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Water Worries

By: Anthony J. Gerst

desert-spain.jpgIt was maddening to hear that ole George put a veto stamp on the Water Resources Appropriations Bill. By press time we hope to see the Senate come on board and over ride this veto, as the House repassed this legislation 361-54. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa pointed out, in order to remain competitive, our nation needs to invest in the long overdue improvements to the Lock and Damn system on the upper Mississippi River. This legislation is crucial in the battle of Climate Change. The projects involved roam from sea to shining sea, and includes over one billion dollars for environmental wetland and coastal projects.

Despite the yammering of Dr. William Gray, which every naysayer in the country seems to have latched unto for letter editorial purposes. The majority of scientists are shouting from the rooftops for action internationally to mitigate the impacts of human induced Climate Change. Around the globe we have seen major changes in precipitation patterns. For example, in the Gulf of Mexico, a new dead zone was created this year. It was generated from the increased discharges of water from Texas rivers. In the United States alone, all one has to do is to check in with American Rivers and you can start a scary education upon the issue at hand. Currently scientists believe the changes in river flows will affect one billion people. From South America to India and China, rivers of the globe are changing fast.

Currently the issue of releasing water from Georgia to Florida is being debated. With the water shortages in the Southeast the debate is over water supplies for people v. water for the environment and many endangered species down stream. This issue ofwars in cities like Atlanta has just begun. There was an excellent article in Science Daily (Oct. 13, 2007) called ‘Climate Change Will Impact Global River Flows.’ This report was put together by scientists from Sweden, Australia, Germany and the Untied States.

Dr. Margaret Palmer, lead author and Director of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Laboratory had this to say. “This report calls attention to significant risks facing many of the world’s major rivers and those people who live near or depend on them for water or food. Many of these risks could be reduced if proactive management measures are implemented now. It’s now up to the world’s political leaders to decide whether or not to step forward and put in place programs designed to minimize the impacts we may see on our ecosystems and people.”

Water issues around the globe seem to be invisible to the powers that be. Here at home we need to revamp the EPA, making it an environmental entity leading the charge in battling the issue of Climate Change. Sadly, the current administration has allowed business to run wild to the point where the waters of the Mississippi have declined in quality during their tenure. The National Research Council recently released the report, ‘Stronger EPA Leadership Needed to Improve Water Quality in Mississippi River.’ If you seek additional information press releases and the full report can be obtained from news@nas.edu .




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