November 4, 2010
November 2, 2010
Billions have been spent allowing corporations to profit from public water sources even though water privatization has been an epic failure in Latin America, Southeast Asia, North America, Africa and everywhere else it's been tried. But don't tell that to controversial loan-sharks at the World Bank. Last month, its private-sector funding arm International Finance Corporation (IFC) quietly dropped a cool 100 million euros ($139 million US) on Veolia Voda, the Eastern European subsidiary of Veolia, the world's largest private water corporation. Its latest target? Privatization of Eastern Europe's water resources.
"Veolia has made it clear that their business model is based on maximizing profits, not long-term investment," Joby Gelbspan, senior program coordinator for private-sector watchdog Corporate Accountability International, told AlterNet. "Both the World Bank and the transnational water companies like Veolia have clearly acknowledged they don't want to invest in the infrastructure necessary to improve water access in Eastern Europe. That's why this 100 million euro investment in Veolia Voda by the World Bank's private investment arm over the summer is so alarming. It's further evidence that the World Bank remains committed to water privatization, despite all evidence that this approach will not solve the world's water crisis."All the evidence Veolia needs that water grabs are doomed exercises can be found in its birthplace of France, more popularly known as the heartland of water privatization. In June, the municipal administration of Paris reclaimed the City of Light's water services from both of its homegrown multinationals Veolia and Suez, after a torrent of controversy. That's just one of 40 re-municipilazations in France alone, which can be added to those in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and more in hopes of painting a not-so-pretty picture: Water privatization is ultimately both a horrific concept and a failed project.
"It's outrageous that the World Bank's IFC would continue to invest in corporate water privatizations when they are failing all over the world," Maude Barlow, chairwoman of Food and Water Watch and the author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Fight for the Right to Water, told AlterNet. "A similar IFC investment in the Philippines is an unmitigated disaster. Local communities and their governments around the world are canceling their contracts with companies like Veolia because of cost overruns, worker layoffs and substandard service."The Philippines is an excellent example of water privatization's broken model. After passing the Water Crisis Act in 1995, the Philippines landed a $283 million privatization plan managed partially by multinational giants like Suez and Bechtel. After some success, everything fell apart after 2000, and it wasn't long before tariff prices repeatedly increased, water service and quality worsened, and public opposition skyrocketed. Today, some Filipinos still don't have water connections, tariffs have increased from 300 to 700 percent in some regions, and outbreaks of cholera and gastroenteritis have cost lives and sickened hundreds.
"The World Bank has learned nothing from these disasters and continues to be blinded by an outdated ideology that only the unregulated market will solve the world's problems," added Barlow.But asking the World Bank to learn from disaster would be akin to annihilating its overall mission, which is to capitalize on disaster in the developing world in pursuit of profit. Its nasty history of economic and environmental shock therapy sessions have severely wounded more than one country, and has been sharply criticized by brainiacs like Joseph Stiglitz, who was once the Bank's chief economist, and Naomi Klein, whose indispensable history The Shock Doctrine is a horrorshow of privatization nightmares. From its cultural imperialism and insensitivity to regional differences to its domination by a handful of economic elites drunk on deregulation, whose utter failure needs no further example than our continuing global economic crisis, the World Bank's good intentions have been compromised by an unending string of terrible press and crappier deals.
"In the past, the World Bank pushed privatization as the way to increase investment in basic infrastructure for water systems," said Gelbspan. "But since then bank officials have admitted that the transnational corporations don't want to invest in infrastructure, and instead want only to pare down operations and skim profits. The World Bank has lowered the bar, satisfied with so-called 'operational efficiency,' that cuts utility workforce, tightens up bill collections and shuts off people who can't pay."That's been a recipe for failure and protest, especially in the very region that IFC and Veolia hope to pump for all its water worth. In 1998, World Bank loans were secured to upgrade the crumbling post-Soviet water system in Yerevan, a city in the Eastern European nation of Armenia. With a caveat: It had to be managed by a private contractor. The Italian transnational ACEA landed the job, but quickly failed to extend water access, partially thanks to company corruption. It also failed to properly maintain water pressure, allowing sewage to seep into the city's drinking water and sicken hundreds. Despite the travesty, the World Bank issued another contract in 2006 to Veolia, which hired ACEA's top executive. Two years later, only one in three Yerevan residents were lucky enough to score 24-hour water service, while contamination problems continued. Veolia's contract with the city is up for renewal in 2015.
The same goes for the Turkish city of Alacati, which landed a $13 million loan in the late '90s, as well as Veolia's incompetence. The city's water bills skyrocketed to 12 times the price of service in other parts of the country. Multiply that times most every nation or city that has privatized its water service, and you've got a good idea of why the World Bank's IFC is under fire for rapacious resource-snatching. And why the developing world is right to be wary of its good graces, although the World Bank can do good when it so chooses.
"The World Bank does not at all speak with one voice on their pro-privatization stance," Darcey O'Callaghan, Food and Water Watch's international policy director, explained to AlterNet. "One staff member referred to it as a bad experiment that has been proven wrong, while higher staffers try to take a more nuanced position, claiming that the Bank is neither for or against privatization but simply promotes the most appropriate model for specific communities. Unfortunately, our own statistics have shown that regardless of their statements, 52 percent of their projects between 2004 and 2008 promoted some form of privatization."But rather than repair privatization's failed project at its source, the World Bank is simply spinning off its compromised philosophy to the IFC. So while the World Bank may be torn in its endorsement of water privatization, the IFC has no such reservations, in hopes of dodging the slings and arrows of public outcry, and perhaps legal liability.
"What's really scary," O'Callaghan added, "is that we are increasingly seeing the International Finance Corporation pick up where the Bank has left off in water privatization. The IFC is a Bank-sponsored institution whose goal is to promote the private sector, and because their financing also comes from the private sector, they can be more difficult to hold accountable. Worse yet, according to our 2000-2008 stats, 80 percent of IFC loans had gone to the four largest multinational water companies, further concentrating the global water industry."It's not just water that's at the center of Earth's mounting resource wars. In late October, Britain's government announced it was looking to sell off its state-owned forests to counteract a yawning deficit. Today, natural gas companies are preparing to drill in America's national parks. Indeed, America and Britain's bungled occupation of Iraq is a protracted resource war for control of the embattled nation's oil reserves. Water is just one more natural resource, albeit the most important one, worth a killing to those seeking to callously leverage limited funds for innocent lives.
"Droughts and deserts are spreading in over 100 countries," Barlow said. "It is now clear that our world is running out of clean water, as the demand gallops ahead of supply. These water corporations, backed still by the World Bank, seek to take advantage of this crisis by taking more control over dwindling water supplies."Which is another way of saying that, regardless of the refreshing trend toward re-municipalization, no one should expect the World Bank or its IFC untouchables to give up the privatization and deregulation ghost anytime soon. That means that every city, and citizen, is due for a day of reckoning of some sort, and should fight back against the bankrupt privatization paradigm with everything in its arsenal.
"Get involved at the local level," O'Callaghan said. "Know where your water comes from. Fight against privatization schemes. Promote conservation. Don't drink bottled water."And Barlow adds,
"The only path to a water-secure future is water conservation, source water protection, watershed restoration and the just and equitable sharing of the water resources of the planet. Water is a commons, a public trust and a human right and no one has the right to appropriate for profit when others are dying from lack of access."
August 8, 2010
August 5, 2010
Another assault on the American public is under way; this one will enlarge and increase the power of the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management to such a degree that none of us will be safe from these corrupted and unlawful corporate federal agencies operating under the public deception; “a public service agency.” These are in fact, duly authorized and chartered private corporations which have long since ceased to function as public services, if in fact they ever did.
Those who ramble through the halls of the District of Criminals -- who claim they have no time to write the bills, no time to read the bills -- somehow found the time to vote to pass this federal, land, asset and natural resource grab, including water rights, through the House. The bill now rests in the Senate, where there is little chance that the property rights of individuals or states will survive.
HR.3534, Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources Act of 2010, will effectively render a greater amount of land as owned or controlled for profit by the federal government, along with minerals and water rights, to now be controlled by the federal government and enforced through the BLM.
The Clear Act claims control of the oceans, Great Lakes and, by extension, many other waterways and freshwater resources, mineral mining, solar, geo-thermal, and gas and oil, conducted on land or in the oceans, in, on or near the continental United States. This bill passed the House on August 4, 2010. All of this as a result of the BP Oil gusher; like we didn’t already have thousands of unused laws on the books to deal with this.
Along with expanded control of land and water, all mineral leasing in any state would now be controlled by the BLM, depriving the states of much needed revenue and the right to conduct their own business. And guess what!? We get the creation of more corporate federal agencies empowered to write their own laws and to conduct enforcement in the name of the new agencies, and against the individuals and states.
Sect: 101 Creation of New Department of the Interior Agencies
“The Bureau of Energy and Resource Management;” to be housed in the ubiquitous Department of the Interior.
Now bear in mind, the “resources” the bill alludes to exist within the geographical boundaries of the states, or exist on the coastal waterlines, and rightfully belong to the states and their residents.
(I smell Jim Oberstar’s (D) MN, great stinking mess called the Water Restoration Act, which would seize all water from any source whatsoever, including dried up lake beds and the rain off your roof, and claim it as owned by the federal government.)
Yup! That’s what we need, another damn federal agency, incorporated and working against the people. The truly sad part of this is, there are far too many mercenary Americans who will happily ignore what they know to be violations of individual and states rights, and who will perform these assaults against other Americans, with vigor. These people need to be shunned from our communities.
The CLEAR Act would establish a monthly auction in which fuel producers would bid for “carbon shares.”
And this is how you pass Cap & Trade without calling it Cap & Trade. Even our recent research into the invasive species of Kiri trees slated to be planted across northern Nevada revealed the added caveat of claimed “carbon credits.”
The Cap & Trade Act would do nothing to curb pollution and instead would simply allow polluters to buy access to increase pollution. It’s a cash cow and one that will adversely affect every household in the country. Higher energy costs that would be totally unregulated would force many families out of their homes; there would be no “credits” for individuals -- just for corporations! And thanks to the CLEAR act, we now have a back door “Cap & Trade.”
Carbon credits issued to corporations could be traded and sold to other polluters, creating a cash flow for the sellers of credit and extended pollution credits to those companies who cause the greatest harm to the environment. There would be no reduction in the level of harmful emissions. It is far cheaper to buy unused credits from another company than to go through the process of paying fines and penalties or actually reducing the amount of emissions.
Every U.S. citizen would receive a monthly check from the government. A household family of four would receive a rebate from the government totaling an average of $1,100 per year or $21,000 between 2012 and 2030.
Nothing like throwing in some cash incentives to get the American public to go along with this theft of states rights and the overwhelming control of land, ocean and waterways to be performed under new bureaucracies whose main functions would be to abrogate individual and states rights. And just so you know: If you cash the check…..you have agreed to the contract stipulated in the CLEAR Act: the right of the federal government to seize your states assets and sell them for profit even if it causes you harm.
Included in this latest theft of state-owned assets, and of assets as owned by the nation at large, are these special provisions:
Section 4. Fossil Carbon Limitation
This bill also includes a safety valve for carbon share demand. If the maximum price is reached in any one auction, the number of available carbon shares may be increased to exceed the aggregate quantity in order to ensure that all legal bids at that price are accommodated for that auction. However, these excess carbon shares must be redeemed within 90 days, and all derived revenues from this safety valve auction are deposited in the Clean Energy Reinvestment Trust Fund (CERT Fund) to be used exclusively to curtail the emission of non-carbon greenhouse gases and other climate-affecting substances, such as black carbon, or to fund domestic and international projects to reduce, avoid or sequester emissions through agriculture, forestry, and land use practices (emphasis mine).
Here is where the “cow fart tax” will most likely be implemented.
The bulk of the CLEAR act is simply the creation of new bureaucracies and seizing of states assets and natural resources. The bill simply lays the framework for the enlargement of the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management and, not surprisingly, the Coast Guard*.
With the federal government now claiming it “owns” or controls 64% of all lands west of the Mississippi -- in direct violation of the Constitution, which prohibits the central government from owning property other than forts, bases, and other necessary structures within the sovereign states -- this latest bill is just one more reason to declare the House and Senate a threat to the life and viability of the nation.
History has shown us that allowing the federal government to usurp states in the management of their natural resources has produced massive environmental damage. The eleven westernmost states are riddled with more than 550,000 abandoned mines which have resulted in sink holes appearing spontaneously across these states. The holes fill with groundwater that is polluted beyond reclamation with mercury, sulfur, selenium and other toxins at levels so incredibly high, the water cannot be used, ever. And this is just one aspect of this environmental damage that goes on daily under the direction of the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management. The only thing this department and agency are managing is the theft of resources belonging to the people and the transfer of profits, at any cost, to the government.
The CLEAR Act is nothing more than a system of taxation, fines, fees, penalties and royalties perpetrated by theft of land, water and natural resources from the states. More on this bill as we get into other sections.
*As of 2003, and citing the 1944 provisions, the Coast Guard ceased to be a civil service agency and is now a military branch and is designated by Homeland Security as the “national police” force and empowered to perform police functions not only on the water, but also on land.
July 29, 2010
By The National Cattlemen's Beef Association
What is the Clean Water Restoration Act?
Currently, waters under the jurisdiction of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) are defined as "navigable waters of the United States." Other waters are subject to regulation by individual states, which are better equipped to manage their own unique geographical concerns.
The Clean Water Restoration Act would remove the word "navigable" from the definition, thereby drastically expanding federal regulatory control over all wet areas. In addition, it would grant sweeping authority to regulate all “activities” affecting those waters.
This would amount to a massive land-grab by the government, not to mention an infringement on Americans’ constitutional rights to own and manage property without undue interference from the government.
Unprecedented Expansion of Federal Authority
The Clean Water Restoration Act for the first time would give the federal government broad power to regulate all waters, including:
* Small and intermittent streams
* Creek beds
* Drainage ditches
* Mud holes
All would be subject to federal regulation, including areas that only contain water during snow melts or the rainy season.
Reduces our Ability to Keep Important Waters Clean
Cattlemen don’t oppose efforts to keep our waters clean—in fact, we rely on clean sources of water to feed our animals and nurture our land.
The Clean Water Restoration Act would actually hamper the government’s ability to maintain clean waters. They are already struggling to handle a backlog of 15,000 to 20,000 permit requests.
At a time when our resources are already stretched thin, it is ridiculous to expand the government’s responsibility to mud holes and other wet areas with little to no environmental value to the public.
July 28, 2009
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick is continuing her "Defending Arizona Values" campaign by fighting against big government, as she announced her opposition to a bill (S.787: The Clean Water Restoration Act) greatly expanding federal water regulation.
The bill would remove a critical limitation on the reach of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act), allowing Washington to infringe on property use by farmers, ranchers and small businesses across the district, Kirkpatrick's office said in a press release.
The bill eliminates the Clean Water Act's critical requirement that regulated waterways be "navigable," which would give the government the ability to police everything from creeks that run through farms to standing water in ditches, the press release said, adding that federal officials and courts would be able to hold up activities that do not affect any actual rivers or lakes.
Kirkpatrick feels this bill's goals can be accomplished by enforcing laws already on the books...
"In our communities we support clean water running through our creeks, streams and springs, but we do not support federal regulation that would make things tougher for folks in Greater Arizona... This sort of legislation is exactly why folks in Greater Arizona feel Washington is out of touch with our values. We understand the need to protect our water supply better than any Washington bureaucrat, and we know how to take care of ourselves. I am working hard to make sure that more of our leaders at the national level understand that.""The Arizona Farm Bureau thanks Rep. Kirkpatrick for opposing this legislation. We all support clean water, but this legislation puts all water under federal control," said Kevin Rogers, president of the Arizona Farm Bureau. "It could require me to get a federal permit to clean out an irrigation ditch on my farm. It goes too far."
Nancy Matthis, American Daughter
May 10, 2009
A bill to “clarify the jurisdiction of the United States over waters of the United States” has been introduced in the Senate — S.787, the Clean Water Restoration Act. To read the text of this bill, we recommend using the Open Congress version, which allows you to post citizen comments. Alternatively, the Library of Congress copy is here.
Draconian interpretation of government control of U.S. waters in the earlier Clean Water Act had been somewhat limited by Supreme Court decisions.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI). His remarks before the Senate on the occasion of introducing the bill are here. In his opening statement, Feingold made it clear that his purpose was to recover the Orwellian power that had been impaired by the judiciary by means of legislation:
Mr. President, today I am introducing legislation to restore Clean Water Act protections for the same waters that were covered by the Act prior to two recent divisive U.S. Supreme Court decisions.Here is an enumeration of the waters included:
WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES - The term ‘waters of the United States’ means all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments of the foregoing, to the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting these waters, are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution.Congress justifies its power to meddle in every aspect of American life through the “commerce clause” in the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3):
The Congress shall have Power … to regulate Commerce … among the several States….In short, Congress has the power to prevent any citizen from relying on natural sources of drinking, cooking and bathing water, and water to sustain a home garden.
The founding fathers only intended that Congress should provide a level playing field for interactions between and among the states. In stark contrast to this original intention stands the extension of “waters” to include “all … intrastate waters and their tributaries. The language of this bill enables Congress to come onto a private family farm and dictate what a farmer can do with his duck pond, or even with his cistern, which might conceivably be emptied into a ditch that might eventually flow into an intermittent stream!
This legislation, combined with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, means that every United States citizen may only eat and drink at the pleasure of the government. Of course, most “reasonable” folk will assume that, although the government has this stranglehold on our lives, it will not actually be used for such a purpose.
As German history shows, the extent of governmental social engineering depends on who is in power. Recall that Hitler was elected, and for a time, very popular.
The more fundamental question is whether we are willing to give government such power over us, in the naive expectation that a government proven incapable of protecting us against food-borne salmonella can provide us with adequate food and water safety.
Do we want to take responsibility for assuring our food and water safety ourselves, as informed consumers, or do we want to trust a failed bureaucracy to protect us, at the sacrifice of our fundamental freedom?
Public drinking water supplies, such as those in towns and cities, are governed by state and federal regulations designed to insure safe, clean water for consumers. Unlike those whose water quality is governed by the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act, rural residents must insure that their own water supplies are clean and safe. No regulations exist to govern the levels of contaminants allowable in private wells, nor are there requirements for testing to be done on a regular basis. - Water Testing for Private Well Owners
EPA regulates public water systems; it does not have the authority to regulate private drinking water wells. Approximately 15 percent of Americans rely on their own private drinking water supplies, and these supplies are not subject to EPA standards, although some state and local governments do set rules to protect users of these wells. Unlike public drinking water systems serving many people, they do not have experts regularly checking the water’s source and its quality before it is sent to the tap. These households must take special precautions to ensure the protection and maintenance of their drinking water supplies. - EPA, Private Drinking Water Wells
Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
June 25, 2009
Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) introduced S. 787 on April 2, 2009. The bill, known as the Clean Water Restoration Act, would redefine the government’s control over water. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the Clean Water Restoration Act (S. 787) by a vote of 12-7 on June 18, 2009. As described below, this bill would place virtually all the waters of the United States under federal control.
U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is a ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and has recently issued a warning against the passage of S. 787. The legislation is the "biggest bureaucratic power grab in a generation," Inhofe said.
Since Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) moved to put a hold on S. 787: it cannot be voted on the Senate floor until at least 60 Senators vote to remove the hold. This adds an additional step to the process so the bill can't be rushed through. Hopefully this will force more Senators to read the bill and gain even more opposition to its passage.
Among other things, S. 787 would amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (enacted in 1972) by striking the term “navigable waters” from the bill and replacing it with “waters of the United States.” What does that mean to you? Simply put, it would federalize virtually every water deposit (including private wells) in the nation, placing restrictions on landowners and, therefore, threatening both private property rights and states' rights.
May 8, 2009
Russian Military Analysts are reporting in the Kremlin today that the United States is preparing to take over the ownership of all of the water within its borders away from its citizens and states and outlaw its use except as allowed by its Department of Homeland Security in a move these analysts say will have a ‘chilling effect’ upon these once free people.
According to these reports, the top elite military-political and corporate classes currently ruling the United States ordered the introduction into the US Senate this past week on April 2nd a new law called the Clean Water Restoration Act (S.787 IS) to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act):
- by striking 'navigable waters' each place it appears and inserting 'waters of the United States'
- and then adding:
WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES - The term 'waters of the United States' means all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments of the foregoing, to the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting these waters, are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution.'
Russian military experts, however, point out that in a World where the most precious commodity for human life is growing more scarce by the year, water must be looked at as a national, not private, resource subject to the control of the state for the benefit of all and not just those owning its legal rights...
To how the American people will react to this new grab for power by their government it is not known, other than to point out the fact that these people are growing more desperate by the day with new reports from the US showing that in the first three months of 2009 alone, they have bought enough guns to equip the armies of both China and India combined, and are continuing to ‘run into gun shows’ in panic buying of weapons and ammunition.
But, to the most nefarious motives behind this latest move by the US Government to take all of its nations waters away from its citizens, it can be best understood by the US representatives to this past March’s World Water Forum in Turkey where they were ordered by the Obama Administration to “remove language declaring water as a human right,” and which begs the common sense question:
If these Americans don’t believe water, which a human being will die within days if deprived of, is a human right, what exactly do they believe is one?Their forefathers must be turning over in their graves in utter shame of the slaves they have truly become.
The answer to that question is, and most sadly, that the only rights remaining to the once great American people are those robbing them of their wealth for the benefit of their government, military, propaganda news media and corporate masters to whom they will now have to beg on hands and knees for even the merest sip of water to sustain their lives.
December 14, 2009
Upwards of 40 percent of all land in the United States is already under some form of government control or ownership -- 800 million to 900 million acres out of America's total 2.2 billion acres.
The government now appears poised to wield greater control over private property on a number of fronts. The battle over private property rights has intensified since 2005, when the Supreme Court ruled in the Kelo v. City of New London case that the government could take property from one group of private landowners and give it to another.
Outraged over that ruling and a series of recent efforts by government to wield greater control over private property, citizens are fighting back. Fox News' Shannon Bream takes a fair and balanced look at the controversy in a three-part series.
The Clean Water Restoration Act currently pending in the U.S. Senate could reach to control even a "seasonal puddle" on private property.
Eleven senators and 17 representatives in the U.S. House have sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasting the measure as one of the boldest property grab attempts of all time.
This bill is described by opponents as a sweeping overhaul of the Clean Water Act that could threaten both physical land and jobs by wiping out some farmers entirely.
"Right now, the law says that the Environmental Protection Agency is in charge of all navigable water," said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Western Caucus and an opponent of the bill.
"Well, this bill removes the word 'navigable,' so for ranchers and farmers who have mud puddles, prairie potholes -- anything from snow melting on their land -- all of that water will now come under the regulation of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency," he said. Barrasso said the federal government's one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work in the west where the Rocky Mountain states have gone even further than Washington to protect land, water and the environment.
"The government wants control of all water -- that also means that they want control over all of our land including the private property rights of people from the Rocky Mountain west, the western caucus and the entire United States," he said.But Jan Goldman-Carter of the National Wildlife Foundation said fears by ranchers and farmers are unfounded.
"That amended language is very clear that it preserves long standing exemptions for ongoing agricultural practices, forest roads. There are a number of very generous exemptions in there particularly for ranchers and farmers that I know have been worried about the effect of this legislation, but in fact those worries are largely unfounded," she said.Goldman-Carter added that the United States has long regulated streams and other waterways that aren't 'navigable' by boat because to do otherwise would be to allow dumping into smaller water sources that lead to the larger ones used for drinking water and other purposes.
"I can't imagine anyone wanting to walk down to the stream and dump their oil or paint," she said. "Even if they did they're not going to be enforced against now and they never were, there simply isn't the ability to do that."Aside from striking "navigable," the bill defines U.S. water as "all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds and all impoundments of the foregoing, to the fullest extent that these waters."
It adds that any "activities affecting these waters are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution."
The legislation, introduced by Wisconsin Democratic Sen Russ Feingold, has the support of 24 senators. It passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in June but has not been scheduled for a floor vote, though it could be tacked onto other legislation as an amendment.
Click here to read the bill.
July 28, 2010
By Cassandra Anderson, Infowars.com
July 28, 2010
Thirty states will be encroached upon by Obama’s Executive Order establishing the National Ocean Council for control over America’s oceans, coastlines and the Great Lakes. Under this new council, states’ coastal jurisdictions will be subject to the United Nations’ Law Of Sea Treaty (LOST) in this UN Agenda 21 program. America’a oceans and coastlines will be broken into 9 regions that include the North East, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, the Gulf Coast, West Coast, the Great Lakes, Alaska, the Pacific Islands (including Hawaii) and the Caribbean.
Because of the decades of difficulty that the collectivists have had trying to ratify the Law Of Sea Treaty (LOST), Obama is sneaking it in through the back door, by way of this Executive Order establishing the Council. Because LOST is a treaty, Obama’s Executive Order is not Constitutional as treaty ratification requires 2/3 approval from the Senate. Michael Shaw said that the Agenda 21 Convention on Biodiversity treaty of 1992 failed to pass Congress so it was executed through soft law and administratively on local levels, and Obama’s Executive Order is a similar soft law tactic to enact the LOST treaty.
In fact, our Constitutional form of government is being completely destroyed because buried in the CLEAR Act (HR 3534) there is a provision for a new council to oversee the outer continental shelf- it appears that this Regional Outer Shelf Council will be part of the National Ocean Council. This means that if Congress makes the CLEAR Act into law, then the implementation of the UN Law Of Sea Treaty, as part of the National Ocean Council’s agenda, will be “ratified” in a convoluted and stealth manner, in full opposition to the Constitution and its intent.(1)
The excuse for this extreme action is because of the emergency in the Gulf of Mexico. Obama and Congress have always had the legal and military power to force BP Oil to take all necessary action to stop the gusher and clean the oil spew. While there is evidence that the problems in the Gulf have been a result of collusion and planned incompetence, it begs the question, why in world should America’s oceans and resources be controlled by Obama appointees? ...
THE SMOKING GUN:
Agenda 21 Sustainable Development is the overarching blueprint for depopulation and total control, and the National Ocean Council is clearly an Agenda 21 program:
The National Ocean Council is headed by John Holdren, an avowed eugenicist which is selective breeding through brutal means like forced abortion.
The National Ocean Council’s own report (Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning) incorporates a section of the 1992 Rio Declaration which is an original Agenda 21 document!
In fact, the report says that it will be guided by the Rio Declaration in cases “Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.” This means that regulations will be imposed even if the science is not understood or if the science is based on global warming manipulated data.(6)
The 3 primary tools of Agenda 21’s phony environmentalism are global warming, water shortages and the Endangered Species Act; the National Ocean Council intends to exploit all of these tools to their full extent.
