Mobile Water Board Withdraws Into Executive Session: No Decision Announced on Watershed Pipeline

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caution_water3b

Caution sign by the bridge leading to Big Creek Lake

The Mobile Area Water and Sewer System Board may have decided to continue opposing a crude oil pipeline through the watershed of its reservoir, or it may not have, according to Mobile Bay Sierra Club Conservation Chair David Underhill.

At the end of its meeting on Feb. 10, the board and its lawyers withdrew into executive session, he said, so “any secluded decisions they made about persisting with their legal resistance or quitting remain unknown to the public.”

But before this they allowed some citizens to address them. So many had signed up that the chairman decreed not all could speak. Murmurs and complaints came from the large crowd. They said the first three on the list could talk. Then for reasons never explained three were allowed to speak, but not those atop the list, Underhill said.

When they finished, there were more murmurs and complaints. Two more were selected. The five who spoke were Joe Womack, Tom Hutchings, Suzanne Schwartz, Omar Smith and David Underhill.

Underhill delivered the following statement to the board, according to his notes.

Ashes to ashes—dust to dust. You are mostly water. Remove it and nothing remains but a few handfuls of ashes and dust.

You are water that stood up and walked. You are water that learned to think and talk. Remove the water and those miraculous traits evaporate.

The same is true of the communities you are pledged to serve. Remove their water and they will soon be reduced to ashes and dust.

That water is now under threat. You have become acquainted with the nature of the risks—also with some of the calamitous consequences elsewhere when these risks were taken. And other speakers will remind you of these things.

So I will merely say that communities and individuals who will not defend their water are announcing that they will not defend themselves. They are losing the impulse of self-preservation—which leaves them, at best, destined to become implements serving the interests of others and, at worst, marks them as fated for extinction.

By your decision on how to proceed about the pipeline through the watershed you will show whether you are determined to defend and preserve yourselves and the communities you serve. If your decision shows that you are not, then others will have to step forward and do so in your place.

See more coverage here under the tar sands crude tag.

© 2014, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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