The Pryor Times

Opinion

December 25, 2013

Vietnam’s Mekong river versus Oklahoma rivers

PRYOR, OK — Did you see where the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, recently pledged $17 million of our tax dollars to Vietnam to help the region’s rice producers, shrimp and crab farmers and fishermen adapt to changes brought about by river pollution? Kerry also expressed concern about the effects of global warming on the area.

Kerry is giving our hard-earned dollars to a country that killed more than 47,000 Americans to fight pollution in the Mekong River. I’m sure he is aware that we could use those dollars to fight pollution here in the good old USA. We could start by addressing the increasing nitrogen and phosphorus levels right here in lakes Hudson and Grand that contribute to low oxygen levels and increasing concentrations of algae.

Kerry wants to see more upstream flood-control dams in the Mekong Delta. Seems like he is more concerned about the guerillas he used to fight in Vietnam – before he returned home and became an antiwar activist – than he is the Oklahomans in Ottawa County that get flooded due to the lack of upstream flood-control dams on the Grand Lake watershed.  

The secretary of state said he would make it a personal priority to ensure that none of the six communist countries that share the Mekong River exploited the river at the expense of others. It’s ironic that he says that, while the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) continues to promote policies that exploit those of us here on Lakes Grand and Hudson and hurt our lake tourism industry.

While Kerry pledges $17 million to Vietnam, I would only remind him, “Mr. Secretary, charity should begin at home.”

On another note:  Benjamin Franklin was concluding a moving speech on the guarantees of the Constitution when a heckler shouted out, “Aw, those words don’t mean anything. Where’s all the happiness you say it guarantees us?”

Franklin smiled and calmly silenced his critic. “My friend, the Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”

I can be reached at dougcox@okhouse.gov or 405-557-7415.

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