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May 3, 2011
Conservation catch 22
We hear the same incessant bleating from the hard left environmental autocrats in the media, in our legislatures and in our schools. They force-feed us their unrelenting message that Americans must conserve, recycle, and protect the environment. They cry out that our natural resources are running out, we are poisoning the earth, swatting aside endangering species, melting the glaciers and forcing shivering polar bears to starve amongst the vanishing ice floes of the Arctic. As Hagrid, from the Harry Potter series might blurt out, "That's a load of codswollop."
The truth of the matter is that the left uses the, "Oh God, we must save the planet from thoughtless humans and evil corporations" argument as a guilt-inducing bludgeon to control our lives and re-distribute our hard earned money into the hands of the government.
Customers of the East Bay's largest water district could see 6 percent rate increases this summer and again next year under a plan that would ratchet up rates nearly one-third higher than they were two years ago.A public hearing and vote is scheduled June 14.The hikes, which are a full 1 percent higher than the district anticipated in its last budget, follow 7.5 percent and 8.7 percent increases during the past two years.Customers conserving water are driving the rate increases. They have been using about 15 percent less water since 2008, so the district has to charge more to cover its costs, the district said. [Emphasis added]And some of those costs are rising. Health care and retirement benefit costs are expected to be about $5.2 million more than budgeted, while fuel costs and the costs of chemicals used in the district's plants are rising, according to the district.In addition, said district spokesman Charles Hardy, the district has begun paying for some major recent projects, including a water main through Walnut Creek and the nearly $1 billion Freeport intake on the Sacramento River that the district shares with Sacramento.
Let me suggest that each of EBMUD's 1.4 million customers increase their water consumption by 15%. The District will not have to raise rates, and all those East Bay gardeners could then grow larger vegetable gardens to offset the inflationary prices of food in the supermarket. Win-win. Right?
During the past decade EBMUD has pleaded with it customers to conserve. The community responded by taking shorter showers, letting lush green lawns wither, driving dirty cars, and yes, flushing less often. Now as reward for this voluntary conservation, EBMUD's rates may be jacked up by almost 30% over the next four years.
Water needs to be affordable to all citizens, not a luxury purchase. Raising water rates at three times the current rate of inflation, in a state where real unemployment is still over 20%, and where the real estate market continues it's slow slide into the Pacific Ocean, can be only described as punitive, confiscatory and soulless.