Archive for December 8th, 2008

8th December
2008
written by madge

The Santa Cruz river’s recent ruling as navigable brings a whole slew of federal regulations down upon the government and building community.  The Santa Cruz which starts in the San Fernando Valley west of Seirra Vista travels down to Sonora Mexico then back up to the west Tucson area. The river looses steam north of Tubac and is re-fed water using the Pima County sewer systems effluent fed waste water discharge. 

There was a move under foot to classify it at a ‘navigable water way’ which puts a number of federal requirements around anyone looking to build over, near or around the federal designated water way.  The practical applications of the Santa Cruz river being navigable are laughable. Click HERE to see an AZ Star’s reporter, Tony Davis’ attempt to canoe down the ‘river’.

Some have eluded that the navigable designation is an end around way to limit the possibility of Rosemont Copper Mine of ever opening. The unintended consequence may be additional cost put on the taxpayers of Pima County to build bridges to cross over the navigable water way. Maybe draw bridges will become a part of our desert landscape.

Erica Meltzer ran a story HERE explaining the ramifications of the ruling.

Home-builder organizations fought hard against treating streams with intermittent flows, like the Santa Cruz, as navigable waters. Reached Thursday, representatives of the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association and the National Association of Home Builders said they were unaware of the decision.
SAHBA Vice President Roger Yohem said his organization could not comment until its lawyers reviewed the decision.
Environmentalists and some elected officials believe Pima County also lobbied against the designation to prevent a drawn-out permitting process from slowing down county construction projects.
That feeling eased only after the Board of Supervisors in August passed a resolution supporting the designation. County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said county staff only wanted timely decisions on permits, and he cleared staff of any inappropriate actions.
Huckelberry said Thursday the decision is “fine and what we asked for.”
Supervisor Richard Elías, who pushed for the county to support the designation, said he was pleased but the county needs to keep pushing for the entire river to be protected.
Continued:
Carolyn Campbell, executive director of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, lobbied for the designation and wants the entire Santa Cruz eventually to be protected.
“This was really good news to have back the protections that we lost when the Corps rescinded the designation,” Campbell said. “I see this as an important interim step while they study whether the rest of the river should have this protection. I’m very hopeful for the whole river to get the traditional navigable waterway, but with this, all the tributaries should be protected because they all eventually touch these two portions.”
Some of the comments to the Star’s online story:
10. Comment by wit w. (Wit) — December 5,2008 @ 6:04AM
Ratings:   -15 +33
 

‘navigability’ clouds the issue here. What matters is that our ground water recharge comes mostly from these river beds. Rivers here rarely carry pollutants out to the ocean, unlike most rivers in the world. Instead, the pollutants sink into the soil and then we may drink them.

The Rosemont mine must be stopped for this reason alone. Polluted runoff from the mine would drain right into the Pontano Wash, Rillito River, and then the Santa Cruz.

 

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18. Comment by ralfie 1. (ralfie12) — December 5,2008 @ 7:08AM

Ratings:   -17 +9
 There is 91 cubic miles of underground water between San Manuel and Strawberry, AZ.Larger than Lake Erie! I have suggested numerous times that we pipe it to Reddington Pass and recharge our aquifer. Water experts say we have no room for it. When will we? 

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51. Comment by John H. (Chaos Keep) — December 5,2008 @ 11:40AM

Ratings:   -8 +2
 I agree that particular portions of the Santa Cruz River need to be protected. However, the intent of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act was for COMMERCIAL NAVAGABILITY. The Santa Cruz River is not, and has not been commercially navagabile for 10,000 years or more.This is a clear cut case where for the government (and others) the ENDS are justifying the MEANS. That is never a good sign. 

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55. Comment by E H. (EanieMeanie) — December 5,2008 @ 12:17PM

Ratings:   -8 +6
 Every bridge, bank stabilization, road crossing, road widening, culvert, and home development, within jurisdictional waters will now require additional scrutiny. You might say that people shouldn’t build in a waterway anyways. Well wait and see what the Army Corps thinks is jurisditional waters. If the wash is wider than your hands stretched out……it’s jurisdictional. And since the Santa Cruz is now a navigatable waterway, any disturbance in the washes near it will be considered significant…. Have fun! Good luck in aleviating traffic by building bridges. ‘Cause you do not have the budget for additional red tape. 

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Navigable Timeline from the Star:

Navigability timeline

• June 2006: The U.S. Supreme Court limits the scope of Clean Water Act protection for isolated rivers, streams and wetlands. Justice Anthony Kennedy writes that they must have a significant connection to “a navigable waterway, in the traditional sense,” to be legally entitled to federal protection.

• May 2008: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decides that 54 miles of the Santa Cruz River north and south of Tucson deserve classification as a traditional navigable waterway, and, thus, regulation under the Clean Water Act.

