Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 19, 2006
By: Christina Larson

BAYOU DISPATCH: Coming Clean... It's raining again in Lake Charles, La. That means the hotel computer room is crowded here at the conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Right now the room is abuzz with hook & bullet writers discussing the Clean Water Act and scrambling for updates on this morning's Supreme Court decision. As the Times reports:

The Supreme Court set the stage for a re-examination of the 1972 Clean Water Act, as it narrowly ruled today in favor of two Michigan property owners who have sought to develop tracts designated as wetlands.

By 5 to 4, the justices overturned lower court judgments against the Michigan land owners, who had run afoul of the Clean Water Act over their plans to build a shopping mall and condominiums.

Yes, sportsmen care about the environment. Christina Larson 4:23 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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Comments

Caring about the environment is sissy, being a sportsman is manly.

Posted by: sdfsdfs on June 19, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans: Time to Screw'em Back!

Posted by: cld on June 19, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Because every puddle deserves protection!

Posted by: Birkel on June 19, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

A huge influx of developable land?

That'll provide a soft landing for the housing market.

Posted by: B on June 19, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

why would sportsmen care about the environment? hell, eatin' fish laiden with heavy metals, pcb and the like help build strong bodies 12 ways! and who needs wetlands? hunters can always shoot their fill of fowl at some private ranch just like dick cheney!!!

Posted by: mudwall jackson on June 19, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

because building on swamps is always a good idea. I mean, I guess when you get massive "economic development" tax breaks, then, sure, why not.

Listen, lad. I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So, I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp, but the fourth one... stayed up! And that's what you're gonna get, lad: the strongest castle in these islands.

Posted by: ChrisS on June 19, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Regulation of these waters staves off seeing them covered by condos and shopping malls. The Clean Water Act doesn't stop development. The Clean Water Act is trying to keep vital water connections open, green spaces available, wildlife around, holding on to nature as something other than artifical landscaping. In doing so, the Clean Water Act puts people first, people need green spaces, especially those that cannot afford million dollar estates with landscaped acreage. The condos and shopping malls are so badly needed I am sure, but so is the natural resources of this country. Keeping them alive and vital is keeping people alive and vital too. Clean water is worth more than oil. You can live without oil, try living without clean water. When that gets scarce, the only ones who'll have clean water are same type of elite who now control the oil.

Posted by: Red Tail on June 19, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Can I mark you all down as supporters of American efforts to return Iraq's marshes to their pre-Saddam levels?

Posted by: Birkel on June 19, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel, shush. the grownups are talking now.

Posted by: cleek on June 19, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, yes.

You do sound so grown up with your rhetorical profundity.

Posted by: Birkel on June 19, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

The Clean Water Act is trying to keep vital water connections open.

I think this is the reason for the decision. The SCOTUS ruled that the Clean Water Act didn't cover disconnected bodies of water. Scotusblog wrote: Justice Scalias plurality opinion (joined only by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito and Thomas) would have limited the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (a.k.a the Clean Water Act)s protection of waters of the United States to those bodies of water that are permanent, standing or continously flowing. http://www.scotusblog.com/movabletype/

As I understand it, this was not a Constitutional decision, but rather the interpretation of a law. Presumably the federal government or the states can pass additional laws extending the Clean Water Act to bodies of water that are not permanent, standing or continously flowing

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 19, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why is the conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of America being held in a hotel? Couldn't you find somewhere.... outdoors-y?

Posted by: American Hawk on June 19, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

why do you link to Mikey Kaus? He stinks.

Posted by: exhuming mccarthy on June 19, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Let me see if I understand. Last year the court ruled that a city could use eminent domain to secure land for a private corporation's shopping center development. This year it rules the Federal government can't use the Clean Water's Act to stop a private corporation from building a shopping center.

Shopping Center Developers seem to have all the rights.

The boys and girl on the Supreme Court sure must love to shop.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 19, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

I'm good with the idea of returning Iraq's marshes to their pre-Saddam levels.

What's your plan?

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 19, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Christina Larson wrote: Yes, sportsmen care about the environment.

"Sportsmen" is a euphemism for people who like to kill animals for fun. They "care about the environment" to the extent that they want to have facilities to which they can drive in giant gas-guzzling SUVs and in which they can enjoy their "sport" of killing animals for fun with high-powered weapons. These are the same people who have aggressively, and to a large extent successfully, lobbied the federal government to open wildlife refuges -- small bits of land that are supposed to provide refuge for animals -- to "sport hunting", which is simply killing animals for fun.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 19, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Pierre,

You'll be happy to know that the plan to rehabilitate the Iraqi Arab marshes continues apace.

Try ask.com for links.

Posted by: Birkel on June 19, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Do the marshes get fixed before the electricity or after?

Do we have to wait for the ethnic cleansing, or can we get after those marshes right away?

Inquiring minds wanna know!

