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Dan Bacher's blog

Scientists investigate death of over one million sardines

State fishery biologists are conducting tests on a dozen dead sardines from the Redondo Beach Harbor in southern California to determine the cause of a massive die-off on Tuesday, March 8, according to Andrew Hughan, Department of Fish and Game (DFG) spokesman.

Approximately one million dead sardines were discovered in the Redondo Beach harbor Tuesday morning, raising concerns about possible water contamination among area residents, fishermen and environmentalists. The concern over increasing water pollution on the California coast highlights the alarming fact that the so-called "marine protected areas" slated to go into effect in southern California waters under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative will do nothing to protect the ocean from pollution.

Delta Agreement to "Protect Listed Species" or another Ploy to Export More Water

Delta Agreement to "Protect Listed Species" or another Ploy to Export More Water

by Patrick Porgans, Planetary Solutionaries

March 3, 2011 - Last Thursday a federal judge approved a settlement agreement to protect the tiny Delta smelt, one of a number of species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that dwell in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The smelt may be on the verge of extinction. Its 15-minute claim to fame was immortalized during a 60 Minute segment that mistakenly credited it for the demise of California's agricultural industry. Incidentally, last year, when CBS aired the program, California's agricultural industry posted record-breaking profits, as it did during the entire four-year of California's so-called "drought".

Winnemem leader challenges Feinstein's idea of 'peace on the river'

Tribe continues effort to restore winter run chinook to McCloud

by Dan Bacher

In a letter to participants in the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), California Senator Dianne Feinstein praised the work done on the plan to build a peripheral canal and new dams, drawing criticism from Mark Franco, Headman of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.

"The work you collectively are undertaking on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is very important," said Feinstein. "This is the closest the state has been, in recent memory, to a meaningful resolution of its constant water supply issues, as well as providing for protection and restoration of our fisheries and the Bay-Delta ecosystems. I hope you will work together to achieve its promise."

Resistance to fake marine 'protection' builds from Diego Garcia to Baja California

African Union supports Mauritius against UK's purported 'marine reserve'

by Dan Bacher

Throughout the world, opposition is building to fake marine "protected" areas designed to fulfill the agenda of corporate globalization and the privatization of public trust resources.

The rights of indigenous people and fishing families are rarely considered in the creation of these unjust no fishing and gathering zones, whether they are installed in the Chagros Islands by the United Kingdom, the Sea of Cortez by the Mexican government, or along the California coast under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.

The MLPA Initiative does not protect the ocean

The MLPA Initiative does not protect the ocean

By Dan Bacher

Ray Hiemstra, the associate director of Orange County Coastkeeper, has written an article,” MLPA's Public-Private Partnership Protects Oceans During Lean Budget Times,” that includes a number of false claims in his attempt to extol the virtues of the private foundation funding behind Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative (

First, he claims, "Of course, the foundations involved do support the MLPA and the idea of setting aside a network of protected waters to ensure the long-term health of our ocean and marine life. So yes, they have an agenda: they want to implement the law."

That is simply not true: the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation and MLPA advocates have gone out of their way to NOT implement the law.

He completely fails to address the essential problem with the privatized MLPA Initiative: the process has taken water pollution, oil spills and drilling, military testing, corporate aquaculture, habitat destruction, wave energy projects and all other impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering off the table in its bizarre concept of marine protection. The MLPA Initiative doesn't "protect" the ocean!

Hiemstra and other MLPA Initiative advocates should actually read the law. The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) is a comprehensive, landmark law that was signed by Governor Gray Davis in 1999. The MLPA, as amended in 2004, is very broad in its scope.

Foundation multi-millions fund ocean privatization campaigns

Just follow the money

by Dan Bacher

Watergate’s “Deep Throat,” Mark Felt, advised investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to “follow the money” to uncover the truth behind the Watergate scandal.

Nils E. Stolpe, a muck raking journalist, has done just that. Stolpe asks the hard-question: How many millions of dollars are environmental non governmental organizations (ENGOs) receiving from corporate-funded foundations in their drive to take over NMFS and NOAA, to run fishermen’s lives and to destroy fishing communities that have been viable for generations?

A new website - - will give you some idea. “The odds are that unless you’re a foundation/ENGO insider, you’ll be staggered by the answer,” said Stolpe. “Hundreds of millions of dollars just barely cover it.”

“These so-called grass roots organizations have roots that appear to go in only one direction – towards the board rooms of a handful of multi-billion dollar ‘charitable’ foundations,” he emphasized.

“Just as it was important in the Watergate investigations, following the money is also important in determining who is doing what and why in fisheries management and where the impetus for a management ‘revolution’ is coming from,” noted Stolpe. “In order to help untangle what seems to be an overly tangled web, I’m putting together information on the mega-foundations behind the anti-fishing juggernaut and the individuals and organizations that are most heavily involved.”

