Federal Officials Suppress Report Detailing Risk to Fish Species from Trump Administration’s California Irrigation Plan

Silencing Science Tracker

Federal Officials Suppress Report Detailing Risk to Fish Species from Trump Administration’s California Irrigation Plan

On August 21, 2019 the Los Angeles Times reported that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (an agency of the Department of the Interior) suppressed a 1,123 page report which detailed how President Trump’s plan to divert water to farms in California’s Central Valley would impact the state’s salmon runs.

The July 1, 2019 report (which was later obtained by the Los Angeles Times) was never released and, two days after the scientists submitted the review, a regional fisheries official pulled it and assembled a new group of scientists to revise the report. In the original report, the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that the proposed changes to water operations would have a devastating impact on several species protected by the Endangered Species Act including chinook salmon, steelhead trout and killer whales. The plan would likely cause extinction of winter-run chinook salmon, which is one of the nine most endangered fish (of 165) currently protected by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Sources told the Los Angeles Times that the decision to revise the report is “unquestionably an effort to subvert the best available science,” and that “[l]iterally before our eyes, we’re seeing science suppressed by monied political interests.” The regional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services director coordinating work on the salmon report rejected these claims, and stated that it was a draft that needed more work and they continue to work with scientists and leaders in Sacramento to conserve fisheries while also meeting water supply needs.

However, the Times also points out that the California agricultural industry is a strong ally of the Trump administration and that the irrigation district that stands to benefit most from the plans to divert more water, the Wetlands Water District, is a former lobbying client of now-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

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  • Jeff Diver says:

    Thank you for your report! It is difficult to keep up with all of the moves Trump is making to foul our environment and dismantle the government agencies that provide services to Americans. We are doing our best on http://www.dirtydonniesreportcard.com and appreciate the assistance of Silencing Science Tracker with our online project.

  • Stanley says:

    How very similar this president’s behavior is with regard to censorship of truth and science to that of Hitler’s Nazi/Fascist Germany leading up to World War II

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