Shock doctrine, Mulroy style

Posted on | August 13, 2009 | No Comments



CRITICS of the Las Vegas pipeline proposed for the Great Basin will find almost every argument they’ve made in 20 years of protesting the project distilled in one witty, furious burst in today’s Aguanomics posting by UC Berkeley natural resources economist David Zetland.

Zetland whipped it out on the news earlier today that Utah has finally complied with Nevadan demands for Great Basin groundwater. This follows a dare last week by Southern Nevada Water Authority general manager Patricia Mulroy (pictured above, click on the photos for captions) to her board to vote against the pipeline.

Mulroy predicted empty hydrants and water once a week if they didn’t come to heel.

Beware of shock doctrine tactics, argues Zetland.

The pipeline has been Mulroy’s from inception. Within months of her appointment as general manager at the leading Las Vegas water company in 1989, she stunned Nevada by applying for half of the legally available water left in the state  — for Las Vegas. She proceeded to fight back objections from almost every agency within the US Department of Interior whose federal lands she intended to de-water. She didn’t have the clout to do this alone. She needed and got the backing of Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who relies heavily on support from Las Vegas developers and casinos.

Locally, she enjoyed support from Reid’s son, Rory Reid, former chairman of the board of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

So what Zetland writes of Mulroy applies equally to the Senator and his son: “Why didn’t she raise prices and balance supply and demand in Vegas? Because she’s pro-growth (developers), pro-engineering (the third straw into Lake Mead and pipeline will cost ratepayers a LOT), and pro-power (for herself). If she raised prices 5 years ago, her job would have been boring. No headlines. Just quiet competence.”

But from the beginning, Mulroy has predicted doom for Southern Nevada if her pipeline isn’t built. “You’re going to live Amman, Jordan. You’re going to get water once a week,” was the latest outburst, made in a demand that her board at the Southern Nevada Water Authority give her an up or down vote on the project next week.

“I’ve been to Amman — it DOES have water in the fire hydrants and 24/7 water pressure, so she’s full of sh*t,” writes Zetland.

“…the bad news is this — she will win,” he continues. “Utah has rolled, the Board will forgo fiduciary responsibility to their constituents and the environment (since an unsustainable Vegas will hit the wall anyway — just farther in the future), and the PIMP [Pipe immortalizing Pat Mulroy] will be built.

“In 5-10 years, we will look back at her scare tactics and all the damages from the pipeline and we will see how Pat Mulroy is the George Bush of water. She told us ‘trust me, there are WMDs shortages that will kill us the children!’ even though there are none. We trusted him and we suffered. We should not trust her.”

To read David Zetland on the Utah decision and Pat Mulroy’s pipeline, click here.

This post has been updated. Various typos have been corrected.


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