By Murray N. Rothbard
We all know how the environmentalists, seemingly determined at all costs to save the spotted owl, delivered a crippling blow to the logging industry in the North west. But this slap at the economy may be trivial compared to what might happen to the lovely city of San Antonio, Texas, endangered by the deadly and despotic combination of the environmentalist movement and the federal judiciary.
The sole source of water for the 900,000-resident city, as well as the large surrounding area, is the giant Edwards Aquifer, an underground river or lake (the question is controversial) that spans five counties. Competing for the water, along with San Antonio and the farms and ranches of the area, are two springs, the Comal and the Aquarena on the San Marcos River, which are becoming tourist attractions. In May 1991, the Sierra Club, along with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, which controls the two springs, filed a suit in federal court, invoking the Endangered Species Act. It seems that, in case of a drought, any cessation of water flow to the two springs would endanger four obscure species of vegetables or animals fed by the springs: the Texas blind salamander; Texas wild rice; and two tiny brands of fish: the fountain darter, and the San Marcos gambusia.
On February 1, 1993, federal district judge Lucius Bunton, in Midland, Texas, handed down his ruling in favor of the Sierra Club; in case of drought, no matter the shortage of water hitting San Antonio, there will have to be enough water flowing from the aquifer to the two springs to preserve these four species. Judge Bunton admitted… (Read the full article)