Over 200 organizations, including our own, the West Michigan Jobs Group, are asking Obama to sign an executive order to complete the Federal water budget study.
Here's the thing...when energy's impact on water starts screwing with my beer..... that's it, man. That's where we draw the line.
Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan - brewer of Bell's Oberon Ale - is suing Enbridge Inc in an attempt to keep their source water clean. Bell's is one of the fastest growing craft breweries in America. If you haven't had a Bell's Oberon, go out and get one. It is a transcendent beer. It's one of the prides of West Michigan.
...and Enbrdige, you know Enbridge. They're the folks who dumped nearly a million gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo river. Lot's of it is still there by the way. Four years later. At the bottom of the river.
Here we see playing out once again a common and growing problem: Energy production is screwing with everybody else's access to our dwindling water resources. It is over-using water in the water it uses, in the water it pollutes, in the water it diverts out of the source watershed.
Our energy production competes against other water interests from agriculture to home consumption to beer production. And the competition is only going to get worse. The Great Lakes are at long term historic lows. The Upper Mississippi is expected to become un-navigable due to low water levels. The massive Ogallala Aquifer stretching from Texas to Nebraska is at alarming lows. Lake Mead is on the cusp of seeing more outflow than inflow, even as it's at historic lows.
Water is stretched. Our farmers and food producers are competing...COMPETING with energy interests who actually use MORE water than they do. And here come hydrofracking interests pumping ten million gallons or more per well into the ground....water so infused with God Knows What undisclosed chemicals we're both glad that it's locked under the water table and terrified of what's going to burble up into the water table.
Meanwhile we continue to let energy account for about half of all our water draw in the US. We aren't heading for a crisis....we're already there. Water levels are so low that power plant water intakes are ABOVE water and air is getting into the system....or the water temperatures are so warm the plants can't safely operate - the Pilgrim nuclear plant was forced to lower power output......the power plant produces 15% of the power for Massachusetts.....when their output is limited the whole state gets whacked.
The crisis is happening now.
Hey...but here's the good news.
In 2009 the US Government called for a Federal Government Water Budget
study to research and create a roadmap for navigating energy water conflicts.
Unfortunately, it's never been released. It was buried. Left to languish under perpetual revisions for years. It needs to come to completion.
Here's what we want
1. The completion of a long-overdue national water census
2. The creation of a “U.S. Water Budget”
3. A real plan for a shift by 2030 from fossil fuel and nuclear power to clean energy, increased energy efficiency, and enhanced energy storage technologies in key watersheds.