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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Central Arkansas Water cited for environmental concerns

Posted by on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 9:24 AM

NOT GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: At water pump station construction site.
  • NOT GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: At water pump station construction site.

Embarrassment for Central Arkansas Water. Rural residents of the Lake Maumelle watershed, bitterly opposing new land use rules meant to protect the water supply, say the water utility is a big hypocrite because a contractor building a pump station for the utility was cited for failure to clean up a small oil spill fast enough and for concrete washout on surrounding area.

Gotcha, CAW. Channel 4 reports here.

Much preaching about the violation at the Quorum Court meeting last night, part of the orchestrated effort by Perry County residents, with support from Deltic Timber and Koch brothers-paid lobbyists, to foil land use rules for the watershed.

Here's the thing obscured by the noise. CAW screwed up, yes. Regrettable, yes. Perhaps they'll watch their contractors more closely in the future. But imagine a watershed unfettered by rules, with thousands of homes and businesses building new structures, fueling boats and cars, applying chemicals, disposing of waste. Imagine having to depend on a state agency that can't keep up with gas drilling, much less residential subdivisions and the individual actors in them, as the last line of protection over a water supply that serves hundreds of thousands of people.

A minor construction site problem — whether by CAW or not — is precisely an argument FOR watershed protection, not against it. The Bigelow bunch wants you to believe from this episode that there's no point regulating land use because people will just violate the rules anyway. This is the kind of thinking that says there's no point to regulate assault rifle weapon and ammo sales because, hey, criminals will just find a way to use them for mass slaughter anyway. It tells you a lot about the mindset of opponents, that's for sure.

UPDATE: Here's the full ADEQ finding. Pretty small potatoes, which doesn't excuse it, but ....

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