Arkansas Basin Roundtable

It is the mission of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable (to be developed) ........................................

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More on proposed Conflict of Interest in Bylaws

It is my belief that a good conflict of interest section would not only not impair the ability of our Roundtable to work cooperatively in a consensus building mode, but I think it would improve it. I think that people are more able to work cooperatively when there is some assurance that they will not be coopted by some stealth interests of which they are unaware.

It might be helpful if I gave an example, albeit one that is totally made up. So let's say that I, the person that this Roundtable elected as the environmental representative supported the sale of all the water in the Lowline Ditch to the new suburb of Aurora-Limon, a growing metropolitan city of 1/2 million residents. Though concerns had been noted about the environmental impacts of drying up all the agricultural fields supported by the Lowline Ditch, I discounted these and claimed that there would be no harm to the environment. Some Roundtables members decided that if the environmental rep saw no environmental problem they would vote to have our IBCC reps work on an inter-basin agreement to sell all the water from the Lowline Ditch to Limon.

Unknown to Roundtable members, my mother held a significant number of shares in the Lowline Ditch and stood to make a profit of a million dollars on this sale. (for the record, my mother has been deceased for over 15 years, never lived in Colo and never ownen any water shares) And it turns out that drying up all the ag fields was indeed terrible for the environment and ultimately caused a loss of topsoils and contributed to dust storms caused by the continuing droughts.

So what do you think that would do to the trust and cooperative work of the Roundtable? I think it would destroy it. Though clearly an exaggerated tale, this is the kind of conflict of interest that needs to be disclosed and for which the party needs to remove themselves from voting if not from making recommendations too.