As I pointed out in an earlier post, Pombo sent out a flyer, call it the "Liar Flyer", that cravenly used the deaths of three people in a flood to promote his radical, right-wing, anti-environmental agenda. Maybe "cravenly" is the wrong word, but how about "shamelessly exploiting someone else's tragedy for your own personal gain". There must be a word for that, and, if so, it most certainly describes just how low Pombo will stoop to promote his distorted views.
Those of us in the "reality-based world" prefer to use something called "facts" and "truth". You have to wonder just how weak his arguments are for destroying our environmental safeguards that he has to resort to blatant distortions and lies whenever he attacks these laws.
Previous post "Elderberry Whine"
Here is the McCloskey Press Release on this today:
For Immediate Release: May 11, 2006
Contact: John McManus 209-463-1200
Congressman Pombo Misstates Truth Of Cause of Levee Break
Lodi CA - Congressman Richard Pombo has just mailed a four-page colored brochure to his constituents that attempts to justify his efforts to amend the Endangered Species Act. The message is simple: “Three people lost their lives because of a bush that is not endangered.” This message is untrue.
Pombo refers to a tragic levee break that occurred on the Feather River south of Yuba City and Marysville in January 1997, but falsely attributes the cause of the break to the presence of elderberry bushes on the levee upstream.
The elderberry bush provides sustenance to the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle which used to thrive along the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers, but which was placed on the Endangered Species list in 1980.
The claim made by Pombo that the elderberry bush was responsible for the levee break has been refuted by the very farmer whose lands were flooded in this tragedy, by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and by a committee of the California Legislature which conducted a thorough investigation of the levee failure.
The levee break occurred well below the location of the elderberry bushes on a specific segment of the levee that had a long history of problems and repairs - basically because it had been constructed entirely of sand. In fact, the break occurred at precisely the point where the levee had been repaired in 1989.
Pombo adds to his deception with the statement “Ironically, the Federal government is spending millions of dollars to eradicate Longhorn beetles in other states where they have been deemed destructive pests.” This statement too is very misleading. There is a non-native species of Longhorn beetle that has unfortunately made its way into this country from Asia which is causing problems in other parts of the country. But the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle poses no threat to agriculture and is found only in California. It alone receives the protections of the Endangered Species Act, not the non-native pest.
Furthermore, the Endangered Species Act as it currently exists has a provision that permits levee repairs in emergency situations. So here too Pombo is misleading in suggesting that the Endangered Species Act inhibits emergency repairs. This is not the first time that Pombo has misled in his quest to destroy, rather than reform, the Endangered Species Act.
On July 19, 1994, he testified as follows to a Senate subcommittee:
Pombo: "In 1986, the Federal government declared my land critical habitat for the San Joaquin kit fox. This action effectively stripped my property of its value and forced my family to operate our ranch with an unwanted, unneeded, un-silent partner, the federal government."
This testimony was patently false. In fact no critical habitat had ever been declared for the kit fox anywhere in California, let alone on Mr. Pombo’s ranch.
On May 25, 1995, Pombo was confronted with his misstatements by a reporter from the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour:
Reporter: To what extent have you been affected by the declaration of a critical habitat in your own life?
Pombo: “I personally have not been directly affected by it in, in my own, in my own property or the ranches that we have."
In other words, he admitted he gave false testimony before the US Senate. Will Pombo admit that he misstated the cause of the 1997 levee break, this time in the brochure he just mailed to the voters of the district? Will he admit that the three people who tragically died in 1997 along the Feather River did NOT die “because of a bush that is not endangered?”
One of California’s historic jury instructions admonishes the jury: “If you decide that a witness has deliberately testified untruthfully about something important, you may choose not to believe anything that witness said.”