Sunday, December 12, 2010

US governors from western states debate water laws

Cristina Silva in the Daily Democrat via Associated Press: Should thirsty California be allowed to drink from Wyoming's plentiful water bowl? If so, how big of a sip should the Golden State get? And who decides how much needs to be set aside for future Wyomingites? Governors from across the West sparred over water and how to make sure everyone is getting their fair share Tuesday during a policy conference designed to drive consensus.

Federal experts urged state leaders to weigh water needs over water wants, while state leaders pleaded for less federal oversight and new flexibility on water agreements that detail how much water states get from a limited pool of resources. "Clearly for those of us in the West, water is a very significant issue," said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, a Republican. "It's an emotional topic and sometimes so emotional that reasonable thought goes out the window."

The discussion opened the Western Governors Association's two-day conference in Las Vegas. Governors from 19 states, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands were invited. Water conservation and efficiency remained favorite solutions among government leaders eager to lap up the most use from fresh water sources.

…James Horne, Australia's deputy secretary for water, offered solutions from his homeland, where he said facilities in major cities help convert rain into usable water and farming communities thrive around efficient irrigation systems. "People have to stop thinking of it as a free good," Horne said. "We must recognize it as a scarce commodity and price it accordingly."

But Anne Castle, assistant secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior, said protecting the world's water supply from unnecessary growth could yield better results than simply urging people to turn off the sink. For example, she said government should weigh the projected water cost of any proposed development before approving construction….

Aerial view of Jackson Lake Dam on Jackson Lake in Teton County, Wyoming, US Bureau of Reclamation

1 comment:

Don M said...

The best time to have enacted ballast water legislation was in 2008 when h.r.2830 passed the House 395-7 at the beginning of the global economic crisis when ship traffic, that is needed in economic globalization was curtailed. Unfortunately this administration chose to delay meaningful legislation with another study for a still purposed military plan of 20 plus years.
Knowing a report prepared for Congress in 2009 stated that legislation calling for mandatory technology installation would increase the cost of foreign manufactured products, this administration made a conscious choice to not address the issue passing up the opportunity to again place America on a level playing field in manufacturing cost. Although some forms of economic globalization are inevitable and beneficial, globalization for economic reasons, at the expense of human health and the environment of future generations is nothing more than economic greed.
In the millennium report prepared for the army in 2005-2006 detailing the military role with the environment it is made clear that international treaties are often thwarted by foreign countries and economic interest. Environmental issues are also cited as the cause of military conflicts. Sadly they also detail the governments policy will be to continue to follow the international communities lead, because of interdependency with foreign economies.
This Administration Ocean initiatives policy states that all international treaties that have been ratified and those presently being adhered to will be honored. This means in its present form the ballast water provision in the International Law of the Sea treaty will apply for the waters of the United States at the Federal level. The millennium report also states that many problems exist with coastal countries and the provisions in international treaties.
Fortunate for the environment, is pressure being applied by the individual states of our country enacting their own laws as a results of this administrations failure and the pressure of environmentalist, technology is now available to address ballast water.
Unfortunately the continued failure of this administration to act with meaningful ballast water regulation has the shipping industry procrastinating on the economic investment to retrofit with technology quickly. As more shipping companies began to retrofit slowly the effect that logistics and cost would have to again create a cost competitive America will be forever lost, as human health and our environment continue suffering while waiting for an international solution or a purposed 20 year Coast Guard plan.
Our Great Lakes are also in danger from terrorist attacks using ballast systems according to Homeland Security as stated on their own web site.
Ships used exclusively on the Great Lakes should also be required for technology as it is now know from government studies that influenza, h1n1, bird flue, and mutations occur in FRESH water lakes and glacier and moved by birds. Ballast water should not facilitate this movement.