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on June 19, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

I see snark is your game.

Carry on.

Posted by: Birkel on June 19, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

I take it you were tramatized by Bambi as a child.

Hunters, sport fishermen and environmentalists are all in favor of preserving the habitat. They are opposed by real estate developers, and owners of extractive industries (mines and loggers.) Comments like yours, while no doubt heartfelt, are not going to win friends and influence people west of the Mississippi.

Last election Democrats won a governorship by pitting the farmers, hunters, fishermen and environmentalists on one side and the miners and loggers on the other. It is a winning combination. We might win more elections out west if we keep that bunch together. It is also possible that together they will do far more good for the environment than any of them could do alone. Remember habitat preservation is the key.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 19, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Writing for the plurality, Justice Antonin Scalia said the Clean Water Act does not extend jurisdiction to channels through which water flows intermittently or channels that provide drainage for rainfall.

That applies to most good sized rivers in the American southwest. Anybody want to purchase some Colorado River bottom near the Mexican border? Build yourself a dream home.

In Oregon, we have several rivers which intermittantly disappear into porous lava flows and reappear down slope. I suppose these would lose designation as wild and scenic rivers in Scalia's world. I'm not sure what to call them, flowing ponds? Is it OK to dump toxic sludge in these?

A expect better from a duck hunter. Not understanding flood control, subsurface hydrology, or the legislative intent of an act clearly named "clean water act."

Posted by: B on June 19, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK


Yes, sportsmen care about the environment.

Yes, but don't count on the DNC to get a clue about it.

Really, the 2nd Amendment issue is THE issue that could rescue the Democratic Party. And they stubbornly refuse to address it.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 19, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, sportsmen care about the environment.

I'm reminded of the old joke T-shirt:

Join the Army: Visit Exotic Places, Meet New, Exciting People and Kill them!!

Posted by: dj moonbat on June 19, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Look, doesn't anyone see that there's a Constitutional issue in here? Never mind the particular projects in question; does it make sense to anyone that anything potentially connected to a navigable waterway by anything that might potentially flow into something else that might flow into something else yet again, even if it's dry as a bone apart from the odd massive storm, counts as part of the "waters of the United States" and hence is Federal turf (so to speak)? If the Government is really claiming, as Scalia's opinion says it is, that land in a 100-yr flood plain constitutes "wetlands" for legal purposes, it's reaching rather a lot.

Posted by: waterfowl on June 19, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel, before you start complaining about other's "rhetorical porfundity" you might try honing your technique in the basic skill of simply staying on the fucking topic.

but until then, shush.

Posted by: cleek on June 19, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers: Hunters, sport fishermen and environmentalists are all in favor of preserving the habitat [...] Remember habitat preservation is the key.

I agree. I'd like to also "preserve" the non-human animals who live in that "habitat" from being slaughtered with high-powered weapons by my fellow humans who enjoy killing them for "sport".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 19, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Sportsmen" is a euphemism for people who like to kill animals for fun.

Get a grip, SA. I pretty much agree with you on every other issue. But is this a realistic stance to take? Humans are predators. They like to hunt and kill, just like my pet cat does. Certainly, from a nutritional standpoint, our bodies don't need as much meat as we eat - but from a behavioral standpoint, the human animal does need to hunt and kill and dominate nature. Criticize it, and deny it all you want.

What is better - winning elections and encouraging some environmentalism to enter into our policy; possibly helping us prevent global catastrophic climate change?

Or standing firm on an idealistic crusade to protect all wildlife from being hunted, offending enough Americans to ensure that you'll NEVER get a candidate into office, ensuring that not only will deer continue to be shot, but also ensuring that all living creatures north of 70 degrees lattitude will become extinct?

Which would you rather see happen?

Now, I do have my arguments against the conservative wing of the Democratic Party who tend to pander towards the corporatists. But there's a synergy to be won with the Sportsman wing of working-class Americans who hunt, and it's a way for the Democrats to sell environmental issues to a larger segment of voters - if they'd just stop trying to take away the guns, which plays right into the hands of the Roves of the world who like to paint Democrats as unAmerican.

Fundamentally, government is about human civilization, banding together as a tribe to protect our own common interests. Stopping a few deer from getting killed is not in any human's interest. It's not even in the deer's interest, because without any other predators, the deer would overpopulate and many more would just starve to death.

