Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Herring: Stop blaming the mussels. Solve the problem.

I met Neill Herring earlier this year at the state Capitol. He's an environmental lobbyist.

I found him to be extremely well informed every time he opened his mouth. He's coming from a certain place: He's a passionate environmentalist. But I trust him and I trust his logic.

He sent this out via email today and I'm printing it here:
Poor Atlanta Has a Head Cold. Therefore, Everyone Downstream Should Die of Pneumonia

The problem for Atlanta is an inadequate water supply.

That inadequacy is now apparent because a drought has made it plain enough for even Saxby Chambliss (or ___ ____ fill in the blank) to see that there is an inadequate water supply.

If you don't have enough money to meet all your expenses, you either find more money, or you reduce your expenses. For example, you will probably choose to pay your rent instead of going out to eat three times a day.

Editor's note: Isn't that a pretty typical conservative argument? That government needs to tighten it's belt, like a family would, instead of raising taxes. To continue:
What your landlord does with the money he gets from you for your rent may be as wasteful as it can be, but that fact is none of your business, nor is it an argument for lower rent to which anyone but you will pay any attention.

Atlanta needs to quit "eating out three times a day." That means, for water budgeting, in addition to stopping its wasting of water on thirsty landscapes, Atlanta needs to do four things: 1) Fix its leaking water pipes. 2) Set a price for water that discourages wasteful use of it. 3) Switch its one million obsolete high use plumbing fixtures. 4) Stop letting developers "save money" (for themselves, maybe, but certainly not for anyone else) by putting in new septic tanks in Metro, and get a program in place to put the existing Metro septic tank users on sewers, so that water will be in streams instead of in tanks in people's yards.

When all of that is done, then perhaps it will be time to worry about shellfish in Florida having too much water during droughts.

The people who are blaming shellfish in Florida for Atlanta's inadequate water supplies are the same people who have avoided doing any of the things listed above to increase the amount of water Atlanta has available, our elected officials.

Even if these leaders succeed in their perfectly mad project of killing every mussel and oyster between the GA line and the Gulf of Mexico, Atlanta will still be wasting water, and it will run out again, at the next drought, with no aquatic species to blame.

Atlanta can continue to grow, or Atlanta can stop wasting water, but it cannot do both.

Our Brilliant Federal Legislators Find a Solution--Perhaps next they will devise a Problem to Accompany it.

I would like to know where John Lewis thinks the south would be if Governors could set aside federal statutes in case of "emergencies.?"

I think this is a legitimate question. Any time these fools come up with this kind of stupid tinkering this is the sort of suggestion we see.

This bill says that we want to protect endangered species, as long as they are not actually endangered, but if they are in danger, then we dont really care all that much if it means car washes and commercial landscapers are inconvenienced.

Editor's note: Nice. And he's talking about this bill, in case you didn't know. He's not being literal in the next paragraph. That would be jumping the shark:
A similar attitude on other statutes would be welcome in some places. Homicide, for instance, should be prohibited, unless you really need to kill someone, and in such an emergency, it would be ok. Likewise theft.

Finding More Water for Metro Atlanta, and Storing it in Reservoirs

On the matter of reservoirs, a radio newsman from Atlanta asked me about new reservoirs to supply water to Metro Atlanta. He asked the most obvious of questions, yet the one that is almost never asked: "Where is the water to fill those going to come from?"

I told him that I suppose it will come from the existing reservoirs, by intercepting water that would otherwise flow into Allatoona, Lanier, and the like.

This reservoir solution reminds me of fairy tales.

There is one about the fishermen with the magic salt mill who wanted salt for their fish for lunch. They got that salt, but could not stop the mill from making salt, so they cut a hole in their boat to let the salt out. The boat then sank and now the ocean is salt water, because they never did stop that mill from making salt.

Or maybe its the one about the leprechaun who was seen burying his rainbow gold under a tree by a woodman, who then tied his handkerchief around the tree trunk while he went to get a shovel. When he returned, there was a handkerchief around every tree in the forest.

Editor's note: I was following it right up until the word "leprechaun." He may have jumped the shark.
There is also a Midas touch in this: Everything Atlanta touches turns into over-development, instead of gold.

What fairy stories and Atlanta reservoir schemes have in common is magic thinking. Reality offers no barrier to either type of narrative.

With apologies to Neill, allow me to sum up his thoughts, as I took them to be. Atlanta's problem is not a bunch of mussels and an evil Army Corps of Engineers. It's decades of wasteful practices, a populace too selfish to conserve and politicians too eager to pander to actually help solve the underlying problem.

Where am I from, you ask? Smyrna. And where do my parents live? Just outside of Roswell, in east Cobb County, in a three story house in a neighborhood with a lot of really green sod.

Perhaps I should offer them equal time.

UPDATE: My parents report that the lawn is no longer green. Perhaps I should visit more often.


griftdrift said...

My question which so far goes unanswered is "where do we put these resevoirs?" It's not like we got great gobs on unoccupied land on the waterways. Then you get into eminent domain. Oh what a tangled web.

VictoratGaImproper said...
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