Oregon's Senate Republicans finally have a new idea - and it's a doozy. They want to sell water from the Columbia and the Willamette to people in California, Nevada, other states, and yes, even other countries.
No, I'm not kidding. From Mapes:
But state Sen. David Nelson, R-Pendleton, who convinced the Senate R caucus to take up this idea, insists that times have changed and that Oregon could be a Saudi Arabia of water. "We wouldn't allow them to take it," he says of other regions. "We would sell it to them." And he adds that it could make the kind of profits that will help support a level of state services that the taxpayers aren't willing to fund. ...
John DeVoe, executive director of the environmental group, WaterWatch, provides a sample of the kind of reaction this plan could get politically.
"I think Oregon ought to take care of its own before we consider that kind of outlandish scheme," he said, noting that there's already fierce competition among power, fish, farming and urban interests for existing water supplies.
Nelson said he thinks Oregon still has plenty of water downstream from the Columbia River dams that could be sent - likely by tanker - to out-of-state and even foreign users facing increasingly severe shortages. An international market is being developed, he said, and Oregon ought to get into it.
You can't make this stuff up.