Consequences: The green lobby assured everyone it knew what it was doing when it got a judge to cut water to Central Valley farmers to save the delta smelt. But while the Valley economy is now ruined, it hasn't helped the smelt.
Some day, environmental radicals will be held accountable for crimes against the ecosystem — the human ecosystem.
Back in 2007, they convinced federal Judge Oliver Wanger to rule that the Endangered Species Act gave the federal government the right to cut water to thousands of farmers in California's Central Valley to protect a 3-inch baitfish called the delta smelt.
That ruling turned many of the Valley's prized vineyards and almond groves into wastelands. Jobs were lost, family farms were shut, fields went fallow and food prices rose.
But there's been just one problem with this overreaching of the law: Cutting off water didn't save the smelt.
A draft of a new study from the Delta Stewardship Council shows the water cutoffs had no effect on the smelt. The smelt remains endangered even as farmers have been punished with a policy that cut off as much as 90% of their water.
"Environmentalists claimed the sky was falling in Delta, and the only way to save smelt was to flush more fresh water to the ocean," said Andrew House, spokesman for Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. "So they embarked upon a narrow path of diverting water from (San Joaquin Valley) farmers by using science to confirm their predetermined assessment of what was going on."
But it didn't work. Similar evidence is now coming out from the Pacific Northwest stating that shutting down the logging industry never did save the spotted owl.