Friday, January 25, 2013

Turning America's water into Big Green's elite empire

by Ron Arnold

Two weeks ago, outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar named the White River -- which cuts 722 miles through its 17.8 million-acre watershed, crossing 60 counties in Arkansas and Missouri -- as the second National Blueway.

What exactly, we should ask, is a National Blueway? In short, it's the focus of the biggest federal land grab in American history.

Physically, a National Blueway is an entire watershed, including its municipal, county and tribal governments, private property, businesses and everything else within the ridge line of the watershed. Consider the first Blueway, the 410-mile Connecticut River, along with its 7.2 million-acre watershed, which stretches into Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. It wouldn't take too many grabs like that for the federal government to control all the water in the nation.

Politically, a Blueway is a watershed that falls under a new bureaucracy, an intra-agency National Blueways Committee. The designation was created by Secretarial Order 3321 of May 24, 2012, signed by Salazar. The order says, "The National Blueways System will provide a new national emphasis on the unique value and significance of a 'headwaters to mouth' approach to river management and create a mechanism to encourage stakeholders to integrate their land and water stewardship efforts by adopting a watershed approach."

Salazar's vague "watershed approach" subverts the power of local governments, which now use various individually tailored "watershed management" techniques for their local water supply, water quality, drainage, stormwater runoff and water rights. Where did those go in Salazar's ghastly green goo?

The idea of using "network management" to cope with multifaceted water issues through a powerful master unit was first promoted in Europe by the World Water Council, a consortium founded in 1996 and based in Marseille, France. WWC members include the World Bank, the United Nations and major European corporations. The founders were well aware that "the implementation of any common vision presents a new role for NGOs because of their unique capabilities in local community coordination, thus making them a valuable partner in network governance," according to British environmental governance professor James Evans.

Which brings up the question of why Salazar created Blueways in the first place.

1 comment:

Tick said...

What a crying shame.