Stephen Bechtel Jr. Funds Peripheral Canal Report!
By Dan Bacher, publisher of the Fish Sniffer
July 19, 2008. The people and foundations who fund "scientific" reports and studies often reveal what is the real agenda behind the publishing of any document.
A new Public Policy Institute (PPIC) report recommending the construction of a peripheral canal on the California Delta, "Comparing Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta," was released yesterday with wild acclamation by the Governor and the state's water contractors, since it "scientifically" justifies the destruction of the West Coast's largest estuary by building a canal.
Little noticed in the media reports was where the funding came from. According to the PPIC's press release: "The new report, Comparing Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, builds on the findings of a 2007 PPIC study by the same team, which concluded that the need for a new Delta strategy is urgent. The new report was funded in part by Stephen D. Bechtel Jr. and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation."
Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. (born 1925) is, with his son Riley, co-owner of the Bechtel Corporation. He is the son of Stephen David Bechtel, Sr. and grandson of Warren A. Bechtel who founded the Bechtel Corporation, the world's largest engineering firm.
Bechtel Corporation, one of the world's largest engineering and construction firms that is instrumental in the "reconstruction" of Iraq, is a leading advocate throughout the world of the privatization of water systems. It was Bechtel that sued the country of Bolivia for canceling a contract there sponsored by the World Bank.
A CorpWatch report, "Profiting from Destruction," provides case studies from Bechtel's history of operating in the water, nuclear, energy and public works sectors. These case studies reveal a legacy of unsustainable and destructive practices that have reaped permanent human, environmental and community devastation around the globe. Letters from "Bechtel affected communities" included in the report provide first-hand descriptions of these impacts, from Bolivia to Native American lands in Nevada. The report reveals a 100-year history spent capitalizing on the most brutal technologies, reaping immense profits and ignoring the social and environmental costs. For more information, go to http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=6975
Another CorpWatch report, http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=6670, details "Bechtel's Water Wars" in Bolivia. Fortunately, the people of Cochabama rebelled against Bechtel's scheme to privatize their water system and won.
The role of Stephen Bechtel, Jr. in funding the PPIC report must be exposed. Are the scientists who authored this report aware of Bechtel's record of devastation across the globe? And will Bechtel profit from the destruction of the California Delta fish, farms and people if a peripheral canal is built? These are both questions that must be asked!
Central Valley chinook salmon and Delta fish populations are in a state of collapse, largely due to massive increases in water exports from the Delta in recent years. A broad coalition of recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, Delta farmers, Indian Tribes and environmentalists is opposed to the peripheral canal because it would result in the diversion of more water from the Delta and further exacerbate the current fishery collapses.
The PPIC report amounts to being an "elaborate sales brochure" for the peripheral canal, quipped Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. I completely agree, especially when you consider who is funding the report!