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Valadao Pressures U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Delta Smelt Status

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Washington, June 16, 2015 | Anna R. Vetter ((202) 815-1685) | comments
On June 16, 2015, Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) introduced an Amendment to hold the United States Fish and Wildlife Service accountable.
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On Tuesday, June 16, 2015, during the House Appropriations Committee Markup of the 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill, Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) introduced an Amendment to hold the United States Fish and Wildlife Service accountable.

For more than a decade, the Delta Smelt has been listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to prove that efforts to save the species are effective or identify the cause of population decline.

Despite their inability to establish a cause, billions of gallons of water are routinely diverted into the ocean instead of going to those in desperate need of water during this historic drought.

Every five years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required by the ESA to submit a review on the status of each and every “threatened” species including the Delta Smelt. These reports are intended to provide updated information on the biology, distribution, conservation efforts, and new scientific findings and methods related to the recovery plan of the threatened species.

The last Status Review on the Delta Smelt was completed in 2010, with a new study being required by the completion of the year 2015. Despite this approaching deadline, Fish and Wildlife Services have not yet begun the reporting process.

Congressman Valadao stated, “Even though the Recovery Plan for the Delta Smelt hasn’t been updated since 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has no problem using outdated science to justify pumping billions of gallons of water out to the ocean. Its bad enough that the government is prioritizing the needs of fish over people, but it is absolutely outrageous that they are doing so without any current scientific justification whatsoever.”  

Mr. Valadao’s amendment directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete the Five Year Review on the status of the Delta Smelt on time. The Amendment also requests that the report include population trends of the small fish. 

Rep. Valadao concluded, “My constituents are suffering – our entire State is suffering. We cannot continue to prioritize the hypothetical needs of a small baitfish over the needs of people. Common sense and transparency are crucial to combatting government overreach and water diversion.”  

The Valadao Amendment to the 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill passed through the House Appropriations Committee with bipartisan support.

The full text of the Amendment can be found here

Congressman David G. Valadao represents the 21st Congressional District, which includes Kings County and portions of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties.

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U.S. Congressman David G. Valadao

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