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Preserving Our Waterways

By TODD CONNOR

On January 21, 2010, the Tribune reported on the resistance by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) to join its peer cities in disinfecting its sewage before it is shipped off to the Mississippi River, and on to other states and waterways.  The argument has been that implementing disinfection technologies will 1) cost money, and 2) increase carbon emissions by requiring energy to operate disinfection technologies.  The logic rings hallow, like the CTA not wanting to purchase buses because they 1) cost money, and 2) increase carbon emissions.

 

The purpose of the MWRD is to protect and preserve our waterways.  And while this agency has a record of being imaginative with its solutions, the solutions have always been disruptive to the natural state of affairs: reversing the flow of the Chicago River, building the Ship & Sanitary Canal to connect the Great Lakes watershed with the Mississippi, and building the Deep Tunnel (only to be out-spent by the Big Dig in Boston and the Washington DC subway system).  So why is it, then, that we have such a hard time being similarly imaginative when it comes to restoring nature?

 

If we, as humans, have a track record with nature it is that whenever we try and solve one problem, we always create a new one.  When we reversed the Chicago River, we stopped sending polluted water into Lake Michigan, but started the net depletion of fresh water from the Great Lakes.  When we built the Ship & Sanitary Canal, we found a convenient way to get boats and sewage from Chicago to the Mississippi Delta, but we also created a super-highway for Asian Carp to make their way to us.  And when we built the Deep Tunnel, we found a way to hold a lot of sewage, but signed ourselves up for a construction project that will never stop needing money for repairs, and does not move us towards a sustainable future.

 

Let’s buck history, put on our thinking caps, and find imaginative ways to get us closer to what Mother Nature intended.  And doing the right thing, incidentally, will save taxpayers dollars in the long run as well.  Learn more about disinfection, and sign our petition calling on the MWRD to meet the Illinois EPA’s clean water standards at www.cleanwaterchicago.org

 

Todd Connor                 

Democratic Candidate, MWRD

www.toddconnor.org

*Chicago Tribune Endorsed

*Sierra Club Endorsed

*IVI-IPO Endorsed

Published: January 25, 2010

Comments

Jobs and the Keystone XL Pipeline
According to TransCanada (the Canadian company that wants to bring us the Keystone XL pipeline carrying heavy crude oil sands from Canada to refineries in Texas) their pipeline will bring about 20,000 good jobs. Other estimates say it’s closer to 5,000 temporary jobs. The costs in this proposed pipeline are enormous to landowners throughout the United States—wildlife, smog, water pollution, health effects, and the potential for oil spills along the way, not counting the eyesore it will create throughout the country. So why should we support this boondoggle? It beats me. Keep in mind that this company will most likely sell the “finished product” on the open market, so countries that need oil, including China, will probably end up buying the refined oil. We pay with enormous environmental risks, taking land from those who don’t want it in their back yard, health problems, and we probably won’t end up using the oil ourselves. If TransCanada wants this deal so badly, they should make a promise that this oil with be sold only in the U.S. and they should put $1 billion in an escrow account to be used exclusively for hiring 20,000 American workers at $50,000 per worker. This would create only 20,000 jobs for a year, but it would bring some tiny bit of sanity to this lopsided deal where a business in a foreign country offers the U.S. nothing but a possibility of creating jobs here. This deal is too risky. And it perpetuates the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, increasing global warming. We should invest our time and money supporting jobs in the clean fuel industries of the future.
Pam Perns, Dec-23-2011
Jobs and the Keystone XL Pipeline
According to TransCanada (the Canadian company that wants to bring us the Keystone XL pipeline carrying heavy crude oil sands from Canada to refineries in Texas) their pipeline will bring about 20,000 good jobs. Other estimates say it’s closer to 5,000 temporary jobs. The costs in this proposed pipeline are enormous to landowners throughout the United States—wildlife, smog, water pollution, health effects, and the potential for oil spills along the way, not counting the eyesore it will create throughout the country. So why should we support this boondoggle? It beats me. Keep in mind that this company will most likely sell the “finished product” on the open market, so countries that need oil, including China, will probably end up buying the refined oil. We pay with enormous environmental risks, taking land from those who don’t want it in their back yard, health problems, and we probably won’t end up using the oil ourselves. If TransCanada wants this deal so badly, they should make a promise that this oil with be sold only in the U.S. and they should put $1 billion in an escrow account to be used exclusively for hiring 20,000 American workers at $50,000 per worker. This would create only 20,000 jobs for a year, but it would bring some tiny bit of sanity to this lopsided deal where a business in a foreign country offers the U.S. nothing but a possibility of creating jobs here. This deal is too risky. And it perpetuates the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, increasing global warming. We should invest our time and money supporting jobs in the clean fuel industries of the future.
Pam Berns, Dec-23-2011