By Dan Bacher, IndyBay
January 11, 2010
On January 10, Melissa Miller-Henson from the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative sent a message to the "north coast community" regarding the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck the Eureka area Saturday. The quake damaged homes and businesses, toppled chimneys, knocked out traffic signals, snapped power lines and left a trail of broken windows, dishes and bottles.
"The MLPA Initiative staff would like to extend our deepest and most heartfelt wishes to those living in the Eureka area," the MLPA I-Team stated. "It has been a relief to hear from news reports that there were no fatalities and, overall, the region fared relatively well given the magnitude of the earthquake. May you and yours be safe and out of harms way."
That's nice that Miller-Henson and the MLPA "I-Team" are expressing their "deepest and most heartfelt wishes" to those living in the Eureka area. However, what would be even nicer if Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Secretary of Natural Resources and the MLPA "I-Team" would really help out the communities of the North Coast by immediately suspending the Governor's fast-track MLPA process.
In fact, if the Schwarzenegger administration is so concerned about the people recovering from the earthquake on the North Coast, they should cancel the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force set for this Wednesday, January 13 and Thursday, January 14, 2010 at the Elk Valley Rancheria Community Center in Crescent City!
The fast-track MLPA Initiative, a process infested with conflicts of interest, racism and corruption of the democratic process, is opposed by a broad coalition of environmentalists, fishermen, Indian Tribes and North Coast cities and communities.
On December 24, Secretary of Natural Resources Mike Chrisman turned down a request by a coalition of North Coast fishermen, tribes and local governments for more time to draft marine protected areas (MPAs), keeping the widely-contested process on Schwarzenegger's fast track. Chrisman rejected the request, sent by Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Commissioner Pat Higgins on behalf of the North Coast Local Interest MPA Workgroup, because he felt that an additional extension of the deadline is "unnecessary at this time."
"While I understand your concerns and have thoroughly considered the points you raised regarding the timeline and availability of information, I am confident that given that all that is available to you now, the current timeline provides ample opportunity for your group to submit a quality first-round draft array," said Chrisman, a Central Valley agribusinessman who has been an adamant proponent of the peripheral canal, more dams and the destruction of Central Valley salmon and Delta smelt populations.
Chrisman will retire from state "service" on February 1 to continue his career of corporate greenwashing at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. He will be replaced by Lester Snow, the Director of the Department of Water Resources. Hopefully, Snow will respond to the grassroots movement against the MLPA initiative and suspend this process.
Just as Schwarzenegger and his staff are fast-tracking the MLPA process to kick Indian Tribes, fishermen and seaweed harvesters off traditional areas on the ocean, they are relentlessly pushing for the construction of the peripheral canal and new dams and the gutting of Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley salmon and other fish species. There is nothing "green" about the MLPA process, since it aims to privatize ocean public trust resources to serve the interests of the oil industry, real estate companies, marina developers, water districts and corporate agribusiness.
As John Lewallen said so eloquently, "It is unconscionable for true environmentalists to participate in the MLPAI process of cultural genocide. May we Californians put a stop to the genocidal MLPAI, support Tribal Sovereignty, and emulate the sense of personal and cultural sovereignty of the tribal peoples of Northern California."