OPINION – “If we do not grow we die.” So said St. George City Manager Gary Esplin at the Washington County Water Conservancy District where the first portion of the biweekly City Council meeting was recently held.
The meeting was hosted by the WCWCD so that some final details for a vote on an increase in funding for water treatment facilities could be addressed; but it stood to reason that the controversial Lake Powell Pipeline was briefly discussed as well.
The head of the WCWCD, Ron Thompson, refuted any notions that conservation was a viable option for water issues in the county, going so far as to imply that even such draconian measures as cutting down all the trees and tearing up all the grass would not put a dent in the problem.
Who said anything about any of this? Is that the only medium for conservation in the minds of those at the WCWCD? Does it not stand to reason that we should at least consider viable options before committing to a $1-2 billion project that the taxpayers alone will shoulder?
Furthermore, has the WCWCD truly considered viable alternatives?
Barbara Hjelle of the WCWCD does not seem to think so. In a recent St. George News article by Mori Kessler, she was interviewed on the LPP.
“Look at the data.” Hjelle said. “You’ll find there isn’t a more effective alternative [than the pipeline].”
According to who? The people of the WCWCD that’s who.
•••••••• ••• YouTube by WhoPaysForWaste with Dallas Hyland as a contributor ••• ••••••••
I cannot urge the citizens of this county enough to do diligence on this and look at as much of the evidence as possible so an informed decision can be made.
Draconian scare tactics are effective to uninformed masses and that is largely what people in this area tend to be on this subject – but the ramifications of this project are too serious to let this continue to be the case.
Last week Utah’s House Bill 0174, (the “Sales and Use Tax Allocations for Water Resources Construction Fund” Bill), received a favorable recommendation to the House from the Revenue and Taxation Committee, and fiscal notes were sent to its sponsor on third House Reading Feb. 22. This bill, if passed, amends existing statutes to allocate 15 percent of the growth in certain sales and use tax revenue and other enumerated sales and use tax revenue statewide to water projects such as the LPP. If passed by the House, and then the Senate, it is staged to go into effect July 1 of this year. Linked here is the full text of the statutes with proposed amendments.
Pay attention here now, that means the entire state will now shoulder the burden for the water being brought to Washington and possibly surrounding counties.
This earmark of sales tax in addition to that allocated to roads and highways means that a considerable portion of certain sales and use tax revenue in this state is spoken for.
This will affect already hurting areas funded by the taxes such as education, public safety, and health assistance.
The LPP advocates maintain its necessity largely upon somewhat hazy and fluctuating growth projections, which put Washington County at roughly 800,000 people in the next fifty years give or take a few hundred thousand. (Seriously, it is that vague at this time.)
But the question of growth notwithstanding, what if we bury ourselves in debt and perpetuate social cycles of poor education with all that comes with those factors in the process?
And fluctuating and hazy growth numbers not withstanding, how much growth can this region actually handle? How much is enough? How much is too much?
Historical accounts of societal collapses, by application, show our current drive for perpetual and unending consumption and growth to be a recipe for disaster.
The pioneers who settled this area had grit and foresight but most of all prudence, modesty, and a stewardship mindset. The ideologies held so dear by these people championed these things in groundbreaking ways.
The politics of our area now have seemingly abandoned those ideologies for the lure of something more perennial: the sweetness of economic overindulgence. Seriously, when did we begin the process of defining ourselves as a culture by our consumptive habits? Since when does growth have to be relegated only to economic growth, i.e. fast food restaurants, hair salons, payday loan stores, and buy-here-pay-here car lots? What about the healthy growth that comes from sustaining and cultivating the community we already have?
If we don’t grow, we die? Says who?
I would assert it might be the growth that kills us in the end.
See you out there.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.