I do agree that it's not at all sportsmanlike to nail a deer with a 30-06 automatic rifle with a telescopic sight at 500 yards. Nobody ought to get their jollies off from that, and that hunter ought to be rewarded with scorn and ridicule. But neither is it productive for a politician to sacrifice his or her career (and the future of his or her party - and with it, any hope of stopping the Republicans) to legislate against it.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 19, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl is right. Lurking under the surface is a major constitutional issue involving the interstate commerce clause. Scalia has long struggled to narrow the court's very expansive view of interstate commerce. I can actually see his point in this context. Just what business does the Federal Government have regulating drainage ditches far from a waterway that can be directly linked to interstate commerce anyway. Of course, it is easy to come up with a theory that the wetlands are needed to help maintain adequate water in rivers for shipping, but that is a little beyond Scalia.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 19, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Wetlands are needed to slow rapid runoff after precipitation events, hold excess water during flood events, and remove pollutants from both point and diffuse sources. A majority of state governments that filed briefs in these cases stated their preference to maintain the status quo (of federal jurisdiction over wetland designation). They apparently don't want to be given control.

Sort of crazy that the supreme court might find a way via a narrow reading of the commerce clause to eliminate an act that a majority of people (in the federal government, in state governments, and in the larger population) are content with.

Posted by: B on June 19, 2006 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks to Bush we will be learning to hate the conservative Supreme Court a little more every day.

Posted by: Nemesis on June 19, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, Ralph Nader fans - absolutely no difference between Gore and Bush, eh?

Posted by: craigie on June 19, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

I do agree that it's not at all sportsmanlike to nail a deer with a 30-06 automatic rifle with a telescopic sight at 500 yards. Nobody ought to get their jollies off from that,

osama_been_forgotten

500 yards with a 30-06 is damned fine shooting, My friend, you'd need a good rest, a windless day, and a lot of other factors in your favour.

Now having said that, I will comment that I agree with you. I have never understood hunters who enjoy killing, or who glorify the hunt.

Hunting is easy. The prey has no chance, and I see no reason why a hunter should preen or boast or brag. It's not like the damned deer can shoot back.

I hunt. I hunt because I like venison, and since I have access to a large ranch which is simply choked with deer, hunting is the most efficent way for me to fill my freezer with top-notch dead animal.

But it ain't heroic.

Posted by: charles parr on June 19, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

If you're in Lake Charles, say hi to my relatives on Shell Beach Drive.

On a clear day, you can see the house from Houston.

Posted by: F'in Librul on June 19, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Why is the conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of America being held in a hotel?

Because the hotel is in the Sportsman's Paradise? A.K.A. the Bayou State. A.K.A. BlameBlancoforeverythingland.

In my youth (the 70s) Louisiana was a bit spoilt, but still an incredibly unexplored, unscrewed-around with place. Today it's far worse, but still a lot more fascinating and wild than most people ever give it credit for.

Posted by: F'in Librul on June 19, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Presumably the federal government or the states can pass additional laws extending the Clean Water Act to bodies of water that are not permanent, standing or continously flowing
Posted by: ex-liberal on June 19, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

I would agree that the Constitution would not prohibit the feds from extending the Clean Water Act to such bodies of waters. However, the real issue is what politician would be stupid enough to propose such an extension of the law.

That's the beauty of today's decision. By limiting the scope of the Clean Waters Act to the "waters of the United States" that are capable of supporting interstate commerce, the Court denies the EPA the power to interfere with property owners whose land, often located miles away from such waters, because it was a federally protected "wetland."

Posted by: Chicounsel on June 19, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

I see that Birkel is introducing the latest reason why we invaded Iraq: it was all about saving the environment. Apparently the previous excuse (the democracy thing) isn't working out so well. What's the next ecologically evil country on the list? The War for the Environment is just getting started!

Posted by: KCinDC on June 19, 2006 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

Interstate duck hunting tours? Nationally marketed bottled water?

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 20, 2006 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

KCinDC,

Well, not exactly; I think Birkel was referring to Saddam Hussein's quasi-genocidal campaign against the "marsh Arabs," a campaign waged mainly by getting rid of the marsh. It would be odd if this were the "latest" reason for invading Iraq, because I at least had heard of it a few years ago.

Posted by: waterfowl on June 20, 2006 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

Has Lake Charles managed to landfill the entire lake yet? It's roughly half the extent it was when I was a small child.

I remember launching sailboats from where the convention center now sits...but the water itself was so toxic that swimming was prohibited.

It's named Shell Beach Drive because it was a midden for migrating tribes who used to come in the winter and feast on the lake's shellfish - fresh water mussels, crab and so forth. They left behind vast swathes of shells.

Both of my grandfather's (O.J. Thibodeaux - quite a local character with his trademark pink Caddies) former homes there didn't fare too well in Rita. The one right on the lake (with the large covered boatslip) flooded. The other had a huge, ancient oak collapse through the roof.

Posted by: CFShep on June 20, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist

Ignorance is bliss I suppose.

But sportsman, hunters and fisherman, have contributed more to maintaining and improving the environment than any other single group.

Now it may be that you prefer your animals killed with a nail gun instead of a rifle, and that's fine. Some people just can't handle the reality of it.

But don't pretend to have any moral superiority due to you're own hypocrisy.

Posted by: Davebo on June 20, 2006 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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