The looming shutdown of the Colowyo Mine, the closure of nearly two million acres for the grouse, and suspending oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide all have one thing in common – it’s the result of legal action through WildEarth Guardians.
This Sierra Club spin-off is not “The Monkey Wrench Gang” envisioned by author Edward Abbey, who wrote about the fictional gang of merry misfits as they wrecked havoc through sabotage in misguided attempts to save the environment.
The Guardians are a high-powered law firm that pulls in more than $30 million a year, but enjoys stealing money from taxpayers by suing the federal government every chance it gets.
According to the Government Accountability Office, WildEarth Guardians raked in nearly $5 million for legal fees in a five-year period just for its lawsuits against the EPA.
Now, they have their greedy eyes on Colorado’s water with a plan to do to us, what they did to California.
By using the silvery minnow and Southwestern willow flycatcher in the same manner as they used the Delta Smelt in California – listing those as endangered species — WildEarth Guardians is demanding that Coloradans holding water rights for farming and ranching release their property rights so the water can be used for the environment.
Here’s how WildEarth described their actions in their 2014 financial report:
When you want to overcome the antiquated “Law of the River,” namely the 1938 Rio Grande Compact, which allocates the river’s water among states and nations and allows Colorado to divert over 90 percent of the flow in many years, you need to think creatively. That’s why we developed a partnership with two small farmers in southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley who have senior water rights that they want to lease, or possibly even sell, back to the river. It’s an increasingly common tactic that allows farmers to receive cash in exchange for their water. While our discussions haven’t yet resulted in water for the river, we are better positioned to overcome obstacles when the time is right. There are plenty of obstacles that stem from the Rio Grande Compact, especially a provision that prohibits states and individuals from allowing environmental flows to benefit the river.
If these two species are listed, there is no question Coloradans will watch their water flow right out of the state in the name of yet another bird, and a freaking minnow.
The man-made drought in the San Joaquin Valley that was created by the Delta Smelt listing has cost thousands of jobs, devastated the farming economy, caused a severe water shortage, and hasn’t helped that fish one damn bit.
Money gobbled up by the Guardians’ lawsuits could have been used to benefit threatened plants and animals, but the Endangered Species Act isn’t used for that anymore. It’s abused as a means to an end to block energy development, farming and ranching.
And, to make money.