2009 Scorecard Vote
The Bay-Delta Estuary is the largest estuary on the West Coast. It is an ecosystem that supports an important array of species including listed salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and smelt populations. In recent years, the Delta ecosystem has been on the verge of collapse. Water diversions from the Delta have depressed salmon numbers and resulted in the closure of the salmon fishery for the last two years. This has caused an economic disaster along hundreds of miles of the Pacific Coast, with estimated losses in California of $2.8 billion and 23,000 jobs in the commercial and recreational fishing industries in 2008 and 2009.
During consideration of FY 2010 Interior-Environment appropriations bill, Senator James DeMint (R-SC) introduced an amendment to instruct the Senate Appropriations Committee to prohibit funding for court-mandated protections, or a biological opinion, for the California Bay Delta Estuary and for the threatened and endangered species that depend on the estuary. The amendment would have also threatened thousands of fishing jobs.
Implementation of these protections is critical to restoring the health of the Bay Delta ecosystem and sustaining California's sport and commercial salmon fishery. The biological opinion is the result of several years of consultation with state and federal agencies and has undergone two separate peer review studies.
On September 22, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) offered a motion to table the DeMint amendment. The motion was passed by a vote of 61-36 (Senate roll call vote 292). YES IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE.