Thursday, August 31, 2006

Would-be Congressman Makes Play for Our Water

John Doll, a US Congress hopeful from Kansas, made a large and ugly splash with Canadians and American's alike in his posting to Daily Kos this week. In that piece, Mr. Doll outlined Kansas' current water crisis and proposed some interesting solutions:

Some questions may include, in that scenario - Where do we get an infinite fresh water supply? Second, how do we transport the water to the aquifer? Third, how do we finance such a project?

Perhaps a good source of water would come from our good neighbor to the North, Canada.

We are told that the Northern Rocky Mountains, in Canada, hold an abundant amount of fresh water that is replenished constantly. It has been suggested that we could develop an infrastructure to transport water from Canada, for example, by building a pipeline that originates in Canada, traveling through the coal mines of Wyoming. We are told that 80 percent of the cost of coal is transporting coal from the mines to the factories. Therefore, we further understand that such a water pipeline will pick up coal as it passes through Wyoming creating a coal slurry. Upon arrival, coal would be easily and inexpensively extracted from the water, benefitting tax-payers and the resulting water could be then plugged into the aquifer or another holding facility. Consequently, the cost of coal should be reduced while we have a constant flow of water. I like plans such as this one that are also environmentally sound. (bold added)

If there are any recent examples that better exemplify American ignorance, arrogance and ecological cluelessness than this proposal I haven't read it. It also typifies a far too common attitude held by some American policy makers - that the rest of the world is there primarily to prop-up the policies and practices of the most unsustainable nation in the history of the world.

In nobodies informed opinion is the diverting of massive quantities of water across a continent an "environmentally sound" plan. It becomes even more irresponsible when the purpose of the diversions is to prop up wasteful water usage. The would-be congressman is also oblivious to the fact that our own Rocky Mountain glaciers are also in retreat, thanks in no small part to the 1.133 billion tons of coal consumed by the US last year - a number Mr. Doll proposes to increase with the aid of our water.

Blackstar at The Next Agenda gave Mr. Doll a thorough lashing on behalf of Canadians and environmental progressives. Those with memberships at The Next Agenda or Daily Kos, please stop by to add your comments to the debate.


EX-NDIP said...

I think you are getting a lot excited, a little prematurely . . .
America is an "idea factory" that is why they are so economically successful . . . Canada of course has been void of ideas for decades . . . most successful Canucks move to the US or elsewhere to fulfil their dreams!!!
We dump billions of gallons of water into the sea every day . . . maybe his ideas have some merit, maybe we can create an industry and jobs.
The debate hasn't even happened . . . but you in your infinite wisdome see all . . . you don't belong to "Club Sierra" do you???

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the props and for reasserting the topic. First of all, for those with Daily Kos memberships, the opportunity to reply will expire so get your comments in there asap. The Next Agenda is a new Canadian Progressive blog, so if you are not signed up yet, join already. More voices=better discussion.

Second, but more importantly, be very aware that global warming does indeed threaten our water supply. Not only are the glaciers melting but the warming trends increase the rates of evaporation and have a drying effect. You don't need to read a science manual to realize this. As the glaciers melt, so will the rivers that are fed by them dry up. Example, the Bow River, the Saskatchewan Rivers. The time limits on these rivers has already been set.

Did you know that three trees will take care of one tonne of your carbon footprint? Why not plant three for yourself and every member of your family? Do it today. Make it your Labour Day weekend project.


Odiyya said...

If America is, as you say, an 'idea factory' then like any other factory it is capable of producing good products and bad - ones that harmful and ones that are helpful - and ones that are sustainable versus ones that have no future. This is an idea with no future.

More to the point, the US has been a top producer of bad ideas for the past 6 years, a few of the top ones being:

- lying to the world about iraq's weapons capabilities, and their connection to al queda

- deliberately and systematically distorting, and scientifically agreed upon data on global warming

- elimating paper trails in elections by going to electronic voting machines.

- and of course, sending a man to the white house who definitely wasn't elected the first time, and likely wasn't the second time either.

As for that water that 'we dump ....into the sea'. It offers a few services along the way, not the least of which are drinking water for citizens, nourishment for ecosystems, watering for farms.......and if too green for you, its also funneled in massive quantities to support oil sands development. An activity I don't condone but if you're going to take an ignorant stance promoting the diversion and commodification of water, you might want to make sure we have enough to exploit ourselves before shipping it all south.

Anonymous said...

Also...who is John Doll?

He received a mere 20% of the votes in his election, and the votes he got likely had little to do with anything he said about Canadian water.

It's a bit silly to read what one person running for office says (absolutely any citizen over the age of 25 can run for that office), and use that to make a generalization about the entire country:

"If there are any recent examples that better exemplify American ignorance, arrogance and ecological cluelessness than this proposal I haven't read it."

I understand the point you are trying to make, and, insults aside, I can perhaps agree with it. Americans, in general, are likely ignorant when it comes to the environment, and seem to tend to disregard it for immediate comforts. But are, for instance, Canadians better informed than Americans? What about the Dutch? Germans? Are Americans the only ones in the world that put immediate comfort over environmental sustainability? Just because one supports environmental reform and protection doesn't mean that they are not ignorant. It's a matter of the placement of value, I suppose.

But this is off subject. You refer to "American ignorance, arrogance, and ecological cluelessness." Let me defend us Americans. Where do you get this generalization of Americans? Have you spoken to a large number of Americans or taken a perfectly unbiased poll of Americans to reach this conclusion? This stereotype of ignorance and arrogance is one that much of the world seems to hold of Americans, which seems almost ironic. This view has little to do with the general American population at all, except a handful of tourists and the majority of our government. The individuals that make the decisions in this country are rich and powerful people who will stop at almost nothing to keep their wealth and power. This is what people are referring to, I suspect, when such accusations are made. Please, don't put such stereotypes on me. I am neither ignorant nor arrogant, and neither are millions of other people living in this country. Criticize and scrutinize the government all you want, please. But don't judge the people that are being governed based on those governing. We are doing what we can to improve our government, and the recent election is a sign that perhaps we are attempting to move toward a more environmentally-friendly, internationally-friendly government. Don't call us ignorant or arrogant, please.

Odiyya said...

A poll of American opinions isn't really relevant to the article. My comment was about "American arrogance, and ignorance", not "Americans'".

That comment is levelled squarely at the job your government does in representing their interests before the world, and their continuous attempts to force their political will on other nations. For Canada, those actions tangibly represented in an ongoing attitude from Washington that your country is somehow entitled to Canadian resources.

As you say, every country has people who are ignorant of environmental issues. The point is that no country in the world has the ability to influence other nations like the US. As such, you are unique in the world for exporting your poor policy to other country, and in affecting global economy and ecology as no nation can.

I've travelled extensively in the US and greatly respect many American's. But the onus is on you, the American people, to take responsbility for your government, as with your environmental policies.

And for those of us in the rest of the world - who are affected daily by your actions, yet recieve no voice in your decisions - it is our right and responsibility to voice those concerns and outrages, just as it was the right and responsibility of your country's founders to speak out against the unjust laws that they were subject to by the British.