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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Aquifer concerns

September 7, 2013

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To the editor:

High plains farmers are concerned about the aquifers of Kansas, and the Kansas Geological Survey has been trying to educate the public concerning this resource, but a recent study has caused the issue to resurface in the public mind and this is good. However your Sept. 4 editorial fails to mention two keys factors and does little to educate the public.

(1) The Renewable Fuel Standard mandates the “EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is responsible for developing and implementing regulations to ensure that transportation fuel sold in the United States contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel.” (EPA website) This required renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuel from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

(2) By Kansas law, water is a public resource that is dedicated to the use of the people of the state. Farmers obtain permission to use water for beneficial purposes by a water right (KGS website). Water management is the responsibility of several Kansas agencies.

Kansas farmers are not irresponsible as crackheads addicted to crack. (Your words not mine.) They are wise businessmen and women who are getting unprecedented returns for the water they use. Voters are responsible for the market that has been created and are also responsible for managing the water, through their elected representatives.  Your editorial did not educate, but resorted to the name-calling so prevalent in the media. The Journal-World should adhere to its own editorial requirements.

Comments

tomatogrower 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Those of us who really care about the environment and our dependence on oil, know these mandates come from a family that has bought and paid for several lawmakers, because they are deep into the production of ethanol. Ethanol is not the savior they try to convince you it is. It takes a lot of energy to produce, so there is not a net saving, and it drives up the cost of corn which drives up the cost of food. And it leads people to plant more and more corn and want more and more water.

Now you might say that farmers wouldn't do anything reckless, and their only concern is caring for the environment and the land, but we know that only applies to some. The others want more and more profit, and will do what it takes to get that profit. Your letter also comes at a time when many of us are reading The Worst Hard Time about the events that lead up to the Dust Storm era, and how all those farmers did not do anything to take care of the land. Even after the price of wheat dropped they continued to grow more and more wheat and plow more and more of the prairie. Now farmers are growing more and more corn and using up more and more of the only real source of water in the prairie. Instead of looking at plants natural to the prairie environment which could be used in biofuel, farmers are growing something not suited to arid areas, just because in the here and now, they can make a lot of money. Yes, I would like to think that the health of the land is foremost on farmer's minds, but they are just as greedy as the bankers and real estate dealers were who caused the real estate crisis.

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Ken Lassman 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Thank you for attempting to educate in ways that the editorial did not. But I think it would be good if you went a little bit further in connecting the dots of your two important points for the average Jane/Joe.

For instance, you bring up the RFS mandate from the EPA and yet fail to explain why this is a key player in Ogallalah Aquifer use. Is a significant fraction of center pivot irrigation corn being used to make ethanol, or are plans being made to dedicate significant numbers of center pivots to this purpose?

And you bring up the state regulatory agencies as having a role to play in managing the aquifer use, but don't elaborate. Care to do that? And what about LEMAs, or locally enhanced management areas, where neighbors come to agreements on how to better manage the declining resources?

Thanks, though, for holding the editorial's feet to the fire for not being more constructive and educational in their editorial.

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