Sunday, January 6, 2013

Over the damn?

map or Minnesota's Impaired Waters, 2010
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
This map is not a pretty sight. Let me share with you what it means to me, without getting into lots of semi-legalistic technicalities. This map means that My Minnesota has done a lousy (that's the technical term) job of managing the use of its water resources. In 1972, more than 40 years ago, Congress passed and the president signed into law the Clean Water Act Amendments, which mandated attainment of "fishable-swimmable" quality by 1985. We're running a little behind schedule, but then, in 1949, Congress passed legislation declaring that every American is entitled to a decent home and living environment. We're still working on that one too. To be fair, we have made some progress in Minnesota. Here's a recent (2011) map of the waters that were previously impaired and have been restored.
map of "restored" waters
 With this kind of accomplishment, why should we be concerned about the possible impact of sulfide mining in northern Minnesota or fracking sand in southeastern Minnesota. The other natural resources there are no more useful than the moon. Are they?