Ag today August 21, 2019

A report shows Trump’s water plan would hurt California salmon. The government hid it [Los Angeles Times]

Federal officials suppressed a lengthy environmental document that details how one of California’s unique salmon runs would be imperiled by Trump administration plans to deliver more water to Central Valley farms….Had the opinion been adopted and released, it would have interfered with efforts to ramp up irrigation deliveries to powerful California farm interests with ties to the Trump administration….Paul Souza, the regional U.S. Fish and Wildlife director who is coordinating work on the salmon opinion and a separate one for delta smelt that his agency is conducting, rejected claims that the July 1 assessment was suppressed. It was a draft that needed more work, he said.


Editorial: California’s species are in danger from Trump. Let’s save them [Los Angeles Times]


California has its own laws to protect endangered plants and animals from extinction, and they are more important than ever as the Trump administration weakens enforcement of the landmark federal Endangered Species Act. But those state protections will mean little without additional action in Sacramento, where the real issue is water….So some lawmakers proposed a simple and brilliant solution: Adopt as California law the level of protection that existed under federal law before Trump took office. A bill to do just that — Senate Bill 1 — is moving through the legislative process….California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said he might sue Trump to challenge the new Endangered Species Act rules, and that would be fine with us. But the Legislature could do more, sooner, by sending SB 1 to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.


Opinion: Sacramento’s misguided attempt to freeze time [Southern California News Group]

It’s bad enough that California’s state government is suing the federal government over nearly everything that President Trump does, but now it’s trying to get Californians to sue each other over everything Trump does. That’s what Senate Bill 1, set for a hearing today in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, would do. Sweepingly titled the California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019, SB1 aims to freeze time at the moment President Obama last occupied the Oval Office….To enforce this regulatory system, the law creates a new private right of action. That means anybody can file a lawsuit to force enforcement.


State appoints working group to help growers transition away from harmful chlorpyrifos [Valley Public Radio, Fresno]

Last week, the State of California took its first steps to fully ban the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos that can cause neurological problems and developmental delays in children. The ban means, however, that growers have to find alternatives for managing insects. Finding those alternatives is the goal of a new statewide group that includes members of the San Joaquin Valley agriculture community….Those solutions might include combinations of other pesticides to help protect the dozens of crops on which chlorpyrifos is still widely used, including tree nuts, citrus, grapes and cotton.


Lobster tail and fine wine: How California county fair workers misused taxpayer money [Sacramento Bee]

California county fair employees used their employer’s credit cards to spend tens of thousands of dollars on unauthorized travel, lavish meals and alcohol, according to a newly released report from the State Auditor’s Office….The auditor’s report did not name the district agricultural association where state money was misused….The audit contends that the CEO and the association’s nine-member governing board failed to provide proper oversight of association employees, “and in some instances, they either directly engaged in or approved of improper activities.”


Japan, U.S. ministers meet for trade talks as hopes for early deal fade [REUTERS]

Japan and the United States will seek to narrow gaps on trade when their top negotiators meet this week, but hopes for a deal in September are fading as both sides fail to make concessions on agriculture and automobiles, sources say….As separate trade talks with China and Europe have made little headway, Trump is keen to clinch an early deal with Japan that would open up its politically sensitive agriculture sector, as well as curbing Japan’s U.S.-bound auto exports….But progress toward reaching a deal has been slow, Japanese government officials with knowledge of the negotiations say.