Thursday, December 11, 2003

A little news from Texas: in case you're wondering what kind of business ethics Dubya might have picked up in his salad days in Midland, consider this story:

Angry West Texans and some state officials are demanding a halt to a deal that allows a group of politically well-connected Midland oilmen to tap the desert and sell billions of gallons of water from the state's public reserves.

The venture was advancing without announcement or competitive bidding by the powerful Texas General Land Office, which controls 20 million acres of public lands and the liquids and minerals beneath them.

The project threatens to dry up the springs that several towns rely on; what's more, the plan is to send the water down the Rio Grande, where much of it would evaporate -- a scheme which the Texas agriculture commissioner, among others, describes as "sheer folly". But it has already been blessed by the Texas legislature -- "It was widely perceived as the speaker's bill", explains one county official, "and unusual things get done at the end of the session".



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