Congressman: Delta Fish a “Worthless Little Worm”

Peter Johnsen, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Photo: Peter Johnsen, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

In hearings by the House Energy & Commerce Subcommitee today, Rep. George Radanovich (R-Fresno) called the Delta smelt “a worthless little worm that needs to go the way of the dinosaur.” He made the remark as part of a five-minute attack on “environmental alarmism,” in response to testimony from former vice-president Al Gore, founder of the Alliance for Climate Protection.

The tiny fish, recently listed by the state Fish & Game Commission as “endangered,” came up in remarks by Radanovich about the current drought conditions in the Central Valley. He blamed the lack of water on lawsuits that have restricted water supplies to farms, “for a Delta smelt–a worthless little worm that needs to go the way of the dinosaur. They’ve shut pumps down and restricted water deliveries to California over that thing, when what’s eating it is a striped bass, a non-native species in the Delta.”

Radanovich rejected the possibility that climate change might be a player in the current drought. Instead he took aim at what he described as “collaboration between environmentalists and sport fishermen,” blaming that for slashed water allocations to farms, as many as 60,000 job losses and “a $6 billion-dollar hit to our economy.”

“That is not global warming,” he said. ” “It’s the result of bad policy caused by environmental alarmism.”

Joining Gore among the 21 witnesses before the subcommittee on Day 4 of the climate bill hearings was UC Davis professor Dan Sperling (.pdf link), who had just come from a marathon hearing before the California Air Resources Board. Last evening the Air Board approved the first-ever Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, as part of it’s plan to reduce greenhouse gases.