Apparently, Zach Wamp Doesn’t Mind if You Get a Little Poisoned

I had coffee with Genma Holmes this morning and the whole thing was just like you hope when you meet people–funny, thought-provoking, wide-ranging.  But the thing that has stuck in my brain all morning is that, when we briefly talked about our state’s abysmal infant mortality rate (a topic near and dear to both of our hearts), she mentioned that all the education in the world, all the taking women to doctors, and making sure we eat right doesn’t do much if women can’t be pregnant and give birth in communities that aren’t filled with things that poison us.

It struck a chord with me because I had been thinking about what Woods quoted Wamp as saying the other day.

“Listen, if the snail darter or whatever gets in the way of our state moving forward at a time like this when people are hurting, then it’s going to be really a crying shame.”

Because, I wonder, just how does Wamp think that the snail darter or whatever is standing in the way?  Does he think that corporations are all “Well, in order to keep our employees happy, every day at noon, we propose they all go out and stomp on snail darters.”?  (Though, if you do plan on stomping a snail darter, please watch for slippery rocks.)  Yes, sometimes it’s a matter of altering the landscape in such a way that habitat is lost.

But more often, when we lose species to corporations, we lose them to corporations who are poisoning them. And this is a concern for us, not because we’re all commie hippy softies about ugly fish, but because what can kill a fish can, in high enough concentrations, kill us.

I appreciate and have come to dearly love the “Whatever you throw at us, fuck you, we can take it” attitude of the people of Tennessee.  But there comes a point when we have to ask ourselves, even if we’re tough enough to withstand being poisoned or losing our homes to negligent power companies or getting by on scraps, why should we?

6 thoughts on “Apparently, Zach Wamp Doesn’t Mind if You Get a Little Poisoned

  1. Without wishing to derail this thoughtful post, let me just derail it for a second. This is twice this week that you have blogged about sharing food with a local blogger, and in both cases their blogs look fascinating. I sense a trend.

  2. Ha, =dan=, I declined to mention that because I didn’t want to point out that Wamp is still pissed about things that happened before I was born. Thought it might be a low-blow. But you’re right. Giving folks the snail darter controversy background is necessary and hilarious.

    NM, I know! I’m so lucky.

  3. after reading it, it’s not like the case had a clear “loser.” I mean, the dam got built. The darter eventually got taken off the endangered list.
    But as Wamp tells it apparently the darter shoulda lost anyway.
    (…?)
    Sounds fishy to me.

  4. Ha, well, maybe he does want to have a snail darter stomp! We Tennesseans will show that fish a thing or two! How dare you not die when we try to kill you!

  5. It’s not darters, but in a similar story… TVA was going to build a dam on the Duck River near Columbia. They got part way through and they were forced to stop due to the presence of special kinds of mussels in the river. They ended up dismantling it and costing taxpaers about $80 million.

    We run into darter problems so many times at work. At one point there were so many projects delayed because of one species or another of darter. It was a running joke (of the bitter variety) that darters couldn’t be endangered because they were under every bridge we needed to work on in the state. Eventually EPA agreed and took them off the list.

    Actually, the biggest surface water pollutant in TN is dirt. The majority of the streams that TDEC deems problem waters are due to erosion. Mostly due to farming and grazing cattle, with construction a distant third. The areas with actual chemical pollutants are few and far between, except in Oak Ridge.

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