The National Ocean Council’s main objective is to sink American sovereignty through the United Nations Law Of Sea Treaty (LOST) with the intended result of domination by the UN over our coasts and the Great Lakes. LOST originated in the 1970s as a wealth redistribution plan to benefit Third World countries. LOST sets rules for commercial activity beneath the high seas and establishes new international bureaucracies and a tribunal to interpret and apply rules to sea activity. And LOST can proceed with those rules, even against US objections! LOST threatens to complicate deep sea mining. LOST sets a precedent that US rights are dependent upon the approval of international entities. LOST also extends to ocean flowing rivers. (7)
Michael Shaw pointed out that non-elected councils are increasingly expanding their jurisdiction through air quality boards, water quality boards, sewer systems, transportation districts, metropolitan planning, etc. to gain control over resources. Often, large corporations and financial interests form Public- Private Partnerships with the government within these councils.
Breaking areas into regions and placing authority with non-elected councils is a Communist trick used to hijack resources, thereby usurping local and state power by re-zoning the areas that do have Constitutional authority. Appointed bureaucrats are untouchable because their jobs are not dependent upon serving the voting population. And they are usually inaccessible to the public and do not have to face those who are affected by their “insider” decisions. When state and local governments become corrupt, the public is able to confront them eye to eye, but distant bureaucrats can avoid accountability. Regionalism is used as a psychological tactic to intimidate state legislatures into creating the system for a new political and economic order. (8)
Obama’s Executive Order that has created the 9 new regions amounts to re-zoning, and his appointed bureaucrats are answerable only to him. In David Horton’s testimony in 1978 on regionalism, he said that the State of Indiana made this declaration, “Neither the states nor Congress have ever granted authority to any branch or agency of the federal government to exercise regional control over the states.” Horton further stated that Congress holds all legislative power that is granted in the Constitution, as opposed to Executive Orders that are not legislative. Therefore, Obama’s Executive Order for re-zoning and appointing a governing body to usurp state and local power is Constitutionally invalid. (9)
The public must become aware of state sovereignty and the Tenth Amendment to demand that state and local governments assert these Constitutional laws and principles.
COASTAL AND MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING REPORT:
This is a general overview of the new National Ocean Council’s goals based on its 32-page report that uses indirect language and acronyms in order to confuse the public and local lawmakers. Depopulation advocates, globalists and collectivists, like John Holdren, faced opposition a few decades ago when they clearly expressed their objectives, so now documents are written in complicated and clouded language to fool those they wish to control. (10)
This report states that the Council’s jurisdiction will extend from the continental shelf to the coast AND additional inland areas will be involved. The National Ocean Council identifies “partners” as members of each regional planning body that will include federal, state, local and tribal authorities, with a top-down hierarchy of control.
The intentions of the Council are stated on page 8 of the report that include implementing LOST and other international treaties. The report also states that the Council’s plans shall be implemented by Executive Orders, in addition to federal and state laws. This section mentions ‘global climate change’ which is a new term substituted for ‘man made global warming’ after manipulated data and lies were exposed in numerous global warming scandals. ‘Climate change’ is blamed for sea level rise and acidification of oceans; evidence exists that these are global warming deceptions. (11)
The stated goals of the Council include regulating investments, collaborating with unidentified international agencies, controlling public access to oceans and “protecting” ecosystems. This means that commerce and trade will be controlled by the Council, the UN will gain power over American oceans and the Great Lakes through UN subagencies, public access will be limited and the Endangered Species Act will be unleashed, with heavy regulations. Incidentally, the Endangered Species Act is based on 5 international treaties. It has never had a successful result: of the 60 species that have been de-listed, not a single species was saved as a result of any restrictions stemming from the Endangered Species Act! (12)
The targeted areas for Endangered Species Act regulations are the the Great Lakes, the Gulf Coast, Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, South Florida and the San Francisco Bay (the Bay Delta is where the irrigation water for farmers was was cut off using the Endangered Species Act, causing food shortages, an increase in food imports and massive economic devastation).
While this report does not clearly outline how the National Ocean Council’s schemes will be financed, regulatory permits for all activity on the water and mining (oil) leases will play a part, along with tax increases. The report does indicate that grants and assistance programs will be available so that state, local and tribal authorities will support the Council’s “efforts”. In other words, the Council will try to buy off the state and local governments to “collectively use” them for a base of support and influence.(pg. 28) Strings are always attached to federal money. The federal government and the Council are reliant on state and local governments for implementation through state and local legal authority, which means that state and local authorities hold the power to implement or refuse the Council’s directives, especially under the Tenth Amendment.
However, the report does state that disputes will be settled by consensus, if consensus fails, then the decisions will ultimately be made by the President. He is Commander in Chief of the Navy and has the power of the military behind him. Further, the report indicates that legislative changes and more Executive Orders may be necessary to achieve control.
An important point is made on page 5, which states, “Strong partnerships among Federal, State, tribal and local authorities, and regional governance structures would be essential to a truly forward-looking, comprehensive CMSP effort.” This means that the states, local governments and tribes have power. Our collectivist government needs the consent of the state, local and tribal authorities, to implement this scheme, otherwise, the feds wouldn’t bother to include these Constitutional authorities. If the state, local and tribal authorities are aware of, and willing to act on their Constitutional authority, then they can limit this federal power grab through the Tenth Amendment.
The report further states that signing onto the Council’s plan would be an “express commitment by the partners to act in accordance with the plan…” (pg. 20) Therefore, it is imperative that all of the states be aware of the Council’s intended usurpation and carefully protect their Constitutional jurisdictions and sovereignty. There are 30 states that will be affected by this new council. (pg. 12)
The Council’s strategy plan will go into effect immediately, fully developing Agenda 21 objectives and undue UN influence within 5 years. Interestingly, one article said that if state, local and tribal authorities choose not to participate in in writing the plans, the plans would be written without them. Therefore, it bears repeating that state and local governments must protect their Constitutional authority when dealing with the Council. The Constitutional authority that states and local governments have can only be taken if the power is given away.
SAVING OUR COUNTRY:
If your freedom is important to you, the most effective action that you can take is to e-mail this article and Michael Shaw’s “Understanding Agenda 21 Sustainable Development” booklet to all of your State Legislators, County Commissioners/ Superintendents and City Council members.
Here is the the link for the Agenda 21 downloadable booklet:
Tell all of your friends, co-workers and neighbors about Agenda 21 Sustainable Development and how it is destroying our country. The National Ocean Council is detrimental on so many levels and the time to act is now. If state and local officials refuse to stand up against this federal incursion, they must be thrown out of office in favor of representatives who support the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment.
For more information about local action, visit www.FreedomAdvocates.org.
Visit www.MorphCity.com for a special video presentation on July 30th for an interview with a local official who upheld the Constitution against encroachment by the federal government.
