The week that was, 11/29/2009-12/5/2009

Posted on | December 6, 2009 | No Comments


"Untroubled waters," 1931, from "Behold the day: The color block prints of Frances Gearhart" at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Click on the image for more prints by Gearhart, a link to the gallery and the curator's essay on the show, which runs through January 31st. Listing via Deborah Netburn at

“The dinosaurs didn’t know it was coming. We do. … Scientists might think that the right information in the right place is enough to move people to moral action, but that’s a logical mistake.” — philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore, “Water — Do we have any moral obligation to the future?” WaterWired, December 4, 2009

Whenever we say climate volatility, we really mean water volatility. — Commentary by James G. Workman, “Copenhagen’s missing ingredient: Water,” Los Angeles Times, November 30, 2009

The decision avoids a potentially awkward situation, which would have seen Obama arrive in Copenhagen ahead of even senior negotiators or ministers, let alone prime ministers and heads of state. The timing would have created an embarrassing American absence on the last day of negotiations which nearly 100 other world leaders are expected to attend. — Barack Obama shifts Copenhagen travel plans to boost climate change deal,” The Guardian, December 5, 2009

...the Obama administration has re-established a flood-plain management task force that last met in 1994. Draft standards for Army Corps puts resource standards on par with economic development,” New York Times, December 3, 2009, via Aquafornia

“Building a green home isn’t just about the house itself but the land around it.” — Habitat for Humanity spokeswoman Heather Phibbs, “A little piece of a greener world,”  The Washington Post, December 2, 2009

“It’s an unbelievable blight on all Canadians if there isn’t a commitment to water issues.” –– Paul Moist, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, quoted in “Groups press for protection of water resources,” Vancouver Sun, November 30, 2009

“They’re leaning wet.”– Michael Anderson, California state climatologist on rainfall prospects of an El Nino, “If forecast is right, California will be all wet this winter,” North County Times, November 30, 2009

“We have to assume we’re heading into a fourth year of drought and we have to respond accordingly.” — Lester Snow, California Department of Water Resources director, “State’s water delivery outlook is grim,” San Francisco Chronicle, December 2, 2009

“We’re taking some rather important decisions and turning them over to this group of people who are really not answerable to anybody.” — Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta resident Tom Zuckerman, “Law and order of Delta water policy in panel’s hands,” The Record, Stockton, December 1, 2009

"enviro"definition… an incongruous move by ardent environmentalists to kill a decidedly pro-environment bill was threatening to derail the entire package. — Sealing the deal,” The Sacramento Bee, November 29, 2009

Some of the environmental groups (in water-speak shorthand, “enviros”) that had backed the plan were having second thoughts, worrying that in his eagerness to close a deal, Steinberg had made too many concessions. — Sealing the deal,” The Sacramento Bee, November 29, 2009

"environmentalist" definitionAround 2 a.m. on Nov. 4, Steinberg huddled with Kip Lipper, his top water consultant, and Assemblyman Jared Huffman, the San Rafael Democrat who had been the Assembly’s point person on the water deal. Along with Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills,who had authored the diversion bill, they agreed that the only way to move things along was to weaken the measure … Sealing the deal,” The Sacramento Bee, November 29, 2009

“The environmentalists have come out with long chemical names, but most are in baking soda and things we have around our houses.” — Larry Nichols, chief executive of Devon Energy, on pollutants associated with “fracking,” Drilling right into a heated environmental debate,” The Washington Post, December 2, 2009

“While toxic chemicals may be found in commonly used household products, they should not be in a home’s drinking water.” — Anna Aurilio, legislative director, Environment America, “Drilling right into a heated environmental debate,” The Washington Post, December 2, 20091UjWv1

These rules are deeply unfair, because they are a result of a lawsuit from an environmental group instead of a deliberative scientific process. They are also unfair because the rules will require Florida to spend funds to clean rivers that were polluted by other states — EPA Water rules unfair,” opinion piece by Dominic M. Calabro of Florida TaxWatch, the Lakeland Ledger, December 5, 2009

If that’s not throwing Florida under the bus, I don’t know what is.” — Jim Alves, lawyer for Florida utilities, quoted inFlorida utilities, state politicians take on federal EPA over clean water regulations,” Gainesville Sun, December 5, 2009

The law also would open the way to government regulation of 20 million acres of the nation’s so-called isolated wetlands and 59 percent of the nation’s streams that do not flow year-round. These are two types of water that are now largely exempt from federal oversight. — Dems aim to expand water pollution controls,” Washington Times, December 4, 2009


NAWAPA map, via WaterWired. Click on the image to be taken to WaterWired.

In the context of the White House jobs summit underway today, plans were announced today to re-launch a push for a decades-old, large-scale water diversion project that would create tens of thousands of new jobs, bring massive sums of fresh water to the southwestern u.s., potentially irrigate thousands of acres of arid land, increase planetary respiration to counter global warming, and yield a massive abundance of clean hydro-electric power. The “North American water and power alliance” (NAWAPA) was developed by the Ralph Parsons Engineering Company of Southern California in the early 1970s. — Benton communications press release, US Newswire, December 3, 2009

The [NAWAPA] project would have dammed and reversed the flow of the Yukon and other rivers. Tunnels, pumping stations and canals would have moved water along the Rocky Mountains to the desert southwest. It even featured a “nuclear excavation” option, to speed the process of blasting mountains out of the way. — “The Rip van Winkle of water projects — NAWAPA emerges after 50 years of slumber,” Barry Nelson, NRDC Switchboard, December 4, 2009, via Aquafornia

The average cost of irrigating from wells in Nebraska in 2008 was $42.89 an acre. In Texas, at the shallow end of the vast Ogallala aquifer, the comparable figure was $105.10. In California, battling drought and increasing competition for water from urban residents, it was $114.27. — Nebraska remains top irrigator in the country,” Lincoln Journal Star, December 3, 2009

I’m all for water conservation, but it galls me to have to beg for an eight-ounce glass of water at a restaurant when about 10 million irrigated acres of california farmland are sucking up 11 trillion gallons of the stuff a year. — George Liddle of Glendora, California in a letter to the editor, “Steamed about water,” Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2009

I’m tired of the misinformation I read about Atlanta’s water woes. The politics are horribly uninformed, and the journalism is even worse …  — retired judge Alan J. White, “Regional water law clouds issue,”  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 1, 2009

If I know county voters, they’d rather risk running out of water than pay higher taxes. — City needs to selfishly guard its limited water supply” by columnist John Hazlehurst, The Colorado Springs Business Journal, December 4, 2009

Speight’s starting salary will be $195,000 … — Henderson official tapped for water post,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 4, 2009

“It punishes those who do not have the money to let water run down the street.” –– Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada spokesman Launce Rake quoted in “County signs off on water rate hikes,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 2, 2009


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