• July 2008: The Corps suspends the river’s navigable determination for at least 60 days as part of a broader, national review of navigability.

• July 2008: The Pima County Board of Supervisors votes to conduct an audit of its own staff because memos show some staffers opposed the navigability status without telling the board.

• August 2008: Two U.S. House committee chairmen vote to investigate the Corps’ handling of the Santa Cruz decision, at the request of Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Tucson.

• August 2008: The Board of Supervisors supports navigability for a much longer stretch of the Santa Cruz, from the Mexican border to the Pinal County line. The Environmental Protection Agency moves to take over handling of the navigability issue from the Corps.

DID YOU KNOW

In the 1940s, the population boom — driven by military growth and availability of air conditioning — began along the Santa Cruz, especially in Tucson, which depended on groundwater. The ongoing depletion of the aquifer is a major reason the Santa Cruz dried out except after storms.

We stepped into the canoe. It sank into sand. We couldn’t move …

8th December
2008
written by JHiggins

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) – They may seem like paradise to those trying to escape bitter cold, but warm-weather cities can make for a pretty lousy climate for business, at least according to a MarketWatch survey.

Six out of the 10 worst metro areas for business are warm-weather cities, including two cities in California and one each in Arizona, Florida, Texas and Louisiana. Take into account the bottom 20, and 11 of those are warm-weather towns. 

 

 

 

One reason is the bursting of the real-estate bubble. The linchpin for much of the nation’s current economic turmoil took a toll on sunny regions where speculators invaded the market and kept flipping properties.

That was especially true in the twin cities of Tampa-St. Petersburg, the only new entry to the bottom 10 list this year. Area economists now say that 2009 will be a “lost year” economically because of it.

“You can just write it off right now,” said Sean Snaith, director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness at the University of Central Florida. In fact, Miami was close to making the bottom 10 this year for many of the same reasons.

In many ways, however, the inherent problems confronting the rest of the bottom 10 remain until the regions find ways to pull themselves up – cold regions that relied heavily on industry and have yet to adapt to new economic realities.

 

MarketWatch studied the nation’s 50 biggest metro areas using a variety of data from multiple sources, and compared them against each other.

 

Starting with the worst, the bottom 10 this year are:

 

50. New Orleans – 62 points: The Big Easy had an even rougher year than last, as the region still struggles to recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. But with only two Fortune 1000 companies, no Forbes private companies, one S&P company and three Russell firms, the region was crippled from the start.

New Orleans would have improved its odds had mining concern Freeport McMoRan

FCX, , ) not left for the Phoenix area.

The figures will only get worse for small business when new data is released next year, since the census bureau’s data only covers up to 2005. A large portion of the small-business community was devastated when Katrina struck in September of that year.

While many residents still are not living within the Orleans Parish, they have crowded into other nearby parishes, making the metro region close in population to what it was prior to Katrina.

 

49. Buffalo – 80 points: This upstate New York region does suffer from the ill effects of cold weather, and the fact that many of its mainstay heavy industries fell by the wayside.

Buffalo tumbled by 46 total points and thus fell two places in the rankings. It nearly beat out New Orleans for the bottom spot as well.

Buffalo’s rankings in many of the business metrics stayed consistent, but much of its slide was due primarily to a statistical anomaly last year. It ranked high in job growth as it managed – up to that point in the decade – to add a small number of jobs despite losing population.

This year, however, that job growth figure turned negative and Buffalo slid to the bottom 10 in that category.

 

48. Tucson – 111 points: This southern Arizona city is the smallest of the 50 metro areas surveyed, but some there think it’s getting a raw deal.

Sure, there are virtually no businesses that locate there – Freeport McMoRan is a prime example of a company that chose Phoenix instead when it moved from New Orleans. The city has no public or private firms on the Fortune, Forbes or S&P lists.

It lost two of its Russell 2000 companies in the last year, helping it to drop nine points in its overall score. Further, it ranked second-worst in the small-business category.

But Tucson ranked in the top 10 in the jobless category, and in the top third in population growth, all of which helped it to remain in the same ranking as last year.

A sizable military and aerospace presence has helped the region prosper along with tourism, and kept its jobless rate low. But it could face trouble should either of those two industries stumble, says Marshall J. Vest, economist at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management.

“That’s what drives the Tucson economy,” he said. “It’s not very well diversified.”

The region’s population has swelled in recent years as retirees continue to gather there. And year-round living is becoming more attractive as Tucson’s climate is somewhat more moderate than Phoenix’s. Its higher elevation keeps the city about 5-10 degrees cooler.

That hasn’t helped, however, when it comes to attracting new companies, Vest says.

“If a company is looking to expand in Arizona, they’re going to look at Phoenix first,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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