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Richard Crowson Commentary

Richard Crowson: Something NOT To Be Thankful For

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One of the things I did not give thanks for yesterday before my family’s Thanksgiving meal was the Wichita City Council. Nor was I able to express gratitude for the pure and pristine waters of the Arkansas River.

This past Tuesday, the council had a workshop on storm water management at which, according to Dion Lefler’s story in the Wichita Eagle, they openly admitted that they wanted to do as little as possible to clean up our Arkansas River’s water. They are proudly looking for loopholes and end runs around the federal Clean Water Act. They are considering spending your tax dollars to hire consultants who can find ways to defy water quality regulations. Council member Michael O’Donnell said he wants to “make the EPA as inconsequential as possible,” adding that, “we need to do the most minimum amount of work we can.” They are working hard at something, though: keeping clean rivers out of your family’s prayers of thankfulness.

They say it stifles growth. Doesn’t attract new businesses. One has to wonder what kind of businesses they’re going after—Charles Dickens-era industrial factories that belch and puke pollution into our water?

We think of our nation’s Thanksgiving tradition and we’re naturally reminded of the original Americans. The council’s statements and actions regarding water quality show that they have moved in diametrical opposition to Native Americans’ philosophy of living in harmony with our natural environment. It makes me wonder why they don’t just take some blow torches to our Keeper of the Plains sculpture and toss it into the Arkansas River water as well. That would be more consistent with their attitude toward the river, rather than having a festival that celebrates it every year in Wichita.

So, while you’re participating in Black Friday today, say a little prayer that we don’t someday have black river water—polluted by the efforts of the Wichita City Council.