Sunday, October 23, 2011

Environment and Jobs

In a recent column titled, “Party of Pollution”, Paul Krugman writing in the October 20, 2011, NY Times remarks that current thought among some Republicans wants environmental laws defanged for the ostensible purpose of creating jobs.
Krugman, concludes that suspending or eliminating environmental laws will simply make us sicker and poorer.

In a coincidental presentation to the Cottonwood City Council, Andy Groseta, head of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association, took a cue from some of the positions of Republican presidential candidates and initiated an attack on the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) calling for a five-year moratorium on legal challenges under the Act. He singled out federal environmental regulations as standing in the path of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association plans to place thousands of cows in the federal forests. 

Without cattle eating more of the government grass, he says, calamitous fires will continue to ravage the Southwest and future famine was imminent. He claimed, also, his plan opens up the prospect of future jobs. 

"We need a 'time out' from the environmental process to harvest more trees and get more cattle out there," he said.
He called the measure a "jobs creator bill."

Job creation, as a concept, has become the new enabler.  Despite the temporary change created in the name of jobs, longer lasting effects will affect the environment, rivers and water resources in particular.

Without trees and grass rain impacts the ground directly and in this hilly region of the Southwest run-off, or just simple erosion, becomes a problem.  Run-off loads rivers with silt as topsoil is washed away.

Clear cutting was implicit.  Selective cutting of trees to clean out years of undergrowth and neglect was not mentioned. 

In this desert environment trees such as Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine take decades to mature. 

A moratorium on EPA Regulations is, in effect, a permanent solution in the desert.  

In contrast, for example, trees in the Northwest reach harvestable size in 15 years because of the abundant rainfall.  Cottonwood, Clarkdale, and Jerome don’t get abundant rainfall.  

Obviously, we all have a stake in this public position and ranchers should not hold a special position that alters our water resources because of queer, uneducated, special interests.

Our water resources are more important than Arizona Cattle Growers Association interests.