From Over the Transom
In MemoriamThe industry lost 40-year industry veteran Henry Theller last month.
Theller was parts manager for Higgins Rig Co.; he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.
Water Advocates Commends Water LegislationWater Advocates has commended the House of Representatives for overwhelmingly passing H.R. 1973, the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005. This legislation will make safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy.
The legislation was introduced by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and strongly supported by Chairman of the Committee on International Relations Henry Hyde (R-IL). Similar legislation in the Senate, introduced by Majority Leader Frist and cosponsored by Minority Leader Reid, has received strong bipartisan support as well.
The majority of preventable deaths in the world stem from contaminated drinking water and inadequate sanitation, which together kill between two million and five million people each year - mostly children under five years of age. Waterborne diseases cause more than 80 percent of illnesses in the developing world.
- Makes expanding access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate sanitation a major foreign policy objective of the United States.
- Requires the State Department and USAID to develop a strategy for U.S. water and sanitation efforts abroad, and directs USAID to implement those projects.
- Recognizes water access as critical to U.S. national security efforts and directs the administration to expand programs that promote trans-boundary cooperation on water issues.
- Acknowledges clean water and sanitation as a catalyst for public health, education, economic development, poverty reduction, women's empowerment, conflict prevention and environmental sustainability.
It is, indeed, refreshing to see an issue of such magnitude and significance be embraced in a bi-partisan way. And in that light, it is most befitting that the legislation bears the name of Paul Simon, a man who always was held in the highest esteem on both sides of the aisle.
That being said, the hope here is that this doesn't become one of those deals where something that certainly looks good on the outside gets infected with cancer (politics) and rots from the inside. The legislation talks a lot about noble objectives, strategy development, promoting just causes and recognizing this and acknowledging that. Sounds real nice (but hollow?). There will be wide, gleaming smiles for the cameras at the ceremony and they'll have to break out the Ben Gay for the sore shoulders, what with all that patting each other on the back. But all too often, our elected officials then slither back to their lairs and plan the manipulation of the situation to meet their personal agendas, rendering something that should make us all proud as Americans into an expensive and ineffective charade.
Kindly pardon the cynicism; I do hope it is unfounded.
Domestic Water CostsThe annual water survey conducted by the NUS Consulting Group found the average price of water in the United States climbed by 3.5 percent in the last year to $2.34 per thousand gallons
The highest costs (per Mgal.): Huntington, W.Va. ($5.49); Pittsburgh ($4.76); Newport, N.H. ($4.42); Boston ($4.16); Burlington, Vt. ($3.58).
The lowest: Greenville, Miss. ($0.80); Savannah, Ga. ($0.87); Biloxi, Miss. ($1.26); Chicago ($1.29); Charleston, S.C. ($1.33).
Easier Oil/Gas DrillingThe Bush administration has eased checks for oil and gas drilling. The streamlined process will make it easier get a permit to drill on public lands. The new rule is expected to spur drilling on open ranges and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Citing immediate energy needs, the law creates categorical exclusions allowing for new oil, gas and geothermal wells without conducting new environmental studies or soliciting public comment. The exclusions cover instances where no more than 5 acres in any one spot are disturbed and where drilling has occurred nearby in the past five years.
An Ounce of Prevention...From the “We Could Have Told You That” files:
The European Environment Agency completed a study that concludes tackling wastewater pollution at the source is cheaper than cleaning up afterward. Quite predictably, it's the old Eastern Bloc countries that are putting the heaviest drag on the big picture across the pond, making them convenient scapegoats. The countries that are failing to meet the agreed-upon objectives by the least amount see the need for the study so they can point their fingers at countries that lag the farthest behind (this came as a surprise?).