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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/26/16

The St. Johns River, a pristine natural treasure, falls prey to the greed of the Koch Borthers and their powerful allies

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In all fairness, anyone who wants to make a real go of it in business - on any level - and is willing to go to any extreme to succeed, should study and try to emulate these two brothers from Wichita, Kan. Any way you slice it, Koch Industries is a gargantuan conglomerate and is the second-largest privately held company in the United States.

When you have as much money and corporate mojo as Charles and David Koch, politicians are at your beck and call. And even if you don't have any interest in buying a river, you can certainly pollute it to high hell, with powerful state and federal politicians willing to do the dirty work for you.

It's scary when two family members have more clout than 3.5 million people, though. And this is exactly the jumping off point we're facing in America right now with the 1 percenters and their powerful power plays ruling so much of our country's resources, land, water and air, our government, and even our people.

But the hell with all the gavagai. Without water, there is no life. Case in point: The only planets NASA is interested in when discovering places that might have a possibility of having life also have a much stronger possibility of having water. And right now, the human race is in no way, shape or form able to afford to just trash Planet Earth and have us all take up life far out in space somewhere.

Just as American Indian activist and leader Winona LaDuke Anishinaabe sad, "Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn't make you a terrorist."

Well, I'd say dumping millions of gallons of toxic waste into the St. Johns River definitely makes all involved with this scandal - Charles and David Koch, along with high-profile dynamo politicians Jeb Bush and Rick Scott - fit Winona LaDuke Anishinaabe's definition of an environmental and ecological terrorist very well. In fact, it's a very tight-fitting shoe indeed.

According to a Tuesday, Jan. 26, article in The National Journal: "The United States is running out of fresh water. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., reminded the public of that at a conference Thursday in Albuquerque, N.M. Udall, who voted for a resolution authorizing U.S. military intervention that ultimately passed, wants the country to focus on such domestic issues. "I don't think this is the time for us to get em broiled in the Syrian civil war," he told NPR on Thursday, the article reads.

These multi-billionaire brothers want to pollute a major U.S. watershed, the St. John's River in Florida, and they have the political players to pull off the deal, too. Charles and David Koch - The Koch Brothers
These multi-billionaire brothers want to pollute a major U.S. watershed, the St. John's River in Florida, and they have the political players to pull off the deal, too. Charles and David Koch - The Koch Brothers
(Image by DonkeyHotey)
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"Global water consumption has tripled in the last 50 years. In the United States, the demand for fresh water will exceed the supply by 40 percent by the year 2030, according to a State Department report last year. Water scarcity results from short- and long-term droughts and human activity," The National Journal article continues.

"According to the Environmental Protection Agency, at least 36 states are faced with local or regional water shortages. In New Mexico, the Rio Grande is on the World Wildlife Fund's list of the top 10 endangered rivers in the world. Last summer, residential wells in the Midwest, from Indiana to Missouri, began drying up, making it difficult to "wash dishes, or fill a coffee urn, even to flush the toilet," The New York Times reported. In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry swore in board members on Wednesday to oversee the divvying up of $2 billion to finance water projects," the article contineus.

"Each month, 3.9 trillion gallons of water are consumed in the U.S. For many Americans, the idea that the country might someday run out of fresh water is unfathomable. That possibility is also extremely far off. There is, however, a chance that the country will start feeling some of the effects of a shrinking water supply much sooner. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a practice that many feel could give the U.S. energy independence, requires millions of gallons of water every day to extract natural gas from the earth. Nearly all of that water is lost," The National Journal article concludes.

So there you have it. Another important watershed taken hostage by greedy billionaires and corrupt politicians. Another scandal. It's just water under the bridge, or is it?

Think of it this way:When there's no fresh water to drink anymore, maybe we'll all realize that power plays and crooked business deals managed by powerful rich men were the ultimate cause of having no fresh water at all.

So drink up while there's some fresh water still available. Do some fishing this summer, and even some swimming, too. There's still some time. Enjoy! But make sure the body of fresh water that's involved with your recreational pursuits doesn't have toxic sludge at the bottom. And those dolphins? They're headed towards extinction like the Mastodons, if things don't change. I hate to break the news to you brothers and sisters, but if things don't make a quick turnaround with the H20 and how we manage it, we're all destined for extinction, too.

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Samuel Vargo worked as a full-time reporter and editor for more than 20 years at a number of daily newspapers and business journals. He was also an adjunct English professor at colleges and universities in Ohio, West Virginia, Mississippi (more...)

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