from the Congress Action newsletter
by: Kim Weissman
July 22, 2001
That sentiment is the guiding principle of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT – pronounced vehement)(http://www.vhemt.org/ see below) It is also the theme of environmentalists who view humans as the implacable enemies of nature (rather than being part of nature), and now the United States Senate appears to have taken up the cause.
In 1998, a federal judge ruled that endangered fish outrank farmers in claiming irrigation water in the Klamath Basin bordering Oregon and California. In April, 2001, the Bureau of Reclamation decided to shut off irrigation water to 200,000 acres of farmland in the Klamath Basin, claiming that endangered shortnosed suckerfish in Upper Klamath Lake needed the water instead. The result — about 1500 farms in the Klamath Basin on the verge of extinction.
On Thursday, July 12, the U.S. Senate voted (52-48) to table Senate Amendment # 899 offered by Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR), to H.R.2217, the Department of the Interior Appropriations Act. Smith's amendment would have directed the Fish and Wildlife Service to undertake further studies of the needs of the suckerfish, and to re-institute water use policies in place during past droughts: "What I propose to do today is to try to go back to a biological opinion that was in place just last April that would have permitted this drought to be managed as were the droughts in 1992 and in 1994, in which the suckerfish survived, as did the agricultural community around it." To make matters worse, there is mounting evidence that the "flow augmentation" theory behind the water diversion is itself invalid — junk science.
One of the ironies of what Senator Smith calls this "rural cleansing" are the targets of that cleansing — the farmers of the Klamath Basin. Many of them are the very people that our nation is in a sudden frenzy to honor — the veterans of World War Two and their families. Tom Hanks is doing commercials to drum up money to build a memorial in Washington to the World War Two generation. Media bigshot Tom Brokaw honors them in a popular book called The Greatest Generation.
Building monuments, writing books, and spewing hot air is one thing, but actually allowing those families to continue their livelihoods is something else entirely. When it came right down to it, the members of that "greatest generation" who live in the Klamath Basin took a back seat to shortnosed suckerfish. Smith made that point when he introduced his amendment on the Senate floor:
The politicians were happy to throw $20 million in drought relief funds (covering one-tenth of the estimated losses) to the farmers — expanding government dependency instead of allowing the farmers to continue independently earning their living is all to the liking of the big government left. Senator Boxer (D-CA) justified her vote against the Smith amendment thus: "Taking the water from these fish and the needs of these species is not going to help the farmers now [the damage to this year's crops has already been done]. But economic relief will help them. … I happen to believe that we have the Endangered Species Act because we have to protect God's creatures." In Boxer's universe, God's creatures don't include humans. In the end, every Senate democrat but two (Conrad and Wyden) plus so-called independent Jeffords, along with republicans Specter, Chaffee, and Fitzgerald, voted against the farmers and in favor of the suckerfish. As for the farmers, here's Senator Smith again:
From the VHEMT web site TYSK found this on the main page:
Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.
23 jul 2001