Monday, October 22, 2007

quote unquote

"Perhaps animals are smarter than men...taking only what they need to live today, leaving something for tomorrow...Maybe it is man who will eventually perish as he destroys the land and all that it offers."--Patrick D. Smith

one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite authors. i think it's from allapattah, which takes place deep in the everglades. the protagonist is pissed off at developers for ruining the environment. the take take take mentality that so pervades our culture, with no thought for the ramifications today's decisions have on our descendants. it appears to be coming true in the southeast today. in case you've been living under a rock, you might have noticed that there's a pretty awful drought going on right now. lee sent this article to me. it's about his neck of the woods, but it hits home for me too (since i am too a tree hugger at heart). drought sucks. couple it with overpopulation of cities, and the american sense of entitlement for raping and pillaging natural resources., and i have little sympathy for the many millions that caused the problems, or the stupid politicians that lack the backbone or intelligence to fix the problem. here's how to fix it: move somewhere else. the ecosystem that you chose for your home was not made for 5 million people. [steps off soapbox]

the red is lee's commentary. blue, that's me.

CUMMING, Ga. - With water supplies rapidly shrinking during a drought of historic proportions, Gov. Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency Saturday for the northern third of Georgia and asked President Bush to declare it a major disaster area. Georgia officials warn that Lake Lanier, a 38,000-acre reservoir that supplies more than 3 million residents with water, is less than three months from depletion. Smaller reservoirs are dropping even lower.
Perdue asked the president to exempt Georgia from complying with federal regulations that dictate the amount of water released from Georgia's reservoirs to protect federally protected mussel species downstream.
"We need to cut through the tangle of unnecessary bureaucracy to manage our resources prudently — so that in the long term, all species may have access to life-sustaining water," he said.
On Friday, Perdue's office asked a federal judge to force the Army Corps of Engineers to curb the amount of water it drains from Georgia reservoirs into streams in Alabama and Florida. Georgia's environmental protection director is drafting proposals for more water restrictions.
More than a billion gallons of water is released from Lanier every day. The Corps of Engineers bases its water releases on two requirements: The minimum flow needed for a coal-fired power plant in Florida and mandates to protect two mussel species in a Florida river.
White House press secretary Dana Perino said Perdue's request will be reviewed. "In the meantime, we have already begun drafting interim rules to use procedures and flexibility to address the endangered species requirements and the Army Corps has started the process of revising the operations manual for the river basin," Perino said.
Georgia lawmakers say neighboring states also are exploiting the law as a tool to draw more water from Georgia's lakes.
"We've learned from this what a blunt weapon the Endangered Species Act has become," said state Rep. John Linder. "We need to understand this lake was created not for mussels but for people."
(Funny, I thought the ESA was for endangered species that people made "endangered." All along I thought the building of a massive man-made reservoir has somehow affected the mussels. Next thing you know, they're going to be telling me they not only need water, but it has to be clean too! It's a good thing I'm not a policy maker, I get these things so confused! Thanks Rep. Linder for clearing this all up for me, I sure was mislead. Those crazy enviro-libs nearly pulled the wool over my eyes that time.)
More than a quarter of the Southeast is covered by an "exceptional" drought — the National Weather Service's worst drought category. The Atlanta area, with a population of 5 million, is smack in the middle of the affected region, which encompasses most of Tennessee, Alabama and the northern half of Georgia, as well as parts of North and South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia. Georgia was placed under statewide water restrictions in April that limited outdoor watering to three days a week. By May Atlanta allowed watering only on weekends, and in September environmental officials banned virtually all outdoor watering through the northern half of the state. Funny how this seems to be years in the making, and only now it's getting attention. I don't think a 38,000 acre reservoir dries up in 6 months. Just a guess.
Restaurants have been asked to serve water only at a customer's request and the governor called on residents to take shorter showers. More limits will probably be needed, said Carol Couch, the state's environmental director. You reckon?
"This is not something we can conserve our way out of," said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
Well, it appears that one politician gets it!
The state of emergency Perdue declared Saturday affects 85 Georgia counties, more than half of the state. Conditions were worsened by stifling summer heat and a drier-than-normal hurricane season. State climatologist David Stooksbury said it will take months of above average rainfall to replenish the system. Perdue said the state has not yet formed a contingency plan in case the reservoirs run dry. "The backup plan is to conserve and use our water wisely," he said.
Gee, did Cher help you come up with that idea? I think it's a little late for that, Sonny!
The emergency declaration creates an emergency team that will oversee the state's response to drought. It also could free up some state money to respond to the drought, Couch said.


Daniela said...

This is what pisses me off about politics. You would think that these people would have the COMMON SENSE to understand these things. Come on not water your lawn in drought season, DUH. Half the I amend this, most of the time I think that the politicians never went to college because they are not to bright. Come on, Aidan understands this shit better than most politicians. It is out of control. I call for an uprising. You wonder why I am get the Masters and PhD in what I am, so someone can tell those assholes in as simple and blunt terms as possible wha is up. I can't wait to tell them off. I am going to get in so much trouble, its going to be awesome. Oh I am fired up now...which field guy can I yell at today.

Mike said...

Hmm... drought... lack of water... Think they are fired up now, wait until they can't turn on the water and take a 30 minute shower :)

This isn't an isolated issue. Nor is this something that is the fault of private citizens...

Keystone Heights received the more rainfall than I've ever heard of... (it rained for 3 weeks straight) Did the lake water levels rise at all? Nope. I'm convinced that there are some businesses that are draining water for their own purposes.

The fact is, private citizens are an afterthought. Sure we can save some water there, but thats not the source of the problem.

Just my two bits.

Mr. J said...

This is true. It is especially a problem in N. Central Florida where there are far too many bottling plants for the health of the aquifer. Add on top of that agricultural purposes, you've got way too much consumption and not nearly enough conservation. This keeps up, our Southern pine forests are going to be Southern deserts before too long!