Trump administration flushes endangered fish protections down the drain to boost Big Ag

Credit: Peter Johnsen/USFWS

California’s fish and waterways are taking another hit from the Trump administration. Just weeks after the U.S. Department of the Interior moved to raise the height of the already massive Shasta Dam to divert more water to agriculture (and away from the endangered fish populations that need it), the agency proposed nixing endangered species protections for a threatened California fish, the delta smelt, in order to withdraw more water from the San Francisco Bay Delta. Ever since the Bush administration strengthened protections for the species in 2008, the small silver delta smelt been a longtime enemy of Big Ag, including the largest agricultural water district in the country, Westlands Water District. That organization, by the way, used to employ Interior Secretary David Bernhardt as a lobbyist. But this isn’t just about Bernhardt’s questionable ethics and the delta smelt: The Trump administration simultaneously weakened protections for Chinook salmon, steelhead, and killer whales protected under the Endangered Species Act. 

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