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Water Hazards Are Not Wetlands

Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2006 12:27 AM

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the 1906 Great Earthquake and Fire, which nearly destroyed San Francisco.

But when one considers we haven't finished upgrading bridges damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta Quake, and that the country's emergency response capability is hampered by bureaucracy and a President that can't remember the word hurricane ... we're nowhere close to being prepared for another major quake in the San Francisco Bay Area.

From the You Can't Always Get What You Want Department ...

India has announced that it will not make an explicit commitment to the United States to refrain from further nuclear tests.

India has its own ideas about what their recently forged agreement includes, and dictating the terms of India's nuclear weapons program aren't on the list.

And the Iraqi parliament has postponed its meeting � and the selection of a new prime minister to replace the Shiite favorite, Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Despite ham-handed prodding from the Bush Administration, a consensus is still not readily apparent, with some delegates hinting that having to compromise over al-Jaafari will impact the selection process for other government posts.

In the midst of everyone's fussing over civil strife in Iraq and other fun topics, this story seems to have slipped quietly past.

At the end of March, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton held a press conference lauding gains in wetlands preservation.

Except the figures include storm drainage ponds and water hazards on golf courses. Strike those from the tally, and the loss of natural wetlands continues its downward trend.

"Even ponds that are not a high quality of wetlands are better than not having wetlands," Norton says.

Perhaps that's true for your spreadsheet, but it doesn't exactly hold water as far as ecosystems are concerned.

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