Archive for September 7th, 2008

by jhwygirl

A Supreme Court decision issued last week effectively legitimizes sprawl and high-density development outside of high-growth, centralized infrastructure places with sewer and water and fire, such as cities and municipalities.

The plaintiffs in the case, senior water rights holders on the Upper Missouri basin, cited the potential harm to their senior water rights on the Gallatin River as the reason why a community well system should be denied for a high-density development located outside of what is typically required for high-density development: cities and towns with water and sewer infrastructure.

The Upper Missouri River basin was declared a closed basin in 1993. That declaration formalized what was already known: That the water rights in the Upper Missouri basin were over-appropriated. As a result of the closed basin disclosure, a moratorium was placed on all new water applications.

A separate law allows for exemptions to new water rights allocations for municipalities. What this ruling does is it sanctions the removal of a fairly new water rights ARM (36.12.101(36)) that had been enacted as a result of river basin closures.

What is unbelievable to me is that multiple state representatives can speak out against sprawl and testify in several interim committees, as they have been doing this interim session, for rules that would help prevent sprawl and over-allocation of water rights and building in the urban wildland interface (WUI) area, and yet here is the state joining together with a private entity (Utility Solutions, LLC) seemingly to sanction high density development outside of urban areas with appropriate infrastructure such as police and fire services, and water and sewage treatment facilities.

It’s a short-sighted view. Certainly a community system (1 well) is better than multiple wells – but what about all the other services? What about the traffic? The pressure on rural services? The need for more roads? Air quality? Quality of life? And so on and so on?

I also love it how the legislature enacts laws, and then ARM rules are enacted that exempt all kinds of stuff – like 35 gpm wells, which show total disregard for senior water rights and septic mixing zones, which receive little review and can be defacto approved on your property without your approval or having received appropriate compensation.

For me, this is an example of a whole undermining of the legislative process: Elected officials enact laws, and then ARM rules are enacted (or enacted and then withdrawn) that undo that which was done in the legislature.

by jhwygirl

If it’s anything that made make me walk away from the keyboard for the afternoon, it was this: U.S. Outlines Fan-Fred Takeover. Or this: U.S. Unveils Takeover of Two Mortgage Giants (and why does James. B. Lockhart look happy in that picture?). Or this: U.S. Announces Takeover of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac.

Hmmm, Sunday’s must be even better than those Friday afternoon news dumps. On the other hand, maybe what they’re trying to do is prevent an all-out run on the market tomorrow morning.

I hope I start hearing some people that work in Washington – like Bernanke and Paulson and Obama and McCain and Pelosi and Boehner and Reed and Mitch McConnell and everyone else start talking reform here real soon. Is there not an urgency to this? How long can the U.S. economy wait?

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