Temp Flat Reality
If you want to fight for Temperance Flat you better make a career out of it.
May 05, 2018
Temp Flat was never going to happen. The fix was in before these California Water Commission hearings ever started, even before the election that passed Prop 1 in 2014. The first clue was the endorsement of Prop 1 by the NRDC(Natural Resources Defense Council) in October before the election where they told anyone who cared to listen that "Prop 1 is not earmarked for new dams. Critics cite concerns about funding for surface and groundwater storage, but this simply isn’t the case. Even the Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, and other newspapers have noted as much in their editorials endorsing Prop 1." Some of the people fighting for Temperance Flat knew this but decided to fight for it anyway hoping they could convince the Water Commission to do otherwise in their appeals. We now know how that worked.
The environmental community isn't stupid as many people in the Central Valley would like to believe. They are many steps ahead in this chess game for building dams and reservoirs. They are unequivocally opposed to all these big projects and spend much of their time making sure they don't happen. They're not like farmers who farm all day and try to fight these political battles in their spare time, or by donating to politicians who they hope will be able to prevail.
How are environmentalists ahead in this chess game? They had a plan to keep this dam from ever being built, but just in case they lost the dam battle they had a plan to get most of the water behind it to benefit the environment just in case it was built. The fight for the water was fought long ago and that's why the proponents of the dam had to show all the 'public benefits' it would bring to qualify for public money. None of those 'public benefits' had anything to do with farming. To get the Prop 1 money you had to prove the water wouldn't be used for farming.
Another backup plan is still being pursued. That's to name the section of the San Joaquin River where the dam would be built Wild and Scenic. This isn't just to let tourists know how beautiful it is, but rather is a designation that prohibits any and all development on that section of the river, meaning there would never be a dam. This is the same strategy they are using to halt the raising ot Shasta Dam and the Exchequer Dam on the Merced River. Raising these dams would inundate a small section of the rivers feeding into them which violates the terms of Wild and Scenic rivers.
Another backup plan is endless lawsuits. If somehow you managed to overcome all these hurdles, they would lawsuit you to death, literally. If you want to fight for Temperance Flat you better make a career out of it. That's what the environmentalists do. They are full time paid attorneys funded by people who donate to environmental groups.
There you have it. We still applaud anyone who wants to get into the arena to fight this battle, but realize what the fight is and what it will take to win. As they say, politics isn't bean bag.
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