WC was unsurprised to see the Carpetbagger, Senator Dan Sullivan (R, Koch Brothers) posing with the President as the Trumpster signed an executive order directing the EPA to reconsider the Clean Water Rule.
The Clean Water Rule fight takes some explaining.1 WC will start with the results and work backwards.
The Snake River, the largest tributary of the Columbia River, suffers massive “algae blooms.” Technically, the blooms are cyanobacteria, and they produce toxins that make the water poisonous. Think of it: the water in the Snake River, one of the largest rivers in North America, isn’t safe to drink.
Algae blooms are primarily caused by excess phosphates in the water. As just one example, a recent study found that the Boise River, running through WC’s adopted hometown, represents about 11 percent of the mean annual flow of the Snake River. But the Boise River contributes 30 percent of the phosphorous and 72 percent of the form of phosphorous linked to algae growth. It’s “agricultural run-off,” a term that includes not just farm fertilizer but cow manure (especially from feedlots) and lawn fertilizer from suburban Boise.
It’s is a very serious problem across the United States. It’s also difficult to control because it’s not contamination that comes from a single spot – a “point source” in EPA jargon – but rather comes from many, many areas scattered across a river drainage. If you want to prevent that kind of contamination you have to regulate the use of land, not just the navigable bits of the rivers. With this kind of contamination, by the time the river gets big enough to be “navigable” it’s too late to keep it clean.
The Clean Water Rule, issued by two federal agencies, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, attempts to address that bigger problem by asserting environmental rules should apply to waters that enter navigable waters, because otherwise it is impossible to achieve the purposes of the Clean Waters Act. The regulation seeks to address the root causes of water contamination.
Senator Carpetbagger mightily opposes the Clean Water rule, even though it is essential for important Alaska resources like, say, fisheries. While Senator Carpetbagger has many, many faults, being stupid isn’t one of them. He knows the importance of clean waters and the necessity for upstream management of contamination. Why, then does he oppose the Clean Water Rule? Principles of separation of powers? Preservation of states’ rights?2
Once you know that the Koch Brothers own Koch Ag and Energy Solutions, which in turn owns Koch Fertilizer, which manufactures and markets a wide variety of fertilizer products used in the agriculture industry; well, it all makes sense. The Clean Water Rule would limit the amount of fertilizer that be applied to land, which might hurt the billionaire brothers’ profits. And their profits are always the most important thing.3 And Senator Carpetbagger’s mean little soul is owned by the Koch Brothers.
Once again, it is crystal clear – clearer than the waters of America’s rivers – that Senator Sullivan apparently represents the Koch Brothers, not Alaskans.
- You might say “insanely complex.” And the effect of the President’s executive order will have only minimal, if any, effect. It’s largely political theater. ↩
- If you think a single state can solve the problems the Clean Water Rule addresses you need to study a map of Chesapeake Bay. Or the course of the Snake River. ↩
- After all, we can always purify the water. Why we could use Koch membranes. We could pay Koch Brothers for drinkable river water. True, it won’t fix the rivers. But Koch Brothers don’t have any profit centers based on wild fisheries. ↩