Long-time wmtc readers may remember my friend Alan With One L, also known as The Handheld Evangelist, the man who turned me on to the joys of iPAQ. (Isn't she beautiful? I am still in love.)
Alan has alerted me to yet another US-Canada border war.
Canadians often get angry when the United States throws up barriers to their exports, such as cattle or softwood. But now Canada is desperate to block an unwanted American product. Officials are meeting their counterparts in Washington, DC, to try to stop the state of North Dakota from draining the polluted waters of Devil's Lake into their own Lake Winnipeg. Undeterred, the authorities of North Dakota plan to let the waters flow when a channel is completed later this month.Story from The Economist here.
Devil's Lake lies about 160km (100 miles) south of the Canadian border. It has no natural outlet, shedding water solely through evaporation. But a recent series of wet years have swollen the lake to record levels, submerging 28,000 hectares (69,000 acres) of farmland and 300 homes. In 2003, the United States Army Corps of Engineers published a feasibility study for a $186m project (of which North Dakota would have paid $70m) to drain the lake into the Sheyenne river. This feeds into the Red river, which flows north across the border to Lake Winnipeg, in the province of Manitoba.
Manitoba immediately objected. With no outlet, Devil's Lake has accumulated high concentrations of sulphates, arsenic, phosphorus and other pollutants. Canadians also worry that the outflow could bring invasive species, parasites and disease to Lake Winnipeg's C$25m ($20m) fishery industry.
By the way, the US ban on Canadian beef was just overturned. Which is not to say that beef for dirty water constitutes fair trade.