UA Law Professor Robert Glennon

UA Law Professor Robert Glennon

We have done stories in Arizona Attorney Magazine on water resources, but they involve concepts that are difficult to wrangle. For instance, we have to ask if, at its base, it’s a story about:

  • Environmental resources
  • Agriculture
  • Regulatory and administrative law
  • International trade
  • Sustainability
  • Domestic security
  • The Corporation Commission, the Legislature, the courts

Unfortunately for us, the answer is usually “Yes.” And that’s because water—especially in the arid west—can involve all of those things.

That’s why I was struck when I heard an NPR story this week on a unique take on water use: The claim that using scarce water to grow crops to ship overseas may be inappropriate.

The question is raised by Robert Glennon, a University of Arizona Regents Professor (whom I’ve covered here and here).

To illustrate the stream of water (if you will), NPR’s Fronteras Desk created the following image:

Water use and exports. (Image: NPR Fronteras Desk).

Water use and exports. (Image: NPR Fronteras Desk).

Before anyone gets fired up about capitalism or some such, Glennon is not recommending a prohibition on crop sales overseas. But he does ask: When water is scarce, should  water-hungry cities get the opportunity to purchase agricultural water, rather than see it be used on water-hungry crops that are then packed on container ships and ultimately offloaded in China to feed cows?

Here is the story, including the audio clip.

What do you think? Do thirsty Chinese cows get your goat? Should the dialogue about scarce resources include a broader conversation that may transfer some uses from agricultural to residential and commercial?

Who knows? Your insight could be the seed for a magazine article.

So: Water --> alfalfa --> Chinese cows.

So: Water –> alfalfa –> Chinese cows.

VYT Water Writes Mural 1

In downtown Phoenix, a new mural on the south wall of Valley Youth Theatre is bringing attention to water issues in Arizona and around the world. The mural is one of 10 in a global series called Water Writes.

I admit to being a little pleased when I spotted the most recent new mural in downtown Phoenix. Sited just off First Street and Fillmore, it recognizes the centrality of water to the success and prosperity of Arizona.

And only a few months after we put out the call for water-related topics in Arizona Attorney Magazine. How generous of the artists to erect a complementary mural that calls attention to our call for authors.

Unlikely, eh?

OK, maybe. But in any case, enjoy Change of Venue Friday with a few images of the remarkable artwork.

Valley Youth Theatre downtown Phoenix

The wall before artists arrived …

The mural (painted on the side of Arizona gem Valley Youth Theatre) is part of an initiative of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership called “The Space Between,” which urges residents to consider what they’d hope to see on the empty lots that dot downtown. More about the project is here and here.

Valley Youth Theatre downtown Phoenix with mural

… and the wall after they left.

The city of Phoenix was fortunate to get one of these murals, which is one of 10 collaborative mural projects” internationally.

Here are some close-up images of the building-long mural. Have a great—and well-hydrated—weekend.

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The Arizona Journal of Environmental Law & Policy at the University of Arizona Law School is hosting a Saturday discussion of the complex intersection of two matters of public policy: the way we generate energy and the way we harm the environment as little as possible.

Titled “Energy, Natural Resources, and the Environment: Three Perspectives,” the panel discussion features comments from Dinah Bear, an attorney whose work focuses on matters dealing with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). According to conference organizers, she represents clients opposing the Rosemont mine. Ms. Bear served for almost 25 years as the General Counsel of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality.

Other panelists include UA Law Professor Robert Glennon and Dr. Sheldon Trubatch. (I wrote about Professor Glennon and his great book “Unquenchable” here.)

Here is information on the morning’s topics:

“This forward-looking panel discussion examines the convergences between concerns over energy, natural resources, and the environment. Ms. Bear will begin the discussion with an overview of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and a critique of the slew of environmental legislation pending before Congress, as well as an update on Rosemont mine. Professor Glennon will pick up with an analysis of the natural resource constraints on renewable energies, focusing especially on the vast land and water requirements of solar plants. With these limitations in mind, Mr. Turbatch will turn to the viability of nuclear energy, considering its licensing requirements, natural resource demands and environmental impacts. Whether you are interested in the legal, scientific, or political aspects of these topics, this panel discussion will surely have something for you.”

Saturday, November 5th

10:00 a.m. to Noon

James E. Rogers College of Law

Room 160 (no longer in Room 164)

Register by clicking here.