Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · When good intentions go...
. . . .

When good intentions go off the rails

Robert Downes - September 15th, 2008
There was an historic moment last month which Michigan Senator Carl Levin can be proud of: the U.S. Senate passed his legislation for the Great Lakes Compact by a unanimous vote, protecting our water for all time.
Or does it?
The Compact bans the diversion of water from the Great Lakes. The agreement has already been signed by the governors of eight states along the lakes, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
“Senate passage of this compact will help us protect the Great Lakes from water diversions and preserve this invaluable resource for future generations,” said Sen. Levin in a published report.
The Compact is also considered a slam-dunk for approval by the U.S. House of Representatives, and President Bush will surely sign it. Plus, the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec have already passed the Compact.
“It’s looking like an unstoppable tide now,” said Cameron Davis, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes.
So, why worry? Two words: offshore drilling.
Like the Great Lakes Compact, the struggle to limit offshore drilling involved many state and federal government units and three decades of legislation and solemn vows.
Congress has voted to ban offshore drilling on both the Atlantic and Pacific as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and coast of Florida every year since the 1980s, with the support of both Republicans and Democrats.
Why? To protect our shores from oil spills and eyesores, plain and simple.
But with the recent bump in gas prices, all of those years of work by thousands of people have been tossed to the wind by our presidential candidates and their parties. The attitude now is: “Damn right, we want offshore drilling.” And no one can seem to recall any good reasons not to clutter our shores with oil rigs and the threat of spills.
Even Barack Obama, who was initially against offshore drilling, had to backpedal to avoid political annihilation on an issue that seems like a no-brainer for voters who don’t have a clue about things like conservation.
And at the Republican Convention, a chant of “Drill! Drill! Drill!” filled the air, with few considering the consequences.
That’s why when Congress reconvenes this month, one of the first items on their agenda will be deep-sixing its commitment to protecting America‘s coastline from offshore oil rigs.
Hmmm... how about for starters, we place a few oil rigs just off West Palm Beach in Florida, the home of numerous millionaires and Rush Limbaugh? These wealthy conservatives will no doubt welcome the oil platforms with open arms.
Speaking of the new Compact, there’s even a push by some to revive the idea of drilling in the Great Lakes. Why divert our water when we can gum it up with an oil spill instead? Fortunately, no one seems to be taking this idea too seriously, although directional drilling under the lakes from the shore seems to be getting a fresh look.
So, we can all hope that the Great Lakes are safe for all time from water diversion schemes. They comprise 90 percent of the fresh surface water in the United States, yet less than one percent of their mass is renewed each year.
But will anyone be surprised if 20 years from now, our future presidential candidates demand the diversion of our waters to save the parched West from the effects of global warming? Will anyone be surprised if at a future political convention, the delegates are hammering the air and chanting: “Divert! Divert! Divert!”
Who will stand in the way?
Like with offshore drilling, the good reasons for protecting a valuable resource may someday be lost to serve a political agenda that no one has the courage to refute.
But victory is no time to fret about such things. Let’s raise a glass of that good Great Lakes drinking water and toast a fine agreement while it lasts.

 
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