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Tribunal Considers Rights of Nature in Imperiled San Francisco Bay-Delta

Thank you Dan Bacher and Daily Kos, Monday May 02, 2016, 8:48 AM PDT, for this article.

Photo by Dan Bacher

Gary Mulcahy, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, one of the judges of the tribunal, asked a question of witness Roger Mammon. Photo by Dan Bacher.

Many people have opined about Governor Jerry Brown’s environmentally devastating Delta Tunnels Plan, but nobody, including the Brown and Obama administrations promoting the project, have asked the alleged “beneficiary” of this plan — the San Francisco Bay-Delta Ecosystem – what the estuary has to say about the tunnels.

That all changed on April 30, 2016, when a panel of judges convened in Antioch to consider the question: “What would the San Francisco Bay-Delta  Ecosystem say?”  when examining a case brought before them in the first-ever Bay Area Rights of Nature Tribunal. The event was based on an international rights of nature tribunal held in Paris during the Paris Climate Talks last December.

The rights of nature have been inherent from the beginning of time,” said Gary Mulcahy, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, one of the tribunal judges. “We need to get rid of the concept of dominion over the Earth. We — the salmon, the water, the trees, the spiders — are all one thing. The more pieces you take from the whole, the closer you come to becoming extinct. Just like the salmon that my people depended upon.”

The Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance, Restore the Delta, and Move to Amend held their “Rights of Nature Tribunal” regarding Governor Brown’s proposed Delta Tunnels proposal, recently renamed the California Water Fix, at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center in Antioch, in the heart of the West Delta, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.

The tribunal took place at a critical time for the Delta, its fish and wildlife, and its people.

“The San Francisco Bay-Delta lies polluted and suffering in a state of perpetual, human-made drought,” according to a statement from the three groups. “An estimated 95 percent of the historic Delta natural habitat has been lost. Between 2.1 million to 6.9 million acre-feet of water is exported from the Delta every year. Numerous Delta species face extinction, including the Delta Smelt and Winter-run Chinook Salmon. Marine species that depend on Delta fish for food, such as the Southern Resident Killer Whale, are also imperiled by failing Bay-Delta ecological health.”

Read the full article at  Tribunal Considers Rights of Nature in Imperiled San Francisco Bay-Delta