From an editorial in The Daily Standard:

Putting Lipstick on a pig!

Grand Lake is dying and Congressman Boehner wants to “study the problem!”  Talk about fiddling while Rome burns!  The lake improvement committees and local officials are working their hearts out and Boehner wants to study the problem.  His “principles” won’t let him earmark money to help the people who elected him.  The people facing bankruptcy have a “terrible problem” but Boehner thinks there are plenty of programs available to do the job.”  He met with “Stakeholders.”  How many of those “Stakeholders” are cottage and small business owners from around the lake?  Or are they just collateral damage?

In other states, members of congress put markups in appropriation bills for some really silly stuff to be built in their districts.  What has our congressman done for his constituents?  Who are the contributors to his campaign funds?  Perhaps in November the congressman should be given more free time to, “study the problem.” 

The BS going into the lake is matched by the BS from federal and state officials who want to stall, study, delay or worry about costs while the thousands of citizens of Celina and lakeside communities are exposed to dangerous toxins, denied the use of their lake, and forced to watch their property devalued for the sake of an industry that refuses to clean up its act or wants others to foot the bill.  Boehner and Gov. Ted Strickland are leading practitioners of the “Mushroom Theory of Management – keep their constituents in the dark and feed ’em horse manure.”

Dogs and wildlife are dying.  People are getting sick.  Do we have to wait until people are dying before our elected officials recognize this as a crisis?  This is not a complicated problem – stop putting s_ _ t in the lake and then clean the lake by dredging or temporary draining.  Grand Lake needs stand-up politicians.  Where is Erin Brockovich when we need her?  This is a perfect setup for a class-action lawsuit.  I hope there are plenty of lawyers reading this.

“Agriculture can’t be expected to bear the cost of preventing waste products from entering the lake.”  Why not?  Every industry (and animal agriculture is an industry) is expected to control the pollution it produces.  BP is paying billions to clean up the gulf, and its oil spill is no more toxic than what is in our lake..  Other polluting industries are not allowed to dump into the lake.  No one would suggest that a canning company or meat packing plant be allowed to destroy the waterways in their vicinity.

“It took time to destroy the lake and it will take time to clean it up.”  Garbage!  Legume filter strips can be planted in a week.  Surface disposal of manure is unacceptable at any time of the year.  Manure can be sub-soiled after drainage tiles are closed to prevent seepage into the waterways.  Livestock production units can install manure storage facilities that exceed the expected annual production and have a waste control berm, just like oil storage facilities.  These are all the responsibility of the landowner.  Permits to construct new livestock factories or expand old ones should be withheld until it is demonstrated conclusively that their waste won’t enter waterways.  Existing facilities which cannot adapt stringent pollution controls should be closed.  These steps would take months, not years.

“We’ll treat the lake with chemicals.”  Chemical treatments, floating flower beds, and other stopgap measures to eliminate algae are “putting lipstick on a pig.”  The public may think something is being done, but long-lasting treatments are needed.  You can’t fill a sieve from the top.  The inflow of waste has to end.

“We can’t afford it.”  A $185,000,000 recreational industry has been destroyed.  Can we afford that? 

Canceling the governor’s Cup will cost businesses in Celina at least $3,000,000 in one weekend.  How many policeman’s salaries and street repairs would that take care of?  Marinas have closed.  Restaurants are going broke.  Real estate values are tanking.  Tax income is falling.  The lake stinks.  The federal government (with Boehner’s approval) borrows $60,000,000,000 (yes, 10 zeros) from the Chinese to fight an unwinnable war in a country where we have no national interest, and more billions to bailout corrupt financial institutions, but we can’t clean up a 13,500-acre lake to protect American lives and jobs?

If the lake dies, Celina dies.  Grand Lake has cancer.  That cancer is going to spread and result in a slow, painful death for Celina and other waterfront communities, marked by empty store fronts, lost industry, lost jobs, no new construction and increasing taxes on those least able to pay.  The time to fix the lake is now, while it can still be done.

For the record, I am not anti-agriculture.  I was raised on a farm, have three degrees in agriculture and taught biology and environmental studies at the college level for over 30 years.  And, Mr. Boehner aside, I am a lifelong Republican.  This is an issue of survival and quality of life, not pro or anti-farmer.

Eric V. Nelson, Celina