2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 2 Sep 2003 16:53:59 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] A river to save
A river to save
The fate of the San Pedro will rest on McCain's shoulders
Sept. 2, 2003 12:00 AM

The day of reckoning for the imperiled San Pedro River is near.

When Congress goes back to work this week after its August break, the
conference committee to reconcile versions of the 2004 Defense
Authorization Bill will make an important decision:

Keep the river flowing or put in place exemptions to environmental laws
that very likely will be the death knell for the San Pedro.

The San Pedro is a natural resource treasure, a lush riparian habitat
that attracts tourists and contributes to the economies of Sierra Vista
and other communities in southeastern Arizona. Half of North America's
bird species use the river at some point in their life cycle, making it
a birder's paradise. Congress should protect these vanishing natural
wonders, not contribute to their deaths.

The river's fate rests in the hands of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who is
seen as the crucial player on the severest tests yet for the San Pedro,
one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Southwest.

At issue is a rider that was tacked onto the $400 billion spending bill
by freshman Rep. Rick Renzi, a Republican representing northern Arizona.
The amendment is not in the Senate version, which puts on McCain's
shoulders the responsibility to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down.

We believe McCain should focus squarely on the protection of the river
and stop the Renzi rider dead in its tracks

The ramifications of the Renzi rider are immense. It would absolve Fort
Huachuca of the responsibility for off-post groundwater pumping. That
means the Army no longer would have to take into consideration the
effect of off-post operations on the region's fragile aquifer. Thus,
it's not a stretch to envision more growth of military contractors in
the area, more people and the deficit in the aquifer getting larger.

If that happens, the San Pedro River would become a dusty and dry
riverbed, and the meandering stream through cottonwoods and willows
would be the stuff of memories.

This article can be viewed at:

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