How Long Until The Rust Belt Becomes The Life Belt?


Alabama is contemplating a pipeline to the Great Lakes. We've said it time and again: transient drought will not drive the US Federal government to pipe Great Lakes water to the drought stricken states. If it becomes severe enough, and the impacts come as fast as they did during the Dust Bowl era of the 1930's, it will be the citizens that move to the water and jobs, not the other way around.

Let's not forget that agriculture is the largest consumptive water use category and that farmers in Alabama, like farmers everywhere, want their share of corn ethanol profits. Check out this headline from Southeast Farm Press: Interest in corn production hits fever-pitch in north Alabama. Not to mention, pumping water over thousands of miles takes a great deal of energy - gasoline-fueled water pumps possibly? Insanity.

Have a look at the US Geological Survey graphic (pictured) in which the color brown denotes severe hydrologic drought - dried up streams and wells in other words. There are thirsty folks in the Great Lakes region that will be clamoring for their own pipelines.

These realities won't stop the drought stricken from having their mirage, however. Reminds us of those cartoons from the early 1960's where the character is lost in the desert and hallucinating an Oasis on the horizon."A University of Alabama at Birmingham professor recently posed the idea of piping Great Lakes water to the Sunbelt as a way to solve water shortages in the South."

"A local conservationist [in Wisconsin] called the idea by Professor James Slack "a national threat" to the Great Lakes, but says such suggestions are gaining traction."

""It's not that we want to be greedy about our water resources," said Anne Sayers, program director for the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. "But we do want to be sure that, if forced to share water, that other states and communities are wise about the water they do have.""

"That may be just one thing to look at among a wide variety of things," said Slack, a professor in UAB's Department of Government, who said Friday that he is unsure whether he even supports the idea of a pipeline. "Do I think there are other solutions? Absolutely," said Slack, an Ohio-native who said he grew up near the Great Lakes. "Is this one so outrageous? I don't know...All I was trying to do was raise some ideas" about a long-term problem," he said."

We looked for Jack's bio at UAB. All we found was a James D. Slack and no photo:- "Dr. Slack is Professor in the Department of Government. He specializes in human resource management and anti-discriminatory practices in the public workplace. He is the author several books and numerous peer reviewed publications."

Via:: Green Bay Press Gazette, "Coalition aims to save water from Great Lakes" Image credit:: USGS.

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