Tag Archives: water

Impeachment Arguments on Water Issues

1 Nov

A guest post by Jonathan A. French, Ph.D

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The President has sworn to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” whose preamble reads:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The common defense must be not just against soldiers and bombs, but also against hurricane winds and rain, against fire and earthquake, and against the wanton destruction of our resources, immediate and future.

The general welfare depends on protection from these same threats, natural and man-made.

The Environmental Protection Agency was established by law in 1972. Its mission is to encourage, guide and enforce the protection of our water, air and soil—and thence us—from man-made pollution.

The President has willfully and intentionally, and with little public analysis, attacked and frustrated the EPA in this mission. The President, through his EPA Administrator, has sought to reverse, reduce, or nullify many EPA regulations:

Concerning the oceans and the life within them, he has sought to overturn:

  • Offshore drilling bans in the Atlantic and Arctic.
  • A ban on seismic air gun testing in the Atlantic.
  • The Northern Bering Sea climate resilience plan.
  • The status of 12 marine areas.
  • Regulations for offshore oil and gas exploration by floating vessels.

Concerning wetlands, streams, rivers, the life within them, and the water that is drawn for water supply, he has sought to overturn:

  • The decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • The decision on the Dakota Access pipeline.
  • Mining restrictions in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
  • Wetland and tributary protections.

Concerning groundwater that is drawn for water supply, he has sought to overturn:

  • Fracking regulations on public lands.
  • Groundwater protections for uranium mines.

Furthermore, the President’s EPA has overturned flood building standards, to keep buildings out of flood zones, and to enable buildings to survive flooding.

To weaken or overturn these standards and regulations without due technical deliberation is to put populations in danger, and is as treasonous as reckless disarmament within sight of an enduring enemy.

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Report Sees U.S. as Top Oil Producer, Overtaking Saudi Arabia, in 5 Years – NYTimes.com

13 Nov

The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer by about 2017 and will become a net oil exporter by 2030, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

That increased oil production, combined with new American policies to improve energy efficiency, means that the United States will become “all but self-sufficient” in meeting its energy needs in about two decades — a “dramatic reversal of the trend” in most developed countries, a new report released by the agency says.

And when we’ve ruined out water supply with all that fracking, what are we going to drink?

via Report Sees U.S. as Top Oil Producer, Overtaking Saudi Arabia, in 5 Years – NYTimes.com.

Struggle for Water in Colorado With Rise in Fracking – NYTimes.com

6 Sep

GREELEY, Colo. — A new race for water is rippling through the drought-scorched heartland, pitting farmers against oil and gas interests, driven by new drilling techniques that use powerful streams of water, sand and chemicals to crack the ground and release stores of oil and gas.

A single such well can require five million gallons of water, and energy companies are flocking to water auctions, farm ponds, irrigation ditches and municipal fire hydrants to get what they need.

That thirst is helping to drive an explosion of oil production here, but it is also complicating the long and emotional struggle over who drinks and who does not in the arid and fast-growing West. Farmers and environmental activists say they are worried that deep-pocketed energy companies will have purchase on increasingly scarce water supplies as they drill deep new wells that use the technique of hydraulic fracturing.

via Struggle for Water in Colorado With Rise in Fracking – NYTimes.com.

Will there be water for his children?

24 Aug

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Will the Middle East starve? – Middle East – Salon.com

10 Jun

Just so you know, the USA isn’t the only country pushing against the edges of its natural resources. Here’s a fascinating article about Saudi Arabia, water, and food. Oil won’t be able to buy everything.

There is a madness about farming in the desert — especially when temperatures are above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, there isn’t a river for hundreds of miles, and the only water is more than a mile underground. The technological bravado is breathtaking, but Saudis are slowly realizing that it cannot go on. That their dream of turning oil wealth into food self-sufficiency is doomed, and they will have to get food from elsewhere. I heard this at a conference on the country’s changing attitude to water, held at the Jeddah Hilton in 2009. … Not far away a huge desalination plant was making the waters of the Red Sea drinkable for the city.

Saudi Arabians have grown colossally rich on the country’s oil reserves. They have grown used to the idea that petrodollars can buy them anything. But Saudis are waking up to the fact that all their wealth will count for nothing if they have nothing to eat.

via Will the Middle East starve? – Middle East – Salon.com.

‘Taking the Waste Out of Wastewater’ – NYTimes.com

23 Apr

While we can’t “make” more water, there is one solution to water shortage problems that addresses issues of both quality and supply. Without mining an ancient aquifer, draining a natural spring or piping in the pricey harvest from a greenhouse-gas-and-brine-generating desalination plant, there is a solution to provide a valuable source of extremely pure water: reclaim it from sewage. The stuff from our showers, sinks and, yes, our toilets. In Israel, more than 80 percent of household wastewater is recycled, providing nearly half the water for irrigation. A new pilot plant near San Diego and a national “NEWater” program in Singapore show it’s practical to turn wastewater into water that’s clean enough to drink. Yet, in most of the world, we are resistant to do so.

Why?

We think we are rational beings, but we are not. We are emotional creatures, subject to obscuring feelings like fear and disgust. … While recycled water may be a smart and clean way to manage our water supply, our primitive instincts are more programmed to fear the murky water hole than to worry about climate change, new contaminants and population growth.

via ‘Taking the Waste Out of Wastewater’ – NYTimes.com.

The impending urban water crisis – Dream City – Salon.com

2 Apr

“When I talk to water utility people, one of the things I say to them is, ‘I bet most of you aren’t planning how to manage your water demands with 20 percent less than what you have now,’” says Charles Fishman, author of “The Big Thirst.” “If you don’t have a plan for that, you’re in trouble.”

You’ll find Fishman’s book in the nature section at Barnes & Noble, but it’s really about urban planning. Because the creeping hydro-crisis has nothing to do with “running out of water.” The earth has the same amount of water as it had 4 billion years ago, and it always will. “It’s all Tyrannosaurus rex pee,” says Fishman with a laugh. The water’s recycled endlessly through the clouds, but it’s the way we’ve built that’s made it seem scarce — with industry, farming and cities in places where there’s not enough water to support them, but still demanding more every year.

Luckily, an urban-planning problem can be mitigated with urban-planning solutions, and cities are blazing the trail — including, believe it or not, Sin City itself. Today, Vegas is soaked in “reclaimed water,” water that’s been used once and then purified for another go-round. It waters the golf courses and washes the thousands of hotel bed sheets. Even the pond at Treasure Island, where the nightly pirate-ship battles take place, is filled with water that the hotel’s guests have brushed their teeth with. (It gets run through a treatment plant under the casino.)

via The impending urban water crisis – Dream City – Salon.com.

How Energy Drains Water Supplies – NYTimes.com

21 Sep

The worries in Texas bear out what an increasingly vocal group of researchers has been warning in recent years: that planners must pay more attention to how much water is needed in energy production.

“Water and energy are really linked,” said Henrik Larsen, a water policy expert with the DHI Group, a research and consulting firm based in Denmark. “If you save water, you save energy, and vice-versa.”

Experts call this the “water-energy nexus.” It takes huge quantities of water to produce electricity from a plant powered by nuclear energy or fossil fuels, and it also takes lots of energy to pump and process the water that irrigates fields and supplies cities.

via How Energy Drains Water Supplies – NYTimes.com.

Workin' on the Transition

5 Mar

All that pretty green is algae feeding on phosphates from detergent run-off. The old tire, of course, is a petroleum product, in more ways than one. As for the turtle, he’s just hanging out, getting some sun, and keeping a wary eye out.