Mark Twain: “Whisky Is for Drinkin’ — Water Is for Fightin'”

Remember our earlier discussion of the kerfuffle over breaching dams on the Salmon River? Sure you do. Click on,  if you don’t. Anyway, act two is now afoot, this time involving breaching of dams on the Klamath River. It’s not easy to follow, but it goes something like this: the environmentalists — who else? — want those dams torn down because they impede the upstream migration of salmon to their spawining grounds, and the local Indians want them torn down to enhance their fishing rights. The local farmers want them to stay up because they provide irrigation water for their crops. The public utilities that built and own them, are sort of wishy-washy because to keep those dams up and keep selling the electric power they produce, they would have to get them relicensed and that — thanks to government bureaucracies — would cost more than tearing them down. Crazy enough for you? Only in America.

At one point the contending parties worked out a deal (involving the tearing down of four — count ’em, four — dams, an effort to which Uncle Sam was going to chip in $1 billion), but now, two years later nothing has happened, possibly due to Uncle’s financial embarassment. The problem also is that local folks think poorly of tearing down four perfectly good hydroelectric dams, and voiced their displeasure by voting out of office local politicians who went along with the deal, so the current ones are — shall we say? — less than enthusiastic abot the whole thing. Concludes the Times: “more court fights are inevitable . . . if the deal is not confirmed by Congress  — regardless of local political developments.”

For an admirably concise summary of this fight, check out William Yardley, Tea Party Blocks Pact to Restore a West Coast River, N.Y. Times, July 19, 2012, at p. A16 — click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *