Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ken Salazar and ALP

Counterpunch for June 4 has a scathing indictment of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that cites his roots with the Animas-La Plata Project -- which the author also has a fun time disembowling -- as evidence of his legacy of servitude to big resource industries. 

Here's just a tasty morsel of Phillip Doe's case against Salazar from "Scapegoating Birnbaum, Saving Salazar": 

In Colorado, Ken Salazar has been an outspoken, lifelong supporter of ALP, the project American Rivers saw as threatening a river.  He supported it while Colorado Governor Roy Romer’s chief legal advisor and head of the Department of Natural Resources, then as Colorado Attorney General, then as U.S. Senator, and now as head of Interior.  He even used ALP to help propel himself into the senate seat through the spectacle of publicly kissing the ring of the lawyer who was the project godfather, of course with an adoring and uncritical press in tow.  On that occasion he declared with great humility that everything he knew about western water law he learned at the knee of the godfather.  I’m not kidding.

As for ALP, it is a shocker of a water project, even by western pork barrel standards.  It has no uses, just some laughable nonbinding scenarios for uses published in the project’s final EIS, of which 5 were written as due diligence smoke screens for this monument to mindless federal pork.  The construction costs of the project are over $600 million already, with hundreds of million more needed to move even a small portion of the water to any conceivable point of use since, at present, only a reservoir perched on a hillside exists with a complement of energy guzzling pumps needed to lift the water 500 feet from the river to the reservoir.  Billions more in interest payments will ultimately be added to the fiscal insanity since the public pays for all but a sliver of the costs.

The reservoir is fittingly named for Salazar’s predecessor in the senate, Ben Nighthorse Campbell.  He resigned from the senate while under felony investigation for influence peddling, thus opening the way for Salazar’s relentless climb.

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