What’s a big oil lobbyist doing chairing a marine protection panel?

Marine 'guardian' wants less regs for big oil, more for public

by Dan Bacher

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, a big oil lobbyist who serves as president of the Western States Petroleum Association, claims that the oil industry is too heavily regulated in California.

Citing President Obama's order to federal agencies to review existing regulations and to streamline or eliminate those regulations "that are not smart, unnecessary, unreasonably costly or no longer needed," Reheis-Boyd, argues for reducing "costly" regulations imposed on the oil industry in a statement, "Review of Regulations a Welcome Development," on the association's website (

"Few industries are more heavily regulated than California’s petroleum industry," says Reheis-Boyd. "While the environment, workers, and consumers have benefited from many of these regulations, other regulations are duplicative, no longer needed or are unduly expensive. They often require costly solutions to problems that could be solved more easily and less expensively if our industry had the flexibility to do so."

"California, with an unemployment rate stuck at more than 12 percent, would do well to take a serious look at reducing the crushing load of regulations it imposes on businesses. Surely there are ways to ease that burden, promote job creation and restore economic vitality without putting the environment or consumers at risk," she notes.

However, this call for less regulation of the oil industry is extremely hypocritical, when one considers that Reheis-Boyd wears another hat as well: “marine guardian.” Ex-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made her the chair of his Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force for California’s South Coast and a member of the task forces for the North Central Coast and North Coast.

Ben Dangl to discuss Dancing with Dynamite, a new book about Latin American social movements

Media Advisory: February 26, 2011

Contact: Sacramento Action for Latin America (SALA), 916-457-5018 or caac2 [at]

Ben Dangl to discuss Dancing with Dynamite, a new book about Latin American social movements

Award-winning journalist Ben Dangl discusses his new book, Dancing with Dynamite, on the dynamics between social movements and progressive governments in Latin America at the Southside Park Co-housing Common House, 434 T St. Sacramento, on Monday, March 7 at 7 pm. Eric Vega, Chicano community activist, will introduce the speaker.

In the past decade, grassroots social movements played major roles in electing left-leaning governments throughout Latin America, but subsequent relations between the streets and the states remain uneasy. In Dancing with Dynamite, award-winning journalist Benjamin Dangl explores the complex ways these movements have worked with, against, and independently of national governments. From dynamite-wielding miners in Bolivia to the struggles of landless farmers in Brazil and Paraguay, Dangl discusses the dance between movements and states in seven different Latin American countries. Using original research, lively prose, and extensive interviews with workers, farmers, and politicians, he suggests how Latin American social movement strategies could be applied internationally to build a better world now.

DFG to Host Public Meeting on California Salmon Stocks and Fisheries

by Dan Bacher

Every year the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) holds a meeting regarding California salmon stocks and the upcoming salmon fishing seasons - and this year is no exception.

The DFG's 2011 Salmon Information Meeting (DFG) will be held March 1 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Sonoma County Water Agency Building located at 404 Aviation Boulevard in Santa Rosa. The public is invited to testify at this meeting about California salmon populations and the 2011 ocean and river salmon fisheries.

"The rebound of Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon in 2010 has sparked intense public interest in the possibility of less restrictive salmon seasons this year," according to a DFG news release. "Preliminary data indicates approximately 125,300 adult fall Chinook and 27,500 jacks (two-year-old fish) returned to the Sacramento River Basin."

In 2009, the returns of adult Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon were an all time low of approximately 39,500 and all salmon seasons were closed. Limited recreational and commercial fishing seasons were allowed in 2010.

Legislators Announce Package to Establish Human Right to Water in California

Sacramento, CA – Legislators, safe water advocates, and residents of California communities without access to safe drinking water will gather for a press conference this Monday, February 28, at 2 pm on the North Steps of State Capitol to announce the introduction of the Human Right to Water bill package.

Speakers will include Assembly Member Mike Eng, Assembly Member Paul Fong, Assembly Member V. Manuel Pérez, United Nations Independent Expert on the Human Right to Water, Catarina de Albuquerque, community advocates, and affected community members.

"The six-bill package includes AB 685 (Eng), which would make it a policy of the state that every Californian has a human right to clean, accessible water for basic human needs," said Debbie Davis, policy director of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. "The five additional bills make changes in state law to begin implementing the human right to water policy and promote access to safe water for the health and well-being of all Californians."

More than 11.5 million Californians rely on water from suppliers that experienced at least one violation of State Drinking Water Standards as reported to the Department of Public Health in 2004, according to Davis. As many as 8.5 million Californians rely on supplies that experienced more than five instances of unsafe levels in a single year.

Peripheral canal foes introduce bill to protect Delta

Peripheral canal foes introduce bill to protect Delta

by Dan Bacher

Two Delta legislators, Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) and Assemblyman Bill Berryhill (R-Ceres), have introduced legislation to ensure that the imperiled Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is protected from potential conveyance projects to export water to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness and southern California.

