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Richard Manning Speaks on Water Pollution at Nov. 14 IORC Banquet

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Author Richard Manning talks to the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils about why the Snake River is "Idaho's sewer system." - PHOTO BY CONNER JACKSON
  • photo by Conner Jackson
  • Author Richard Manning talks to the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils about why the Snake River is "Idaho's sewer system."


During the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils' Nov. 14 banquet at the Basque Center, clean water was on everyone's mind—particularly keynote speaker Richard Manning, author of the controversial High Country News article “Idaho’s Sewer System is the Snake River” (August 2014). 

Manning began his speech with a reference to essayist Aldo Leopold’s Round River before discussing environmental issues in Idaho and the Midwest.

“The reason we have polluted water is agriculture, and that’s because it is considered non-point source pollution, so it’s not under the Clean Water Act,” Manning said.“Follow nitrogen to find the environmental story,” Manning said, in reference to the accumulation of nitrogen from agricultural runoff in watersheds across the country.

Though he believes Big Ag is to blame, Manning believes there's more to the water pollution problem.

“When we talk about water, what we’re really talking about is population, and that leads to global warming,” Manning said. “The system will not work as long as there is that many people.”

The event wrapped up with a Q and A and some advice.

“Find some place local that you can love and tend to the issues of,” Manning said. “Maybe we won't save a planet, but at least we’ll be doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”