Bob's Links and Rants

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Sunday, December 12, 2004


I saw a picture of this billboard in the latest Huron River Report, published by the Huron River Watershed Council. The caption from the Central Michigan Life web site is perhaps more honest than they intended (typo included):
This billboard can be seenm on I -94 and I - 96. Citizens for Michigan's Future put up the billboards to discourage Michigan senators from allowing Texas, New Mexico, California and Utah.
They probably meant to say "allowing Texas, New Mexico, California and Utah to take Michigan's water." But the result might be the same--without water, much of America's west would be like that huge uninhabited part of Saudi Arabia known as "The Empty Quarter."

It's also interesting that one of the main supporters of the group "Citizens for Michigan's Future," which put up the billboard in Grand Rapids in 2001, is Republican state Senator Ken Sikkema. I mean, doesn't "Texas" look just like ol' Chimpy?

The Huron River Report's article (sorry, not online yet) discusses a recent proposal concerning Great Lakes water, which attempts to set guidelines somewhat different from the generally bipartisan position of Michigan politicians--no diversion of Great Lakes water. The new policy suggests that a simple ban on diversion won't withstand legal challenges (partly because of the autonomy-destroying "free-trade" agreements), and that a more nuanced approach might better protect the 95% of the US freshwater supply (and 20% of the world's supply) that is in the Great Lakes basin. One indication of the fantasy world our politicians still live in is that they still consider promoting economic growth a valid priority to be traded off against water and the environment. Without water, we all die, folks!

In a less-important and more local water issue, the Huron River Report discusses the possibility of removing Ann Arbor's Argo Dam. The dam no longer serves an hydroelectric or flood-control purpose, but Argo Pond is used by some for recreation, particularly kayakers and the rowing teams from the U of M and local high schools. Skilled kayakers could probably still use the freed river, but the rowers would definitely have to go elsewhere. I kind of like the way it is now, but would probably like it better if the dam were removed and the river allowed to heal a little (it would still be trapped between the Barton and Dixboro dams). Hopefully the dam removal would include building a bridge to replace the recently-improved walkway on top of the dam, which makes the two-plus-mile loop around Argo Pond very popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists.