CLEVELAND (TDB) -- Environmental activists are uneasy about New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, whose endorsement of Barack Obama made a big splash last week in the Democratic presidential contest. Some think he could be a "water rustler." Richardson's baggage -- left over from his now-scrapped White House run -- is that he suggested last year fresh water from the Great Lakes be siphoned off to the dry Southwest. Richardson recanted. But enviros still wonder if he's a straw man for development interests intent on sucking the Midwest's most precious natural resource off to the desert. Here's what Richardson said that made waves last year:
"I believe that the western states and eastern states have not been talking to each other when it comes to proper use of our water resources. I want a national policy. We need a dialog between states with issues like water conservation, water reuse technology, water delivery and water production. States like Wisconsin are awash in water."
Lloyd Alter, who writes for Treehugger.com, feels that Richardson's reappearance as a force in Democratic presidential race via the Obama endorsement should put the Great Lakes states -- including Ohio -- on notice that their water is a target:
"If the Great Lakes states and provinces don't take decisive action to prevent the raiding of the Earth's largest supply of fresh water, the water rustlers will continue seeking ways to steal it. Eventually, they will find a way . . ."