhi Sands fly has shut down development and killed jobs.
Man is often shackled for the benefit of the goddess Earth. But apparently there are exceptions in which a threatened species can be evicted from its habitat. In the desert of San Bernardino County, tortoises are being removed so that “an estimated 17 federally threatened tortoises — and an unknown number of half-dollar-sized hatchlings” won’t be ” squashed by heavy equipment” at the construction site of a 3,280-acre solar energy plant, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Despite the effort, some of the lumbering land turtles, threatened or not, will have their often 100-year-plus life spans cut short by the weight of a bulldozer. “We can never say we got them all out of there — these are cryptic creatures,” a Fish and Wildlife Service official told the Times.
Even those spared a crushing end might not survive. Tortoise translocation has “a dismal track record,” says the Times. The turtles tend “to wander, sometimes for miles, often back toward the habitat in which they were found.” Worse, the “stress of handling and adapting to unfamiliar terrain renders the reptiles vulnerable to potentially lethal threats” from dogs, ravens, coyotes, respiratory disease, dehydration and vehicles.
Would these tortoises be treated so rudely for a gas- or coal-fired generating facility? A nuclear power plant? An oil refinery? Of course not. Though such energy sources are cheaper and more efficient than unreliable solar, they’ve been successfully demonized by the green lobby. Favoritism, it seems, is reserved only for power projects that are politically correct.
Hat Tip: Climate Change Dispatch