One hears a great deal in the current climate of U.S. environmental politics about the charge of federal overreach. My University of New Mexico colleague Reed Benson has a different take:
My concern, in fact, has been the opposite: agencies often don’t fully use the authority they have to address environmental concerns or protect other public interests in water. This is true of government agencies at all levels, not just federal ones, although much of my writing has focused on the feds — primarily the Bureau of Reclamation. For a variety of legal, political, and institutional reasons, agencies involved in water have generally been more concerned with maintaining existing practices regarding water supply, flood control, and hydropower than with advancing environmental or recreational interests.
Reed’s written extensively on this stuff if you want to dive in. He’ll be talking to our UNM Water Resources Program students next week.