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Thursday, December 11, 2003

Big Bend National Park
You see desert, mountains, beautiful scenery in a fragile landscape. Republicans see just one more way to make a quick buck. The picture is from Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas, as close to the middle of nowhere as I've ever been. Aside from the few National Park facilities and a couple of places to hire rafts, the nearest towns on either side of the Rio Grande are about 100 miles away, in a landscape just as dry and barren. So how are these Midland maniacs going to turn a buck out here? By drilling for water and shipping it El Paso and elsewhere:

Angry West Texans and some state officials are demanding a halt to a deal that allows a group of politically well-connected Midland oilmen to tap the desert and sell billions of gallons of water from the state's public reserves.

The venture was advancing without announcement or competitive bidding by the powerful Texas General Land Office, which controls 20 million acres of public lands and the liquids and minerals beneath them.
Asked why the talks with Rio Nuevo had not been announced at the time, Mr. Patterson said, "We don't announce a lot of things under consideration."

I'll bet that's right.