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A Reminder of How We Got Where We Are

They say they need the water for the environment, to flow through the Delta and out to sea. But, they couldn't prove it to a judge.

Feb 24, 2014

As the debate continues about the science of water in the Delta and the Delta Smelt, it is a good time to remind everyone how the scientists and their science performed in the courtroom versus the court of public opinion. When scientists had to defend their theories before a judge who could ask them questions, they didn't do so well. Below are some excerpts from various publications that tell the tale of the so-called scientists. The judge called their scientific theories "equivocal or bad", and called one of the scientists a "zealot" who didn't let facts get in the way. You might wonder how in the world we didn't win the water decision if this was the evidence against us. The judge said it was up to lawmakers to change the law, as he could not and would not legislate from the bench.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife hired Resolve, a Washington D.C. firm described as 'neutral' to investigate the judge's allegations. The President of Resolve was the former Executive Director of GreenpeaceUSA. Neutral? Needless to say, they found no wrongdoing.

To top it all off, the Fish and Wildlife Service gave the "zealot"
their Star Award and mentions that she "performed outstandingly while working under intense pressure."

This is the science we continue to debate to this day when it comes to fish versus farmers. The science continues to mislead and we keep getting the short end of the water stick. This is the same science that keeps us from getting the water. They say they need the water for the environment, to flow through the Delta and out to sea. But, they couldn't prove it to a judge.

This is the same science Congressmen Devin Nunes, David Valadao and Kevin McCarthy want to change with the legislation they introduced and got passed in the House of Representatives, and this is the same science Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer say is off the table for negotiation. If you want to beat these people you have to fight back. In case you haven't noticed, they're winning the public relations debate, even with bad science. They have people convinced the Delta will self-destruct if water flows to farms. They just can't prove it.


From the San Francisco Examiner:


The judge called one [scientist] a “zealot” who didn’t let facts get in the way of her goals and the other an “untrustworthy” witness.


A federal judge blasted Obama Administration-connected scientists on Friday for their lying to justify a drastic reduction in the amount of water that flows into California’s central valley for the sake of protecting “endangered” fish, according to a blogger for a major public-interest group that investigates government corruption.


The feds provided “equivocal or bad science,” in order to divert two years’ worth of water from the state’s central valley farmland, according to a 279-page opinion issued this week by U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger in Fresno, California.


Considered the state’s agriculture hub, the area spans 2 million acres and has a population of about 25 million, according to a report from the Judicial Watch blog.


"An adequate water supply is essential and should trump the needs of “endangered” fish. That’s not how the Obama Administration sees it, however," states a blog at Judicial Watch, a non-partisan watchdog group that investigates case of government and political corruption


To make its case the government put together an official “biological opinion” of different species that migrate through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. To save them the feds essentially have to stem the flow of water into the area, according to government biologists from various agencies.


But the judge dismissed portions of the government’s biological opinion, calling them “arbitrary, capricious and unlawful.”


Judge Wanger also determined that many of the government scientists provided “false” and “incredible” testimony in order to support a “bad faith” preservation plan. Specifically named in the opinion were scientists from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


The judge called one [scientist] a “zealot” who didn’t let facts get in the way of her goals and the other an “untrustworthy” witness.


"I have never seen anything like what has been placed before this court by these two witnesses," the judge wrote in his ruling. "The only inference that the court can draw is that it is an attempt to mislead and to deceive the court."


That must hurt, although the Obama government got much of what it wanted, permission to push encroaching salt water back in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.


The bottom line remains, however, that taxpayer-funded scientists provided false information -- to a federal court, no less -- to make a case for a bogus preservation plan.


From the Los Angeles Times:

Wanger let loose an uncharacteristic harangue, declaring the testimony of federal biologists Frederick Feyrer and Jennifer Norris so contradictory and inconsistent that it amounted to deliberate deception and "bad faith" on the part of the Interior Department.

"I've never seen anything like it," he said repeatedly, calling Norris, an assistant field supervisor in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's delta office, a "zealot" who was "incredible as a witness."

"And I am going to make a very clear and explicit record to support that finding of agency bad faith because, candidly, the only inference that the court can draw is that it is an attempt to mislead and to deceive the Court into accepting what is not only not the best science, it's not science," he added.

From Families Protecting the Valley Newsletter, January, 2012:

"In response to the judge's accusations, the Fish and Wildlife Service hired Resolve, a Washington D.C. firm that describes itself as "a neutral, third-party in policy decision-making” according to the article below.

If we told you the President of Resolve is the former Executive Director of GreenpeaceUSA, you might have some doubts about how neutral they would be. Not suprisingly they found no evidence of misconduct."

From the Stockton Record:

One of the Delta smelt scientists so sharply criticized by former federal judge Oliver Wanger has received an in-house award for her work on the contested biological opinion.


Jennifer Norris last month was given the Star Award from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Southwest Regional Manager Ren Lohoefener, along with fish biologist Matt Nobriga.


The announcement makes no reference to the controversy, though it does mention that Norris and Nobriga both testified before Wanger and "performed outstandingly while working under intense pressure."


 

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