Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The real estate in Vancouver

After yesterday's ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States, I'm thinking that moving to Canada would be awesome, except that once there, I probably wouldn't be able to find a job.

It's just that, I'm having a really hard time understanding how we could sacrifice the well being of our environment for profit, because really, the thought makes me cringe. I'm getting a little emotional as we speak just thinking about all of the harm that could come to our wetlands, playa lakes, natural ponds, streams and aquifers and the wildlife innately connected to them because of the conservative justices on the Supreme Court.

Yesterday, Justice Kennedy wrote the presiding opinon of a fractured court and sent that case back to an appeals court. Basically, (and nothing is really basic about law) a guy in Michigan had a few marsh-like ponds on his property. The Army Corps of Engineers, the entity that enforces the parameters of the Clean Water Act and most environmental statues and laws, said that the guy couldn't develop on those areas becuase they fall under the federal provisions of the Clean Water Act, and if he wanted to alter them he had to go throught Army Corps of Engineers to get a special use permit, which is a very drawn-out process, only because with nature, you can never be too careful.

Now, the guy gets it in his head that he's going to develop the land anyway, so he fills the marshes, which are near tributaries that flow into a river that flows into one of the five Great Lakes (which share a border with Canada, might I add) and then he plants a crop of corn, like nothing ever happened. Well, the government filed criminal charges against him, and he was convicted. Chances are, he'll go to prison. But that's not all. Other cases followed with similar circumstances where people want to develop land that has ecosystems that fall under the provisions of the Act. Well, the Army Corps won't let 'em, and these people have money and lawyers, so they're fighting it.

So, three opinions were rendered yesterday; one by Justice Kennedy, which The New York Times says sounds more like a majority opinion with few exacting exceptions; one by Justice Stevens, which several times calls out the more conservative justices as something akin to activists (a concept that Republicans are staunchly against when the topic of gay marriage comes up); and one by Justice Scalia, the hardline conservative of the bunch, which the NYT said sounded a lot like a dissenting opinion.

Scalia said the Army Corps of Engineers were interpreting the Clean Water Act so broadly that that they were regulating "dry arroyos in the middle of the desert." Really? I'd like to see proof of that. The Act does regulate the Rio Grande, which I guess you could call a desert since it no longer flows to the Gulf of Mexico, but dry arroyos? Get a grip! Maybe what is now a dry arroyo was once a river or stream with a strong current, but is after being diverted and dammed, it's just a parched creekbed.

So, I'm incensed. I'm really pissed off. Our Earth deserves so much better than to be raped and filled with sand and asphalt so some asshole can grow some corn, which is so incredibly over produced that we've got surplus after surplus bursting from grain silos from here to kingdom come!

So, if anyone sees any good jobs in Canada-- I'm not really picky, but I'd Vancouver or Edmonton -- please let me know.

And now, an illustration...


Olivia said...

Edmonton? No, the two mildest cities in Canada are Vancouver and Calgary, and my Dad is now in Calgary (you may remember he moved up from Houston).

He may work in the oil business, but he is "the enemy" and even votes green - he's the required environmental consultant that no one wants to listen to.

If you want I can get him to put out a feeler. Journalism, right? He's pretty good at networking and i am sure he knows someone or other.
Email me or something whenever you get time...

lunaliar said...

I'm glad you realize that I'm really serious about this. It's just so hard to see that when it comes to decisions like this, you don't have any control over the moral vapidity of the judicial branch. I was asked earlier "When do property rights end and federal regulation begin?" My answer: When the properto owner has total disregard for the well being of the citizens that his decision may effect. That man had no right to fill what was a habitat for migratory birds, and the consequences should be felt, people should be warned.

Vancouver Daily Photo said...

It seems Vancouer is the city of choice recently. Lots of Americans, Calgarians and Europeans are settling. That's the good news, the bad news is we also do lots of dumb things.

The Eggplant said...

Pardon a random question: is "raped and filled with sand" a regionalism? This is only the second time I have encountered it.