May 29, 2010
May 29, 2010
Agenda 21 Sustainable Development is the overarching blueprint for depopulation and total control, using the environment as the excuse for that control. The three major tools that are used are:
— Global warming
— Water Shortages
— Endangered Species Act
In the case of the California Delta, man made water shortages have been imposed on farmers by way of the ESA (Endangered Species Act) for the last three years. Still, the Delta smelt populations have declined, despite the restrictions. While the federal government refused to acknowledge that the cause for the decline in smelt populations was due to up to 1 BILLION gallons of partially treated sewage being flushed into the Delta per day, they blamed the water pumps for the decline in smelt. Their disastrous solution was to cut the water flow to farmers (who supply our country with 50% of its produce and nuts), thereby increasing the water levels in the Delta to dilute pollution.
This didn’t work, smelt populations declined. In fact, California had a wetter-than-usual winter, and instead of allowing more water to be delivered to farms, when the Shasta Reservoir filled to its safe capacity level, the water was bled out into the Pacific Ocean. Due to mounting pressure against the corrupt Department of Interior and obvious waste of water, the federal pump’s water delivery was increased in some areas. Many allege that this was also in part due to Central Valley Congressmen Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa voting in favor of Obamacare in trade for water to the farm areas. Ironically, the farms were promised 25% of the amount of water that had been contracted (40% is what is needed to keep the farms viable). Further, the farmers were promised a delivery up to 25% but they were only guaranteed a 5% increase, thereby making it difficult for them to get loans because the farmers, in turn, couldn’t guarantee a harvest with only a 5% increase of water.
Last week, Patricia Gilbert, a professor of ecology and oceanography from the University of Maryland, concluded that the smelt decline was a result of high ammonium levels from urine and feces. Specifically, she cited that the pollution was coming primarily from Sacramento, which doesn’t fully process its sewage before it is dumped into the Delta. Dr. Patricia Gilbert was then forced to resign from the National Academy of Sciences panel. The Academy forced her resignation because she went public with the information, and they found it a conflict of interest for her to review her own work. This is incredibly hypocritical, given the profound conflicts of interest within the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Sciences is a quasi-governmental agency, created during Lincoln’s administration. The Academy advises the government in scientific matters in order to set public policy and law. The NAS is also a tax exempt private corporation (they do not publish their financial records on their website, nor do they list their donors). NAS is subsidized by federal grants and other “contributions” from undisclosed donors. New members are elected by current members, thus ensuring cronyism, a depopulation agenda and fraud.
For example, some of the prestigious members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) include Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren, Gene Likens and Frederick Bormann, and Mario J. Molina.
John Holdren (Obama’s current science czar) and Paul Ehrlich are rabid eugenicists -- supporters of selective breeding often through brutal means like genocide and forced sterilization, who co-authored ‘Ecoscience’, which advocates a “global police force” to enforce totalitarian measures of population control that includes forced abortions and mass sterilization programs conducted via the food and water supply, among other horrors. It is interesting to note that Ehrlich’s work also appears in the United Nations Agenda 21 Global Biodiversity Assessment Report.
Gene Likens, along with Frederick Bormann, invented acid rain. In 1980, the NAS predicted acid rain would double the number of acid-dead lakes within 10 years, so a $600 million dollar study by the US government, that spanned 10 years, discredited Liken’s theory. Dr. Ed Krug found that acidity in the Adirondack lakes was not caused by coal processing in Pennsylvania (as theorized by Likens) but by local plants and soil. Because of the enthusiasm of policy makers, this scientific scandal was hidden until 60 Minutes got hold of it and it became widely publicized. After awhile, people forgot about Liken’s and Bormann’s science fraud and acid rain regulations were written into the federal Clean Air Act. The EPA trashed Dr. Ed Krug’s career thereafter.
Mario J. Molina, a professor at MIT, won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for creating alarmism over the ozone hole in the Antarctic, for which he blamed CFCs (chlorofluorocarbon gases from refrigerants and aerosol products like hairspray). Freon refrigerants were vilified as a major cause of the Arctic ozone depletion. It later came to light that ozone over the Arctic cyclically thins for a brief period of time, and there is no hole. However, corporate-controlled policy makers rushed to ban freon because the DuPont patent was expiring on it, and DuPont would lose the monopoly because other companies could manufacture freon cheaply. DuPont did own a patent on an alternative product that was more expensive and more difficult to produce, so freon was banned.
There is an obvious lack of easily accessible information about who funds the National Academy of Sciences in addition to the US federal government; clearly, the ruling-elite monopoly owners have an overwhelming amount of ‘influence’. There is evidence of financial ties to the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation, who are cohorts in depopulation of the planet, as evidenced by the support of Rockefeller’s Population Council.
The lawsuit to save the California Delta smelt and to close down the water pumps, based on the corrupt Endangered Species Act, was brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council and is funded by the Ford Foundation (the annual budget is $87 million dollars). The California Delta smelt debacle is a model of how the globalists plan to create water shortages via the Endangered Species Act in order to pursue the objectives of Agenda 21 (depopulation and control). Therefore, science should be scrutinized.
Valid science is independent and does not have a political or economic agenda attached to it.
Valid science considers ALL data, as opposed to ignoring that which does not fit in its paradigm.
Valid science has reproducible results.
Valid science freely provides information to the public without the necessity of the Freedom of Information Act.
The good news: Federal Judge Oliver Wanger ruled on May 25, 2010, that the biological opinion, provided by the National Marine Fisheries Services, a sub agency of the Department of Interior, failed to consider the impact that turning off the federal pump (owned by the Department of Interior) had on humans. Therefore, he allowed the pump to be reactivated at 40% -- enough to irrigate farms until June 15th, and then the case will be revisited. It is important to remember that the Department of Interior also determines which species are ‘endangered’.
While there are many good scientists out there, when public policy is concerned, or an economic agenda is at stake, we can see what happens to them as evidenced by Dr. Ed Krug and Dr. Patricia Gilbert. The NAS wanted to wait until Fall 2011 to issue their recommendation on the Delta issue, but now their advice is becoming irrelevant. In fact, this is a perfect model of how we can rid ourselves of tyranny. Because Dr. Patricia Gilbert took her results public, which clearly pointed the finger at the sewage issue, a condition that can be easily remedied, the Academy’s scientific edict may no longer matter. We can win against environmental tyranny through exposure -- it worked with ‘Climategate’, and it is unfolding in the Delta right now. Massive exposure of fraudulent science is an effective way to end Agenda 21; when respect for authority (of science) disappears, people stop following corrupt leaders.
March 14, 2010
Irish Times - Forget peak oil. Forget climate change. Peak water is where it’s at, according to Scottish journalist and broadcaster, Alexander Bell, who has just written a fascinating book, Peak Water (Luath Press, Scotland).
“It’s the coming issue of our age,” says Bell. “Civilisation is thirsty. It has never stopped to think about what would happen if the water ran out.”And while Bell acknowledges tackling climate change is important, he firmly states peak water would have happened with or without it ...
The idea of valuing water as a precious resource links right into the same issues raised by climate change.
