"With the pull of a lever, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne released a 60-hour torrent from the base of Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona, shooting water at a rate of 300,000 gallons per second down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park. Interior officials painted the event an environmental green, predicting the so-called "high-flow experiment" would scour the river bottom and restore sandbars along the river, creating backwater areas essential to native plant and fish species.
"This gives you a glimpse of what nature has been doing for millions of years," Mr. Kempthorne gushed as he flushed.
Actually, it's more like what man has been doing to the Colorado River for the past 45 years.
Before 1963 when the Glen Canyon Dam was built near the Arizona-Utah border, the Colorado River was warm and muddy.
Since then, the river's flow has been artificially regulated — principally for power generation. The dam traps virtually all the river's sediment, and the Colorado today is so clear and cold that it's extinguished four fish species and pushed two others to the brink.
Time and again, appointees of the Bush administration at the Interior Department have made it a practice — some might say even a point of pride — to override the advice of the agency's scientists and make decisions that exploit natural resources at the expense of the environment. Mr. Kempthorne's plan for the Colorado River is the latest example.
For hosting a media event on Wednesday and cynically portraying his "high-flow experiment" at Glen Canyon Dam as strategy for improving the health of the river and its species, Mr. Kempthorne is guilty of deception and "green washing.""
Get the Story:
Editorial: Mr. Kempthorne's Deception
(The Hartford Courant 3/7)
Manmade Flood Unleashed in Grand Canyon
Torrent in Colorado River Is Unleashed to Aid Fish
(The New York Times 3/6)