Thursday, August 20, 2009

PLF calls for 'God Squad'

The Pacific Legal Foundation has thrust the idea of a "God Squad" back into circulation. PLF sent a petition to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week urging him to ask the Obama administration to lift Endangered Species Act protections from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Under federal law, the president could accomplish this by convening an Endangered Species Committee, better known as a God Squad. It's a panel of cabinet-level officials who can override the ESA if circumstances appear to warrant it.

PLF, and the 12,000 people who signed the petition, say circumstances more than warrant it, with thousands of jobs lost and acres fallowed because of drought. 

Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), who introduced one of the five water bills now under consideration in the Capitol, has taken a leadership role on delta management. At a committee hearing on Tuesday, he offered this perspective:

"For those in the water-export community who believe that the world would be a better place if we just eliminated the Endangered Species Act and returned to the good old days of unimpeded pumping, I want to promise you that that will never happen. The federal courts are in control of our pumps. They will not loosen that hold until we come to grips with the fact that our existing water-delivery system is a killing machine that has to be unplugged."

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