In fact, the idea of an individual water footprint has already been raised. A water footprint encompasses the reality that we affect water beyond our borders when countries that have a short supply of water grow and make things that have a heavy demand on water.
Bell suggests that revaluing water across the globe would take a radical shift. He explains how, because water is growing scarce in traditional wheat-, rice- and maize-growing areas of the US, India and Pakistan, it should be possible that the wet north could replace production, in part.
He also suggests that the north European (and now North American) model of industrialised, liberal, capitalist society may be best suited to wet countries. Secondly, he suggests we are quite used to making naturally occurring materials such as coal or oil into assets, so why not water? There is already a price on water in some places but putting a price on water that changes people’s usage habits (both personal and agricultural) is a broader issue. Bell says:
“We should be the ones who build new houses with composting toilets and reed beds to clean the waste water. We should instigate rainwater collection on a large scale . . . We should ensure that more food is grown for local consumption. The wet world should grow vital food for the dry world.”Bell also brings up the widely held belief that the next wars to be fought in the world will be over water. In fact, he states that such wars have already occurred in some places – for example, between Pakistan and India. And the investment bank Goldman Sacks has dubbed water the petroleum for the next century.
“With the Cold War over and the threat from mass nuclear deployment apparently gone, we have switched our fears to a water war,” he writes.According to Bell, what both threats show is that we fear our capacity to self-destruct (many would argue that much of the rhetoric around climate change comes from the same place).
He adds: “the reality of changing our water use is colossal. It calls for a new kind of civilisation built on global co-operation. The penalty for not doing this will be widespread social chaos.”
March 10, 2010
In yet another example of government overstepping its bounds, the Obama administration is preparing to ban fishing in coastal areas around the country, as well as the Great Lakes and other inland water resources:
This announcement comes at the time when the situation supposedly still is “fluid” and the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force still hasn’t issued its final report on zoning uses of these waters.
That’s a disappointment, but not really a surprise for fishing industry insiders who have negotiated for months with officials at the Council on Environmental Quality and bureaucrats on the task force. These angling advocates have come to suspect that public input into the process was a charade from the beginning.
“When the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) completed their successful campaign to convince the Ontario government to end one of the best scientifically managed big game hunts in North America (spring bear), the results of their agenda had severe economic impacts on small family businesses and the tourism economy of communities across northern and central Ontario,” said Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano.
“Now we see NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the administration planning the future of recreational fishing access in America based on a similar agenda of these same groups and other Big Green anti-use organizations, through an Executive Order by the President. The current U.S. direction with fishing is a direct parallel to what happened in Canada with hunting: The negative economic impacts on hard working American families and small businesses are being ignored.
“In spite of what we hear daily in the press about the President’s concern for jobs and the economy, and contrary to what he stated in the June order creating this process, we have seen no evidence from NOAA or the task force that recreational fishing and related jobs are receiving any priority.”
Banning “recreational” fishing isn’t just an issue of economics, but is a threat to the personal liberty of each individual’s right to produce their own food. And banning fishing is just one of several policy changes the government is looking at.
In Federal Food Police Coming Soon To A Farm Near You, Tess Pennington points out the risks of letting the government oversee individual food production methods under HR Bill 875 and The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which specifically target agricultural goods, including crops and livestock on personal, non-commercial farms:
What is to stop the government from defining a small home garden as a food facility? Because of the vagueness of this bill, it is not only the micro farmers that are affected by this. Anyone who has a garden, or shares their produce with neighbors or even owns a local restaurant that supports local farmers and buys their produce could be affected. We could all be affected and pay the price dearly for not speaking up. Many say that this bill is unconstitutional in that state rights will be stripped away. If passed, the state cannot go in and take care of the problem. It is a federal issue, thus will have federal repercussions.
Slowly but surely, the federal government is moving towards eliminating the ability of individual Americans to produce their own food -- a direct attack on our lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
For an administration with so much focus on “sustainability” it is ironic that they are attacking the very core of the sustainability movement -- the individual. As more restrictions on the public are cemented through use of Congressional mandates and Presidential Executive Orders, the rights of individuals to take their well being into their own hands is further impeded.
Of course, under recent administrations, government is the answer for everything. The rugged individual or neo-survivalist is now becoming the fringe extremist. Why would someone need to produce their own food when they could drive down to the local Walmart or Super Target and pickup up all the genetically modified food they need, manufactured under pristine conditions in one of several centralized processing plants?
All of these proposed changes aimed at our ability to produce our own food seem to fall, in part, under the United Nations’ Agenda 21 initiatives, which are touted as “sustainability development” programs. It seems, however, that the UN’s ideas for sustainable living focus more on collectivists ideologies than they do on the individual. Rather than teaching individuals to become self sustaining, the goal of the UN’s Agenda 21 initiative is for the government to provide sustainability to the population. And according to Michael Shaw, president of Freedom Advocates, Agenda 21 can be summarized by three points and are supported by the documents prepared by the United Nations.
The goals of the UN include the abolition of rural and suburban private property, global citizenship education, and population control. It sounds scary, perhaps even unbelievable.But don’t take our word for it, read the Agenda 21 Core Publications at the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development.
Based on this evidence, it is important to note that it is not only Barrack Obama that is pushing for restrictions on your ability to fish, or grow food, or manage your own livestock for personal use. This is a global effort with the dictates coming from the United Nations, and it has been happening for several decades.
Terrorism against our food supply and unsanitary conditions during food production are only minor issues to our food security when compared to what may be the greatest threat facing sustainable living -- our very own government.
March 2, 2010
March 1, 2010
A few county water suppliers are concerned that water-pumping restrictions being set by the county’s groundwater management district will prevent them from being able to serve future water consumers.
Well owners will have to apply for permanent historic-use-production permits through the Southern Trinity Groundwater Conservation District.
The permits will grant each well owner a maximum amount of water that may be pumped each year based on the well’s historic water use and the total number of wells in McLennan County.
The county’s combined water usage must not exceed 20,194 acre-feet — about 6.6 billion gallons — of water each year, an allowance set by the Texas Water Development Board.
Purdis Medlin, president of the Levi Water Supply Corp. in the Lorena area, told the district’s board at its biweekly meeting last week that limiting well owners’ water usage to historic levels could leave them unable to meet water demands if any new development occurs.
“We have people that were planning on developing some land in our area. But I’m concerned that if all we get is [based upon] our historic use, then we won’t be able to issue any more meters,” Medlin said.James Smith of the Texas Rural Water Association attended the meeting with Medlin.
Smith monitors the rules mandated by different groundwater-conservation districts across the state and said Medlin’s concerns are shared by numerous other small water suppliers.
“If there’s new development, there will be an increased need for water. But if the suppliers can’t exceed their historic use, what we’re looking at is how restrictive that may be in providing water to consumers,” Smith said. “I think it’s something that the districts will have to consider as this progresses.”Possible solution
Al Blair, an Austin-based civil engineer who has served as a consultant for the district on its groundwater-management plan, said one solution is to have water suppliers apply for additional, nonhistoric use production permits. That would guarantee them more water for their customer base.
