Sally White: Save the fish – and the people

unarmored threespine stickleback
We read in the June 15 issue of The Signal that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife approved plans from the developers of Newhall Ranch to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect an endangered fish species.

I found it heart-wrenching to know that there are people in Sacramento, whose salaries are paid for by my taxes, who have a higher regard for the life of a species of fish than they do for us humans living in the Santa Clarita Valley!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I fully and completely support the protection of all life on this planet, as we are all part of a unique and wonderful whole and must live together and care for and protect each other.

This responsibility is part of the divine covenant we share with our maker. That is why it is so upsetting to realize that there are those who, while they care for the stickleback, do not care about the people.

I know there are some who get along better with animals than with humans – and those who do not like animals, as well.

However, the folks in Sacramento, who perpetrated this unfortunate decision upon all of us living in this valley, do not realize, understand, or perhaps don’t care about what the approval of the EIR for some 21,000 more homes to be built in our area will do to us.

These are the things that they have, apparently, not thought through:
• Although you cannot necessarily see the air now, as you could when I moved here in 1968, Santa Clarita still has very bad air quality.

Within the past two weeks or so, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued several warnings that the air in the Santa Clarita Valley was unhealthy for all people, and on other days, the air is unhealthy for sensitive people, particularly children and older adults and those with respiratory and related illnesses.

If you are interested in knowing the quality of our air on a daily basis, you can sign up to receive this daily information online at
• One of the claims of the Newhall Ranch is that it will have “zero-impact” on greenhouse gasses in the environment. This will be accomplished through the use of “carbon offsets” – that is “buying the ability to pollute through a trade that funds projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These projects might restore forests, update power plants and factories or increase the energy efficiency of buildings and transportation.”

Ergo, the carbon-offsets trades by Newhall Land might be sold to fund a worthwhile project in Africa, for example. This will help the planet as a whole, which is important, but will be very detrimental to all of us living in the Santa Clarita Valley.
• Another dilemma that will surely result from adding 60,000 or 70,000 people to this area is further congestion on the freeways. Already, overcrowding on freeways used to get to and from work, school and other activities cause transportation to take twice as long as it should, were there a reasonable traffic flow.

Why is this so bad? Because it reduces the quality of life for everyone. Hours spent on the freeway lead to less quality family time, daily irritability, often to ill health, and they put stringent limitations on the time available to enjoy the lifestyle that one expects when moving to this area. It reduces the time available to live!

So there we have the conundrum. Why was marvelous, thoughtful consideration given to the stickleback? Bravo: they are an important part of the whole, planetary scheme of living things, of which we are all a part. We do not want to lose the stickleback.

But shouldn’t the humans living here be shown as much consideration? We are at least important, not necessarily more important. The folks up in Sacramento have spoken, not wisely, but with some power. We all need to cry out at this injustice that will affect us all if we are unable to put closure on this potentially very harmful and damaging project.


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