A week earlier, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Schwarzenegger issued a press release announcing plans for a $9.3 billion ballot initiative designed to put "us on the path toward restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, expanding water supplies, and promoting conservation efforts."

At the same time, surveyors were placing notices on the doors of farmers who cultivate crops in the rich loam in the delta land north of San Francisco Bay. The surveyors were helping prepare for a new version of an old plan by which additional Sacramento River water would be pumped to thirsty Southern California. Why is this environmentally friendly? The Bechtel report says that economic benefits derived from taking more water from the delta could be used to pay for solving that ecosystem's problems.

So Feinstein and Schwarzenegger are prepared to argue that making it easier to pump millions more acre-feet of water from one of the world's most beautiful systems of wetlands, and sending it to the Southern California desert, is good for the environment.

If that sounds like selling off your organs in order to pay your medical bills, you're not alone.

"The bottom line is it will kill the fisheries," says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, campaign director for Restore the Delta, an environmental group. "You can't put a value on that."

Unless you're a chump.

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