Friday, March 31, 2006

Wet Lands : Wetlands :: Rhetoric : Politics

Add this to the steadily accumulating pile of concrete evidence that the Bush Administration consists almost entirely of scholars of Doublespeak.

Outgoing Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton has proudly announced -- without a hint of irony -- that there has been a massive gain in US wetlands between 1998 and 2004. At first glance, that's excellent news. Unfortunately, most will stop at the first glance. A deeper look will reveal that this report depends entirely on rhetoric and semantics-- specifically, how does one define a wetland?

Does a watertrap on a golf course constitute a wetland?
Do retention ponds that collect runoff from parking lots constitute wetlands?
Do shallow, man-made ponds constitute wetlands?
Does a mine reclamation pond constitute a wetland?

In short, does the mere presence of a certain depth of water a wetland make?

According to the Bush Administration, it does. Go forth and be astonished:

The only thing that's wet here is the logic.