There are a number of problems with Duke Hipps approach to managing the collarlands around the lakes (besides the arrogance). Unfortunately, U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwoods spokesman (letter, Sept. 3) has not considered the science involved here. At least he appears to have a very limited understanding of managing a water resource. And it is, and I believe should continue to be, a water resource that is being managed and not a real estate resource.
Hipp expects the Corps to deliver clean water downstream, but he is unwilling to allow them to continue to use the tools they need to do the job. Any good hydrologist will tell you that the best and cheapest way to protect the quality of a water resource is to surround it with undisturbed, vegetated land. Indeed, New York city, after considerable research, concluded that it was cheaper for them to buy the watershed that provides their drinking water rather than allowing that land to be developed and then having to treat their drinking water. (Sometimes you can learn something from those city folks.)
So the collarlands serve a perfectly valid function doing what they do now, protecting our water resource from our own desire to be near the water and our societys lack of understanding of basic water quality protection.
But Hipp wants to take away the Corps capacity to effectively manage the water resource while continuing to hold them responsible for maintaining a pristine resource. That is not only unfair to the Corps, it is unfair to all of us downstream who depend on the quality of that water resource. Depending on the counties surrounding the lakes to protect our water resource would be stupid. After all, how might Richmond or Columbia County be able to effectively persuade McCormick County to be careful with our water? McCormick County would, of course, be more interested in developing their land.
In spite of Hipps insistence, local control is not always best, but it is certainly most easily intimidated by those who might want to take advantage of a weakness. I believe that I would rather have the Corps defending my water resource than any of the counties upstream.
In his letter, Hipp states - with a confidence edging toward arrogance - Under the bill, neither the safety nor pristine quality of the lakes would be jeopardized whatsoever, period. Well, I suppose that depends what he means by safety and pristine quality, but the water quality would most certainly not only be jeopardized but degraded by the development of the shoreline that would be encouraged by HR 2753. And that conclusion, Mr. Hipp, is based on science.
Frank Carl, Ph.D.
(Frank Carl is executive director of Savannah Riverkeeper, Inc.; HR 2753 was withdrawn last week.)
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