Everyone likes clean water, right?

September 27th, 2011     2 Comments »


It is a weird world.  It doesn’t seem to matter where you are on the political spectrum; everyone seems to feel like they are in a world upside down.  Somehow, things just don’t seem to feel as predictive as they used to, all of our moral compasses seem to point north, but a north no one else is aware of.   It used to be that pollution, namely drinking water cleanliness, was sort of a settled question.  That was one thing, right or left, that we could all get on board with.  Everyone wants safe, clean drinking water. But in the last few weeks, as the media seems bound and determined to force us into an election cycle that is 14 months away, I have seen and heard the groundwork being laid for a position that seems absolutely insane:  We need to dismantle the Clean Water Act.

Now, for a minute, let’s just ignore the fact that it doesn’t make any sense that suddenly regulations that have been in place for years, are now having this paralyzing affect on the “job creators”, just push that incongruity aside.  Let us instead, focus in on what this really means.  It would mean the absence of regulatory standards for safe drinking water and the inability to prosecute polluters.  It would mean that the quality of our drinking water would depend on the enlightened benevolence of the individual entities that discharge into our waterways.    It would mean companies like Massey Energy, with their more than $2 billion a year in revenue would get to police themselves.  In case you are wondering how well they follow actual, enforceable laws, take a look: http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/02/19/10-Worst-Corporate-Polluters/

The bottom line is this is not about unemployment, or the economy, or government over reach.  This is about big businesses that are sitting on tons of cash, making a grab and competing with the lowest common denominator ecologically and ethically, China, to further pad their bottom line.  So stock up on your Deer Park, your Poland Springs and dare I say, your Evian.  Times they are a-changin’.  Two years from now our tap water may make us sick, and bottled water will be the norm.  Who knew one day we’d grow up to be Mexico?

2 Responses to “Everyone likes clean water, right?”

  1. joe mccune says:

    That was very beautifully written and well thought out! So what then can be done to keep regulations in place in order to protect clean drinking water?

  2. jmarriott@akelab.com says:

    Thanks Joe!! It goes back to the grassroots, people contacting their representatives and letting them know that this isn’t acceptable, signing petitions, etc. Of all the issues politicians have raised that have driven people to the polls to cast votes for or against, like the constitutional amendment regarding marriage or abortion, this is the one that really affects everyone. We may have strong opinions on those issues, but statisically speaking, they affect very few of us. Maybe this should be the decisive factor in who we elect, maybe this should be the litmus test for candidates. What is more basic, more personal than our drinking water?

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