Drought Politics In Colorado - Candidate For Governor Fostering State's Rights Or Ignorant Provocation?
Image credit:Colorado Trout Unlimited.
Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes seems to have a habit of hitting the xenophia-flavored cool aid. April's recent post covered his ranting about how promoting bike riding is part of a world government conspiracy designed to steal personal freedoms. At the time I thought 'well...it might win him some Tea Party-style votes and he won't lose too many bike riders who otherwise would have supported him.' Maes' latest proclamation on environment (upending a century of water law) is likely to terrify neighboring state governors, business executives, and real estate developers so that conservation seems a side issue. Speaking before the Colorado Water Congress, Maes said, according to the Colorado Independent, and other sources ""I have a pretty simple policy on water so far: If it starts in Colorado, it's our water,"" The Independent clearly explains the explosive political and legal implications of this statement by Maes:
One water attorney, who asked not to be named, said that what Maes apparently wants to do "amounts to a taking of private property."Sentiments like this have always existed and always will. Whether it's a factory manager beefing about the cost of meeting his plant's air pollution permit limits, BP treating the Gulf of Mexico as their own, or a dairy farmer aggrieved over having to keep his manure out of a river, it's all based on the same instinct: 'I got mine, too bad for you.'
This is first time since the early 1970's I've seen a politician calling for destructive transformation of social norms and environmental laws to directly impact millions of lives - in a bad way. As intentions go, it's way beyond the Texas Republican Party's long-standing platform of "eliminate the EPA" and the Bush Administration's plainly stated environmental deregulation direction. If this level of "I got mine" thinking catches on among large numbers of politicians, however, we can just forget about climate legislation and anything else designed to protect the Commonwealth.
What to do?
Get out the vote, is what.
Important footnotes of distinction.
Great Lakes water rights, a whole different kettle of fish, are managed under international as well as interstate accords. By law, water can not be exported from the GL basin.
What happened with Georgia and surrounding states during the recent drought affecting Atlanta demonstrates that the politics of 'not enough rain' are not just a Western issue.