A Dam Fine Idea | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

A Dam Fine Idea 

Also: Judge Benson, budget cuts

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A Dam Fine Idea
Pat Mulroy, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, has a really good idea if you don’t like the thought of a 306-mile pipeline that will destroy wildlife habitat, cause wind erosion and dust storms and significantly drop the water table if the Snake Valley project in Utah and Nevada gets the go-ahead. Mulroy is looking at the bigger picture—the one that takes in flooding in Missouri and Mississippi. She’d build diversion dams for flood control and move the water to aquifers beneath Midwestern farmlands. “Let’s use it,” Mulroy says. “Let’s recharge the Ogalala aquifer; let’s replace some Colorado River users. Let them use some of this and leave the other water in the Colorado River for those states that are west of the Colorado. Let’s start thinking about this the way we thought about our national highway system.” The carrot would be her dropping the Snake Valley project.

The Eyes of the Law

Sadly, Judge Dee Benson can’t see the forest for the legal trees in his reference to Rosa Parks at Tim DeChristopher’s sentencing. Rosa Parks didn’t get a sentence; her fine in the bus-sitting civil-disobedience case was $14. “I am at a loss to see how we are going to govern ourselves if it is [going to be] by personal point of view,” Benson said, handing DeChristopher a two-year prison sentence. Benson was also pissed that DeChristopher used his bully pulpit to express his views on the environmental impact of the oil and gas leases he scuttled. So, the First Amendment doesn’t apply here, but the “rule of law” does. “Otherwise, we don’t have a society, we have an anarchy,” Benson said. What we have now seems a bit like an oligarchy.

Makes You Sick

Cuts, cuts, cuts. Twitter is a-tweet with tea-party activists blaming the credit downgrade on a lack of hacking will—although they want to spare the billionaires. And now the Utah Department of Health is divvying up the few funds it has among 29 of 37 programs that applied for state funds. The Fourth Street Clinic gets nothing, unless you consider Salt Lake City’s “homeless meters,” which have collected all of $1,000 since their installation, which cost $40,000.* There won’t be any tuberculosis screening in Southwest Utah, and primary care and mental-health care in Northern Utah lost out, too. Fortunately for state-budget gurus, the sick and homeless will likely just die off, solving the long-term problem.

Twitter: @KathyBiele 

* Editor's note: The cost for the meters was overstated. Please read the correction here.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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