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The Madera Tribune

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Nixon’s bomb keeps exploding

July 17, 2017

One of the enduring legacies of the late, often lamented President Richard Nixon is still impacting the lives of California farmers four and a half decades later. The California resident left our agriculture community with a terrible gift that just keeps on giving.


“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed,” said Nixon upon signing the Endangered Species Act. It is ironic that he signed the ESA when his presidency was itself an endangered species. While this may appear to be a laudable sentiment from a POTUS whose administration was crumbling around his ears, it isn’t. 


The Watergate scandal forced him out of the presidency and he left the White House in disgrace just eight months later, resigning on Aug. 8, 1974.


“The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was signed on Dec. 28, 1973, and provides for the conservation of species that are endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of their range, and the conservation of the ecosystems on which they depend,” according to National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.


California surface water that by all rights should belong to the growing of food in the nation’s fruit and vegetable basket of California is allowed to flow unchecked into the ocean in an unsuccessful attempt to benefit fish like the Delta Smelt and to a foolish effort to re-establish a salmon run that doesn’t exist and hasn’t for more than 60 years. Ironically, they are trying to save the salmon so they can be caught by fisherman. The current limit is two per day during salmon season in April. If these fish are so important to the environmental balance, why are they allowed to be caught at all?


The dams and canal systems that were built for the purpose of irrigation have been hijacked by the environmental lobby, its lawyers and a select group of politicians on their payroll. It would seem this group conspires to steal the water from the growers and the millions of people they feed.


Too many of the fertile lands in California went unplanted during the five-year drought. Water was too scarce to properly water orchards and vineyards.


The spotted and barred owls are an endangered species whose protection has plagued the lumber industry since the 1990s. Owls are said to be essential to the ecological balance because of all the predatory insects they eat. A local effort is cultivating the repopulation of owls in Madera. There are bright red signs placed in various places in Madera that read “Owl Boxes.” Every time I see one of those signs, I have to laugh because I hear the words in my head “Owls sold separately.”


Why some owls are protected and others aren’t make no sense to me. If the spotted and barred owls are in such desperate need of protecting why isn’t someone funding their owl hatcheries? If they are so fragile they can’t be raised in captivity it could be time for them to die out.


The same can be said for the Delta Smelt.


No one is interested in controlling human overpopulation yet growing food to feed the masses is less important than the fish and birds.


On the first day of the year in 1970, the United States implemented the National Environmental Protection Act. This occurred just nine months before the first Earth Day, held April 22, 1970. According to earthday.org this launched the modern-era environmental movement in an effort to channel the passions of the Vietnam antiwar movement towards protecting what became known as Mother Earth.


On the theory that failure to protect the soil, water and air would render the planet uninhabitable for mankind.


This theme is a popular topic for science fiction stories, especially those about exploring other planets capable of supporting human life. These potentially habitable exoplanets have scientists opining that the Milky Way alone could contain 60 billion planets that would have liquid water, an important component in sustaining human life.


The phrase “Life can turn on a dime” means a situation changes direction very quickly, more or less instantaneously. The origin of the expression goes back to high performance cars, airplanes, boats. The ability to turn around on the smallest of coins implies that you can turn very quickly in a very small space.


The EPA and our country’s ability of agriculture to grow food domestically experiences this level of change frequently, increasing the price and thereby the availability of food to the entire nation.
It is ridiculous that certain plants, animals and fish matter more than the people who inhabit this country.

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