Environmentalists Are Muscling In on Atlanta's Water Supply
November 7, 2007
Irvine, CA--With the Southeast suffering a prolonged drought, the city of Atlanta, Georgia, has only about a three month supply of readily accessible water. Nevertheless, in compliance with the Endangered Species Act, the Army Corps of Engineers continues to drain more than a billion gallons a day from Lake Lanier, Atlanta's main water source, to release it downstream for an endangered species of mussel.
"The Endangered Species Act is a danger to the human species," said Dr. Keith Lockitch, a resident fellow of the Ayn Rand Institute. "People find it hard to believe that environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act could really require the sacrifice of human beings to nature. But that is exactly what they have to mean in practice; they mean that in order to sustain some obscure mussel species, the people in Atlanta must go without water.
Environmentalists claim that blaming the mussels is unfair. They say it is just a way of diverting attention from the real causes of the water crisis, which, in their view, are a lack of strict water conservation mandates and the 'unbridled development' of metro Atlanta over the last few years."
But, says Lockitch, "this amounts to the bizarre claim that the problem is not a failure to build reservoirs and expand water capacity, but a 'failure' to obstruct economic progress and impose draconian water restrictions on Atlanta. In other words, the environmentalists' view is that Atlantans should sacrifice even more to nature.
"In fact, the opposite is the case. Solving the Southeast's water problems requires the rejection of the Endangered Species Act and environmentalist obstacles to development and growth. Indeed, the real solution is more profit-driven development. What is needed is a water management system that is entirely owned and operated by private individuals and companies, who would be driven by the profit motive to ensure a sufficient water capacity. A wholly private system would protect the rights of all users with a legitimate interest in the Chattahoochee River Basin--including metro Atlanta as well as the energy plants downstream and the Florida seafood industry in the Gulf--with no one requiring that human beings be sacrificed to mussels."
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