Chuck Frank


An aerial photo released Saturday by the California Department of Water Resources shows the damaged spillway with eroded hillside in Oroville, Calif.     William Croyle/California Department of Water Resources via AP

During the first part of this month, there have been environmental concerns over fish that are trapped in pools which then alerted two federal agencies, namely, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting that the repair on the Oroville Dam be scaled back in order to protect threatened fish.

Yes, it’s the same old song being sung by enviro politicos who now place even fish above the safety of the people who live below the tallest dam in America. After 100,000 plus people were already evacuated last month and are now living in harms way since returning to their homes, fish are still a greater concern than repairing a damaged dam in a timely manner over the safety and welfare of the people? What next, will flora and fauna be added to the fish list?

Consequently this prompted water associations and farming organizations to send a letter asking the U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to relax the regulatory rules to allow the dam repairs to be conducted in an expedient manner. So now even a dam repair that threatens up to 200,000 people lies in the balance while regulators debate the pros and cons of a few “poor” fish that need a home?

However, further assessing the situation, there was no mention of the thousands of fish that were purposely eradicated beginning in 2008with a program that began when the Fish and Wildlife agency chose to save “threatened” frogs and toads over a harmless trout that swam in numerous streams and lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. How was that done? It was accomplished through electrocution and by poisoning the water.


A million acres were designated for Mr. toad and Ms. frog. Yet, how “scientific” was the study and did the Fish and Wildlife agency listen to the hundreds of people who went to the hearings that said NO to the plan? The event which included a talk by U.S. Representative Tom McClintock, who referred to the lackluster study as “junk science.”

But getting back to the Oroville dam issue, the NOAA isn’t quite as credible and lily white as we would hope it to be.

Back in September of 2010, the NOAA had a paper shredding party which took place before the U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke decided to go on a “fishing expedition” while exposing the federal agency which was having a field day with the spoils of Asset Forfeiture which also included proceeds from the sale of seized fish and vessels. It was to pay for “expenses” directly with regard to NOAA  investigations and related to civil or criminal enforcement proceedings.

But let’s not forget the fines and the mega slush fund which came under great scrutiny from the Inspector General. In addition, the review of the NOAA agency and law enforcement cases went as far back as back as 2001.

As Locke put it, “The problems identified by the Inspector General are unacceptable and were allowed to persist for too long and will end on my watch. We are taking the steps needed to make fisheries enforcement accountable and transparent.”
With that said, I would hope that under the new leadership within some of these federal agencies and with our current President, that higher standards and credibility will be brought back into the fold, but when one already sees what is transpiring with the latest letter writing campaign and the NOAA along with their sister agency the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), I am already getting nervous.

In summary:

The grand expansion of many of the U.S. federal agencies, along with their web of power, fuels the likelihood of continued, and extreme bias, while at the same time, major corruption in these numerous agencies has yet to have been fully flushed out.