Our grandfathers were builders. Our fathers were maintainers and we, alas are dismantlers.
Theodore Roosevelt looked at the isthmus of Panama and envisioned a canal. Then Roosevelt looked at the arid west with its raging rivers and envisioned dams and irrigation. That's why we can live here. It's why Phoenix isn't like Egypt--400 miles long and a mile wide, lifeless desert cut by the thin blue ribbon of the Nile
Then men like Carl Hayden, Morris Udall, John Rhodes and Barry Goldwater looked at Arizona and realized that it has plenty of water--it's just in the wrong place. They envisioned a project that would move 1.3 million acre feet of Colorado River water over a distance of 300 miles, with a rise of 3,000 feet.
Do you know how much power it takes to move 1.3 million acre feet of water up 3,000 feet and across 300 miles? It takes an entire power plant. Our Grandfathers who built the canal and the power plant also realized that they could use Navajo and Hopi coal to power that plant and give the tribes a revenue source for generations to come.
Today's "leaders" want to close the plant--We've gone from "envisioning" to "building" to "maintaining" to "dismantling" in four generations. And each generation seems to find a novel way to screw the Indians.
In yesterday's post, I pointed out the irony of Representative Tom Chabin railing against Carbon despite representing a district whose main industry is coal power production. Today, I point the finger more widely.
Sure, some have argued that we could tear down the Navajo generating station and replace it with a solar plant. Those who make that argument don't understand that a 2,200 Megawatt solar plant would cost $9 billion and still only have 30% capacity.
If you want to understand the magnitude of the cost of tearing down the Navajo Generating Station, watch this five minute video by CAP President Susan Bitter-Smith.
After you watch it, ask your self what your grandfather would think about it.
Post Script: While it's obvious that our political leaders lack the gravitas of previous generations, what about our journalists?
In early November I pointed out the Republic's use of inflammatory and inaccurate caption on the photograph of the Navajo Generating Station.
Then, last Friday, the Republic ran another article on Arizona's carbon production that focused on the Navajo plant and was based on this statement.
Carbon dioxide contributes to poor air quality and is a component of pollution that can cause respiratory illnesses.
The Carbon debate is the most pressing environmental issue of our time and that sentence was written by the Republic's environmental reporter and yet Shaun McKinnon got that sentence--and thus the story it undergirds--completely wrong.
I'm not saying it's wrong in some sort of Global Warming Denier kind of way. I'm saying that every environmental scientist will tell you it's wrong. You might even say there's a "consensus" that it's wrong.
Carbon dioxide goes straight into the atmosphere. It is not an ambient air pollutant, so it does not "contribute to poor air quality" and it is not a "component of pollution that can cause respiratory illnesses". The entire carbon debate is limited to carbon's effect on humanity through its impact on the global climate. There is obviously a lot of good liturature on the topic, but here's a good start.
There was a time when reporters knew as much about their subjects as the practitioners themselves did, but the expert curmudeons are gone--replaced by interns and newbies.
Now someone who last week was editing the entertainment section can have a job criticizing Congressmen. The readers can spot fraud. It's not just the kids who no longer subscribe, it's also the professionals. The kids instinctively don't trust the papers, while the professionals know the articles aren't accurate.
Our grandfathers could build, they could lead and they could write. Our generation is replacing the reporters with bloggers...but who will replace the builders and leaders?