Wolk’s legislation, coauthored by Berryhill, establishes specific criteria and assurances that will enable the state to meet its "co-equal goals" for the Delta as established by a package of laws, enacted in November 2009, that canal opponents criticized for creating a "clear path" to the construction of the peripheral canal.

"Those goals are to provide a more reliable water supply for California—and to protect, restore, and enhance the Delta ecosystem," according to a news release from Wolk's office. "By law, these goals must be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place."

In 1980 during his second term as Governor, Jerry Brown negotiated the legislative package that included several important protections for the California, according to Wolk. Thirty years later, Wolk and Berryhill are revisiting Brown’s proposed safeguards for the Delta "as a means of protecting the region from future attempts to siphon off its water."

Lawsuit Challenges Legitimacy of Privatized MLPA Process

John Lewallen, a prominent North Coast environmentalist and co-founder of the Ocean Protection Coalition and the Seaweed Rebellion, applauds the lawsuit by United Anglers of Southern California, the Coastside Fishing Club, and Robert C. Fletcher against the corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. Unlike some corporate "environmental" NGO leaders that support greenwashing under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's fast-track MLPA process, Lewallen sees the MLPA for a what is truly is- a resource grab by corporate interests.

"All the new Marine Protected Areas in Southern California and the North Central Coast are null, void and unenforceable, because they were created by an illegal and corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process," emphasizes Lewallen.

Please circulate this excellent article widely!


Lawsuit Challenges Legitimacy of Privatized MLPA Process

by John Lewallen

All the new Marine Protected Areas in Southern California and the North Central Coast are null, void and unenforceable, because they were created by an illegal and corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process.

In a 55-page petition filed January 27 in San Diego Superior Court, United Anglers of Southern California, the Coastside Fishing Club, and Robert C. Fletcher ask that the works of the MLPA be nullified because they were created without legal authority by a process which did not follow state law.

Urgent Alert: Stop the House Republicans' War on Salmon!

Good Morning

Representative Devin Nunes (R-Visalia), a fanatical supporter of the war on salmon and salmon fishing communities by the Corporate Welfare Queens of San Joaquin Valley agribusiness, has inserted amendments into the Continuing Resolution Bill to defund restoration efforts for Sacramento and San Joaquin River salmon. The House of Representatives passed the bill with these amendments on February 19.

Please act now to ensure that these salmon killing provisions are eliminated in the bill in the Senate version. Please forward this action alert to everybody that you know!


To: California Salmon Supporters

From: The Recreational and Commercial Salmon Coalition
Dear Salmon Supporter:

Once again our Central Valley salmon need your help. On Saturday February 19th the House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution Bill which is needed to keep the Federal Government running after March 4th 2011. The bill included two fatal amendments for Central Valley salmon.

The big corporate money behind the MLPA Initiative

The most fake marine "protection" that money can buy

by Dan Bacher

In a groundbreaking investigative piece in the Laguna Beach Independent on February 11, Ted Reckas exposed the private money that is behind the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, a widely-contested program to create a network of "marine protected areas" on the California coast.

“Five non-profits, including one based in Laguna Beach, donated a total of $20 million to see the drafting process to completion since the state legislature never budgeted adequate funding for the marine-protection law, which was enacted in 1999,” according to Reckas in his article, “Marine Hearings Buoyed by Nonprofits.” (

The Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, a shadowy organization that North Coast environmental leader John Lewallen describes as a “money laundering operation” for corporate money, received the funds from these foundations to implement the unpopular MLPA process.

The David and Lucillle Packard Foundation contributed $8.2 million to fund MLPA hearings, according to Reckas. The Packard Foundation is not only the biggest funder of the MLPA, but also funded studies to build the peripheral canal, including the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) report in July 2008 calling for the construction of a canal. The peripheral canal is opposed by a coalition of fishermen, environmentalists, Indian Tribes, family farmers and Delta residents.

Ten Big Questions about the MLPA Initiative

The marine "protected" areas adopted along the South Coast under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative do nothing to protect the marine ecosystem from water pollution, oil drilling and spills, military testing, corporate aquaculture, wave energy projects, coastal development, habitat destruction and other human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

Ten Big Questions about the MLPA Initiative

by Dan Bacher

Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) chaired an oversight meeting of the Joint Legislative Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture at the State Capitol in Sacramento on February 17 from 10 am to 12 noon focusing on the South Coast Study Region of the controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.

Recreational anglers, commercial fishermen and grassroots environmentalists exposed the many flaws of the MLPA Initiative, while representatives of corporate environmental NGOs lauded the process for being "open, transparent and inclusive." About two thirds of the speakers were critical of the MLPA, while about one-third praised the South Coast process.