Monday, August 31, 2009

Geography & Politics of Solutions

Why is it that so many seek federal solutions to problems the state and locals can't seem to fix?

S. 787 is supported by many arguing that their states are ineffective in safeguarding surface water quality. Rather than jack up their state and local water quality management institutions and roll up their collective sleeves - they choose to support federal regulatory expansion over every bit of surface water in their state. What if the feds can't solve the problem, or worse yet, work at solving it in ways the supporters object to? The regulated stakeholders are toast.

The working draft of the Sustainable Watershed Planning Act is another example. Let's give POTUS and EPA the authority and funding to achieve sustainability in our top ten poster-watersheds. The public in these areas better hope they do it the way the locals think it should be done, or they're maybe going to wish they stayed more involved.

Deferring these solutions to the federal government simply insures that someone is eventually going to have to "fight city hall" or try to "turn the battleship on a dime". The regulated stakeholders will almost invariably be better off directly involving themselves in the problems and solutions. The federal role should be restricted to technical and funding support - ONLY when asked by the state and local folks working on the problem. This is especially true in water issues.

The harder these problems and solutions are, the more complex they are, and the less you want the federal government fixing them. There, I've said it.

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