The Courier, Sept. 13
Everything is important when the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District meets, especially when the Blanchard River watershed is on the agenda. Take Tuesday’s meeting in Defiance.
The board awarded a $6.1 million contract to Findlay-based Helms Construction to widen about 3,500 feet of the Blanchard River, just west of downtown Findlay.
The district’s stamp of approval means Helms’ crews can start working and could be done by this time next year. That’s much-needed progress.
The fact that a local business was hired to do the job is another positive on the long journey to reducing flooding in both urban and rural areas in the watershed. To date, the process has been painstakingly slow.
The widening project will reduce the water level in downtown Findlay and downstream by a foot during a 100-year storm event. Certainly, more gains will be needed, but accomplishing phase one is a major accomplishment.
With Helms now on the job, progress is within sight. It’s time to move on to the next best ideas, explore them and try to reach a consensus. As long as the Blanchard River runs through us, we must see flood control as a continuing project with no end date.
The Akron Beacon Journal, Sept. 16
Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, trapping heat in the atmosphere at a rate 25 times greater than carbon dioxide. Thus, it made sense, as part of curbing climate change, for the Obama White House to set rules requiring the oil and gas industry to restrict methane emissions, of which the industry as a whole is responsible for roughly one-third. Now, under President Trump, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has taken the shortsighted, and even dangerous, position of proposing to roll back the rules.
The EPA would do so by easing the requirements for monitoring and repair of drilling equipment. Under the current rules, drillers must perform leak inspections every six months and make any fixes within 30 days. The Trump proposal would set the inspections at once a year, and once every two years for low-producing wells. It would require repairs within 60 days.
The Obama White House attempted to provide American leadership, modest though the effort was. Now President Trump has proposed not just weakening the methane restrictions. He wants to ease the two other components of the climate change strategy put forward by his predecessor, reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants and improving the fuel-efficiency of cars and trucks.