Here We Go Again, Another Dam

HooverDamFrontWater
Source: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

The United States Army Corps of Engineers have given a water agency in Colorado’s Front Range the green light to build a large dam and reservoir to divert and store water from the Colorado River – the first such project that has been permitted in decades.

The $400 million Chimney Hollow dam and reservoir is designed to “firm” water supply to nearly a dozen quickly growing communities in Colorado’s Front Range communities, north of Denver. In water parlance, firming refers to making a variable water supply secure.

Feds Issue Permit for Large Dam on Colorado River Headwaters, Water Deeply, May 31 2017, by Mary Catherine O’Connor

I’ll start off by saying, “This is insane!” Gary Wockner, director of Save the Colorado River,  points out that the Colorado River “is already the most dammed, drained, depleted river on the planet – with every drop drained before it reaches the Gulf of California.” The Colorado River provides water to over 40 million people in the Southwestern states. Currently its two major reservoirs, Lakes Powell and Mead, are already only half full. The Colorado River use to drain into the Gulf of California providing for a rich farming area in northern Mexico. Those days are long gone.

The purpose of the dam is to provide water to the Front Range communities north of Denver. While it is true that these communities are growing at a fast rate and will need water, there are other alternatives available. As a former Californian experienced in living with droughts, I have been living in a Front Range community for 10+ years. I have not witnessed my water district supporting any education about water use. If I ask people around here to describe their water shed, I’m met with blank stares. These Front Range communities have large green lawns and enjoy generous maximum water usage amounts before a higher tiered rate is applied.

In times of drought, water use restriction have been mild compared to what I dealt with in California. Before we dam an over-taxed river, there needs to be some eduction in Colorado. The accelerated rate of building residential properties should take into consideration our existing water supply and restrict building that exceeds the current capacity. Damming rivers is a last resort, not a first resort. Below is a picture of the headwaters area of the Colorado River. A dam and the infrastructure required to built a dam does not belong in this remote area.

 

Kawuneeche_Valley
Kawuneeche Valley, Rocky Mountains, Colorado River, USA (cc) Darekk2

 

EPA’s Climate Change Page

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“We are currently updating our website to reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.” Given that statement, I guess the EPA’s Climate Change page will remain in a state of being updated for quite some time.

However, the City of Chicago has published the EPA’s former Climate Change page and the underlying archive of information.

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You can visit the City of Chicago/EPA Climate Change page and obtain current information about climate change and how it affects us. It is being hosted on the City of Chicago’s website.

The Wall, Again

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United States Border Patrol at Algodones Sand Dunes, California, USA. 
Source: Department of Homeland Security, United States Border Patrol

 Trump’s wall is unChristian. Trump’s wall is anti-Christian. Christians who supported Trump should be publicly asked if they support his wall. Call them up. Members of Congress who will be asked to approve funding to build Trump’s wall should be told by the Christians in their districts to vote against it. Call them up.

Christians Can Stop Trump’s Wall
Sojourners, April 26, 2017, by Jim Wallis

The wall, intended to halt illegal immigration, would also block many rivers and streams. This consequence has not yet been discussed much. The wall itself could restrict water flow important to farms and cities on both sides of the border. This could worsen water pollution and lead to flooding disasters. It might also change groundwater recharge in areas fed by rivers.

Trump’s Border Wall Could Have Lasting Effect on Rivers, Water Supply
Water Deeply, April 24, 2017, by Matt Weiser

Mexican engineers believe construction of the border barrier may violate a 47-year-old treaty governing the shared waters of the Rio Grande. If Mexico protests, the fate of the wall could end up in an international court.

Mexico Worries That A New Border Wall Will Worsen Flooding
National Public Radio (KRWG), April 25, 2017, by John Burnett

Twitler to Order Review of National Monuments, Including Bears Ears

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Bear Ears, Utah (Source: U.S. Geological Survey (https://3dparks.wr.usgs.gov/nabr/html2/nb077.htm) Public Domain)

 

President Donald Trump this week will order a review of national monument designations — including southern Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — as part of a wide look at a century-old law that allows presidents to set aside federal lands without congressional approval.

On Wednesday, Trump will sign an executive order to demand that the Interior Department secretary examine all national monument designations in the past 21 years to discern whether their size and scope are within the law’s intent, a move that tracks clearly with concerns of members of Utah’s federal delegation about the use of the unilateral presidential power in designating monuments.

Trump to Order Review of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase
The Salt Lake Tribune, April 23, 2017, by Thomas Burr

It was a great day (Dec. 28, 2016) when President Obama issued the proclamation establishing Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. I have been supporting the establishment of this National Monument for a long time. There are many attributes that make this National Monument so special. The collaboration of five sovereign tribal nations is outstanding. These nations are:  Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Indian Tribe. For more information (and lovely pictures) please visit the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition. This land needs to be protected from drilling, dumping, road building, and fracking. Not all of Utah deserves to be poisoned.

Snippets …

writing2Last year, melting permafrost in Siberia released a strain of anthrax, which had been sealed in a frozen reindeer carcass, sickening 100 people and killing one child. In July 2015, during the hottest month ever recorded on earth (until the following year), and the hottest day ever recorded in England (until the following summer), the Guardian newspaper had to shut down its live-blogging of the heat wave when the servers overheated.

The New York Times Magazine, April 19, 2017. Our Climate Future is Actually Our Climate Present by Jon Mooallem.

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.

The Guardian, April 17, 2017. Receding Glacier Causes Immense Canadian River to Vanish in Four Days by Hannah Devlin.

Over the last eight years, food policy has gone from being a topic for industry insiders and wonks, to a regular staple on mainstream America’s menu of interests.

Case in point: A plurality of Americans now believe healthy food should be more affordable, farm subsidies should be used to grow that healthy food, farming should happen in harmony with the environment, and food system workers should be treated—and paid—fairly.

By most any measure, the prospects for advancing a progressive food and agriculture agenda now seem grim. But all is not entirely lost, and some advocates are working to create a national food strategy—a centralized list of federal policies, priorities, and principles to guide our nation’s food system.

Civil Eats, April 18, 2017. In Trump’s America, Navigating a Path for a Progressive National Food Strategy by Steve Holt.

Cashing In!

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“Exxon Mobil is seeking permission from the U.S. government for approval to resume drilling around the Black Sea with a Russian partner, state-owned Rosneft, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The oil giant’s request is being reviewed by the Trump administration and is certain to draw extra scrutiny because it involves a company formerly run by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who cultivated close ties with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.”

AP Source: Exxon Seeks OK to Resume Russian Oil Venture, By MARTIN CRUTSINGER and DAVID KOENIG, Associated Press