However, those permits will be awarded only after the historic-use permits have been issued.
“I think it’s too early in the process to make that claim, that there won’t be enough water,” Blair said. “What our goal is right now is we want to protect the water being used now.Blair said the Texas Water Development Board also is likely to review those water allowances in the next five years. The board potentially could increase the amount of water allotted to each region and grant more water to well owners.
“We want to protect it and make sure you maintain that water and that it is not diminished. Then I believe we may have some room after that to guarantee water providers additional water for their future use.”
The water district will have a meeting at 6 p.m. March 18 at the Hewitt Community Center, 208 Chama Drive, to answer well owners’ questions about the permit application.
February 5, 2010
February 4, 2010
Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, will consider Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection along with tax increases and asset sales as options to address $68 million in debt service payments due this year, the chairwoman of a City Council committee said last night.
Every option, including tax and fee increases, bankruptcy and a state takeover through Pennsylvania’s Act 47 municipal oversight program will be considered, said Susan Brown-Wilson, chairwoman of the Budget and Finance Committee, which began a week of hearings last night to consider a 2010 spending plan.
The $68 million in debt service payments that Harrisburg faces in connection with the construction of a waste incinerator this year is four times what the city of 47,000 expects to raise through property taxes, and $4 million more than the city’s entire proposed operating budget.
“We need to see, what does Act 47 do for us; what does bankruptcy do,” Wilson said in an interview during a break in the opening budget hearing at Harrisburg City Hall. “You have to have all of them on the table.”Harrisburg skipped more than $3.5 million in debt-service and swap payments last year, prompting draws on reserves and back-up payments by Dauphin County, where Harrisburg is located. The county has sued the city to recover its payments.
Wilson was among five Council members who voted last year to reject a 2010 budget proposal by former mayor Stephen Reed, who left office last month after 18 years. The proposal would have attempted to cover the debt service costs by selling assets such as an historic downtown market, an island in the Susquehanna River that includes the city’s minor-league baseball stadium, and the city’s parking, sewer and water systems.
The plan to raise $69 million by selling downtown features was reinstated last month by Linda Thompson, the newly elected mayor, in a substitute budget. The seven-member council has until Feb. 15 to approve a final 2010 budget.
Brown-Wilson said she would support leasing only city assets that don’t generate revenue, as the parking and water systems do.
Carol Cocheres, bond counsel for the incinerator’s operator, the Harrisburg Authority, told the city council at a Dec. 14 hearing that the city is already in danger of legal action for payments that were missed last year on $288 million in debt it has guaranteed with its full faith and credit.
“There’s never been a default like this in Pennsylvania municipal history,” she said. “This is all new territory.”Risking Suit
Cocheres told council members that by skipping payments that are made on behalf of the authority, the city risks being sued and ordered to raise taxes or fees by Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp., formerly FSA Insurance, which has insured the bonds, or by the deal’s trustee, TD Bank.
City Controller Dan Miller, who was vice president of the council until January, has advocated bankruptcy as an alternative to selling assets.
Harrisburg’s credit rating was lowered two levels below investment grade to Ba2 by Moody’s Investors Service in October. The city faces a $164 million deficit over the next five years, mostly because of debt created by the incinerator, according to Management Partners Inc. of Cincinnati, a consulting firm hired to study the city’s finances as part of a state review.
January 16, 2010
January 16, 2010
In a move cheered by environmental groups, the federal government on Friday proposed stringent limits on "nutrient'' pollution allowed to foul Florida's waterways.
The ruling -- which will cost industries and governments more than a billion dollars to comply -- marks the first time the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has intervened to set a state's water-quality standards.
"I'm thrilled,'' said Linda Young, director of the Clean Water Network, an advocacy group. "It is something that will ultimately start restoring Florida's waters.''The agency issued the proposed regulations after reaching a settlement in August with five environmental groups that sued the federal government in 2008 for not enforcing the Clean Water Act in Florida.
The caps on phosphorus and nitrogen levels in Florida's lakes, rivers, streams, springs and canals would replace the state's vague "narrative'' approach to monitoring the effects of waste and fertilizer runoff, which the EPA deemed insufficient. The proposed rule includes provisions giving the EPA oversight authority to enforce the standards.
In Florida, 16 percent of rivers, 36 percent of lakes and 25 percent of estuaries are considered impaired, according to a 2008 report. Nutrient pollution is the most prevalent water-pollution problem in the state, contributing to algae blooms that kill fish and cause respiratory problems and infections among boaters and beachgoers. It also causes economic damage to property values, tourism and commercial fishing.
"New water-quality standards will help protect and restore inland waters that are a critical part of Florida's history, culture and economic prosperity,'' said Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator in the EPA's Office of Water, in a statement.More than 10 years ago, the EPA told states to set limits on nutrient pollution.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection spent eight years collecting data and planned to present a draft proposal to a group of scientists and industry representatives last August. But the department abandoned the effort when the federal government interceded.
The EPA proposed standards based on geography and the type of water body using the state's data but its own methodology, which was reviewed by an independent authority, according to the 197-page report.
The agency's numbers don't deviate too greatly from what state regulators intended, though the federal standards are tougher when it comes to pollution in rivers and streams.
Take, for example, the Suwannee River basin: the state wanted to allow 1.730 parts per million of total nitrogen but the EPA set the number lower at 1.479 parts per million.
The EPA also went further than state regulators by proposing water-quality standards for South Florida canals and creating more rigid standards on upstream nutrient levels to protect downstream lakes and estuaries.
In other areas, the rules would give Florida flexibility by establishing a procedure for gradual compliance and allowing the state to set limits in certain areas.
Federal analysts estimated it would cost polluters $1.1 billion to $1.5 billion to comply -- but emphasized the state's draft proposal would have cost nearly the same amount. The cost estimates don't include the price tag for upgrading municipal stormwater systems.
A spokesman for Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Sole said the department was still reviewing the report late Friday and didn't have a response.
But a coalition of agriculture and industry groups -- which formed two months ago to oppose the EPA rules -- responded quickly by calling the proposed limits a "water tax.''
"This terrible regulation is not needed because Florida nutrient standards are perfectly adequate,'' said Jim Alves, a lobbyist who represents power companies and wastewater utilities. "The science isn't there to do this regulation.''Barney Bishop, the president of Associated Industries of Florida, said the cost -- which his group estimates at more than $50 billion -- would hurt business recruitment and job creation.
"It's onerous, stupid, ridiculous and idiotic,'' he said.Ever since the lawsuit settlement, political officials and special interests have waded into the debate. Gov. Charlie Crist, Attorney General Bill McCollum and Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson previously voiced strong objections and suggested the state might sue the EPA.
The issue is expected to generate intense political debate ahead of three public hearings throughout the state in February. The final rule takes effect in October.