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It’s About Dam Time

About 40 years ago, environmentalist decided that dams were bad for the environment, and forced the government and the public to stop building them. The recent floods in along the Mississippi and the repeated floods of the Trask and Wilson Rivers in Oregon should indicate that maybe it is time to re-examine that policy. This years floods in Iowa killed 30 people. Now if that had been 30 Plovers or Spotted Owls, the rage of the environmentalist would be uncontrollable. The floods also cost over 3 billion dollars. Again not a problem; the value of the environment cannot be measured, and therefore cost is not an issue. Small minds cannot understand complex matters. They miss the concept that all wealth comes from the environment. Farming, logging, fishing, mining are only some of the basis from which wealth springs. All of these operations impact the environment. Make the connection. Wasting money is wasting the environment. If you have no concern about human life at least consider your precious environment.

Forty years ago the environmentalist stopped the building of Nuclear plants forced country into building coal fire plants. Those same coal fired plants that are now causing global warming. Duh! For forty years many countries have been building Nuclear plants with no accidents. Chernobyl was built over 50 years ago using 10-year-old technology. Dams are the most efficient form of power generation with the least impact to the environment. Beside, they reduce flooding, save lives, providing water for irrigation and drinking. The notion that letting all of that precious fresh water run off to the ocean while we mine ground water for human use, is as stupid as burning coal to generate power.

It has been correctly pointed out that, “95 percent of Iowa State’s wetlands have been drained or filled and about 75 percent of its forests have been cleared and more than 99 percent of its prairies have fallen to the plow.” All true! But what they failed to point out was that all of that change was not done for fun. It was done to feed and provide the basic needs for humans not only in this country but also around world. The US has been the breadbasket for the world for 100’s of years. Because the environmentalists stomachs are full who cares about the rest of the world. They can get their food elsewhere? Where is elsewhere? Crops do grow in the desert. Throughout 15 thousand years humans have lived on flood plains and use those efficient systems to produce abundant food to reduce starvation and the misery of the human society.

The part of the problem that these religious environmentalist wish to ignore is that there are 4 billion people to many on this planet. The less people the smaller the environmental impact. I sorry but moving everybody to New York City and forcing them to live off of roof top gardens is rather impractical, unfortunately, no more impractical than moving humans off of flood plains.

The second major point the environmentalists ignore or don’t understand is that there are other ways of controlling flooding many of which have been taken off the table by those that hold the environment more precious than human life. They fail to realize that dikes and levees are not a flood control system. They are a high water control system. For his edification, high water and floods are different events. High water is a long-term slow rise of water to a very low level. Floods are a short-term rise of water to a very high level. What they fail to see that there are other ways of delaying floodwaters, spreading out the length of the wave while reducing the height of the wave to keep it below the top of the levees.

Their belief that, there is another alternative to wetlands initiative, is based on the assumption that natural hydrology can be restored. First of all what is natural hydrology—The hydrology 150 years ago or the Hydrology 20,000 or 20 million years ago? The hydrology of the Mississippi River has never been constant. So to pick a period when the hydrology was “natural” is impossible. To arbitrarily assume that 150 years ago nature was perfect is shortsighted. True, 150 years ago nature was different, but nature is always changing and never perfect. Perfect is a human term. To stop nature form changing is not only impossible, fruitless it is down right dangerous. Humans in general and Environmentalist in particular do not have the understanding to correctly alter the course of nature.

There is only one way to reduce the human impact on the environment—Reduce the number of humans on the planet. In the mean time use what tools, like dams, that are available to stop the flooding. A couple of dams on the Trask and Wilson rivers in Oregon would sure save a lot of money, agriculture and peoples lives besides reducing the carbon foot print.

What’s to loose except pride.

By A. Bialystock


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