Thursday, March 12, 2009

Do Republicans Want Dirty, Polluted Water For America? No... But Their Policies Dictate Exactly That


David Dreier and Michele Bachman are fine with you drinking this-- as long as they get their Perrier

Not many people noticed that the House turned down an omnibus package of nearly 160 bills dealing with resources, public lands and water this week. 282 congressmen voted for it and 144 against it but that was six votes short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage of the expedited process. Republicans and Blue Dogs, whose developer paymasters are screaming bloody murder that there's money to be made in them thar hills, managed, at least temporarily, to defeat what House Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) called "the most important piece of conservation legislation we will likely consider this year and possibly in this entire Congress."

Although 34 Republicans of all stripes crossed the aisle to vote with the Democratic majority, Boehner and Cantor were still able to bottle the bill up for another week. (Three make believe Democrats who usually vote with Republicans, especially when it involves special interests and the bribes they are addicted to-- Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Jim Marshall of Georgia, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota-- were aboard the Boehner obstructionist train.)

Today the House debated H.R. 1262, the Water Quality Investment Act of 2009-- along with 10 amendments. It's a bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Michael Arcuri (D-NY) and one of the notorious Diaz-Balart brothers (R-FL). In the end 73 Republicans joined all 244 Democrats to pass it 317-101. Who are these 101 lunatic fringe obstructionists who oppose everything? Well, you've got all the crazed, drooling regulars: Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Gresham Barrett (R-SC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boehner (R-OH), Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Paul Broun (R-GA), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Tom Cole (R-OK), John Culberson (R-TX), David Dreier (R-CA), Mary Fallin (R-OK), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Steve King (R-IA), John Kline (R-MN), Dan Lungren (R-CA), Patty McHenry (R-NC), Mike Pence (R-IN), Paul Ryan (R-WI), John Shadegg (R-AZ), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)... all the nuts and kook gambling on failure for America so they can campaign on "I told you so." I'm especially sensitive to water matters after reading about water problems in China and India.

In a post yesterday about the world's 20 most polluted cities I quoted from Robyn Meredith's book The Elephant and the Dragon in regard to the horrendous, unspeakable pollution in China and India-- both air and water.
Nothing can prepare visitors for the pollution in China... One of the worst places to breathe on the planet is the world's biggest city: Chongqing, China, with a population of 30 million people counting the exurbs, about the same number of people as live in the entire state of California. There the New China coexists with the Old China: skyscrapers and construction sites decorate downtown, but scrawny bong-bong men wait for work on street corners. Bong-bong men are paid sixty cents an hour to ferry heavy loads-- from building materials to groceries-- up and down the city's hilly streets using bamboo poles slung over their shoulders. They must have powerful lungs, not just strong legs: the city is half dark most days. Sunlight barely reaches the ground, dimmed by thick, gray smog. Skyscrapers just three blocks away are mere outlines because of air pollution. Emerging from the inside of a building onto the streets prompts one's eyes to water. The air is filthy but that is not all. The raw sewage produced by 30 million people-- 30 million-- is dumped straight into the Yangtze River as it flows past. The countryside nearby is not the place to go for fresh air: there you notice that the leaves of trees-- along with everything else-- are coated with black dust from the coal mines and factories in the region. More acid rain falls on Chongqing than anywhere else on earth.

...Nearly a third of China's rivers are so polluted that they aren't even fit for agriculture or industrial use, according to Chinese government statistics. Village doctors have documented increased cancer rates near polluting factories and chemical plants. Untreated waste water dumped into China's famed Yangtse River is killing marine life and turning its water "cancerous," according to Xinhua, the state-controlled media outlet.

...Lack of enforcement of environmental laws is also a big problem in India. Its capital city, Delhi, used to have pollution levels ten times higher than the nation's legal limit, mostly because of the high-pollution taxis, trucks and buses on its roads. Delhi has the world's worst air pollution in 2002, but managed to clean up its filthy air after being taken to task by India's Supreme Court. The overhaul began in 1997. Some steps were long overdue: the city finally banned lead gas. However belatedly, the city reduced pollution from Delhi's power plants by installing scrubber to clean up smokestack emissions and requiring them to burn cleaner coal. It banished motorized rickshaws and buses built before 1990 from the roads. In 1998, the court required all city buses to run on compressed natural gas (CNG)-- a cleaner fuel than gasoline-- by 2001... Just 10 percent of sewage is treated in India, with the rest dumped into waterways, along with industrial pollution. India's rivers-- even the holy Ganges-- have become sewers.

Is this what legislators like the Republican clowns mentioned above envision for America? Are they plotting this destiny for us? Of course not! But their blinkered partisan obstructionism, if allowed to ever get control of the country again, will lead right to it as surely as if it was their plan.

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At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would make your case better to actually have a picture that had polluted water coming out of it. (No doubt there are some) The green in this picture shows an accumulation of algae and moss, indicating clean oxygenated water flowing out of the pipe. To the informed, the green indicates a fluid with no BOD (biological oxygen demand) that would be commonly found in polluted water. It's sort of like showing a picture of a polar bear floating on a iceberg...thinking you can convince us they can't swim...


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