Wine Industry’s Profits Threatened by Fish Protection
Grape growers are the 800-pound gorilla of Napa and Sonoma Counties in northern California. Just as large corporations have a scrotal grip on Congress, local legislators and supervisors in Napa/Sonoma Counties have their nutsacks in the iron grip of the wine industry.
What the wine industry wants, it gets. Period.
If you have a well that just went dry because a local vineyard sucked up all the water, tough shit.
If certain non-native insect pests are found in the area, everything for miles around will be sprayed with pesticides. Don’t want your house, yard, family members and pets to be coated with poison? Tough. What’re you gonna do about it?
And now the latest target in the grape growers’ crosshairs — those F$#!%&$# fish in the local rivers and the meddling bureaucrats who insist on protecting them.
In order to protect the endangered Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout, a regulation has been proposed which would limit the amount of water that vineyards can pump out of the local rivers. If this law is approved, vineyard owners will need approval from the State Water Board before they can pump water from the Russian River and other local rivers.
I don’t know anything about the State Water Board, but I sure hope they’re less of a fox-guarding-the-henhouse than some of the local water agencies. In Sonoma County — where I lived until 2004 — the Board of Supervisors and the county water agency are the exact same people. Not overlapping — the same. Identical.
The five county supervisors stand up, turn around, put a different hat on, turn around again and — Presto! — Hi, we’re the water agency.
And this agency just loves to sell jillions of acre feet of Russian River water to neighboring Marin County, while knowing full well that the flow into the Russian River, from the Eel River, has been reduced. Connect the God Damn Dots!
Anyway, let’s hope federal and state regulators and the State Water Board will start protecting endangered fish. 2011 is the earliest this law could take effect.
In Sonoma County, thousands of orchards and crop fields have been plowed up and replaced by vineyards. Consequently the local wine industry is “too big to fail.” Let ‘em fail, if that’s what it takes to save wildlife.