lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jan 19 10:46:09 MST 2003
(An informative article. However, it really does not explain why it is
important to save the minnow, merely the latest version of the Snail Darter
or the Spotted Owl. These species are worth preserving because they
represent key elements in the food chain, either at the bottom with the
minnow and the Snail Darter, or at the top with the Spotted Owl. If the
capitalist developers have their way, the only species alive 50 years from
now will be pigeons, crows and squirrels, etc. that can be viewed from
air-conditioned houses in the arid southwest.)
NY Times, Jan. 19, 2003
Albuquerque Case Pits Thirst Against Fish
By DOUGLAS JEHL
ALBUQUERQUE, Jan. 16 A three-inch-long endangered fish is standing
between this city and its plans for a well-watered future.
The fish, the silvery minnow, native to the Rio Grande, has been the
subject of years of court battles. But now a federal appeals court is about
to decide whether, to save the fish, Albuquerque must give up drinking
water it has set aside behind a federal dam for the years ahead.
The case poses the most direct confrontation yet between the Endangered
Species Act, which ranks the protection of threatened animals and plants
above human needs, and the water rights held by cities like Albuquerque in
Western states where water is becoming increasingly scarce.
Among the states that have joined with the city of Albuquerque and the
State of New Mexico in asking the court to reserve the water for people are
Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wyoming. Their
actions reflect wide expectation that the ruling could have broad
implications, with a potential impact on scores of federal water projects
and endangered species in 17 Western states.
The mayor of Albuquerque, Martin Chavez, says the case involves "the
highest stakes imaginable" for his city, whose rights to the water stored
behind the dam date back to a 1962 contract with the federal government.
The city now relies wholly on water pumped from the ground at rates that
cannot be sustained. But under a $200 million transition plan that would
leave the city using ground water as a small part of its supply, the water
behind the dam would become essential.
Environmentalists who are challenging the city, however, say the water
right is not absolute and can be superseded by the need to address the
threat to the fish, once the most plentiful in the river. Like the flow of
the Rio Grande itself, the minnow's numbers have dwindled, to the point
where experts say the fish will not survive in the wild if the river,
heavily tapped by farmers and others and now stricken by drought, is
allowed to go dry. The river nearly did go dry this fall along a 60-mile
stretch south of Albuquerque, which is the most critical habitat for
survival of the minnow.
Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org
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