Tuesday, January 1, 2008


This year, a decision will be handed down in a case: "New Jersey V. Delaware."

New Jersey is supporting oil-giant BPs building of a natural gas facility edging into Delaware's land. I found this article on what might be my new favorite website, Energy Law 360.

“The intense opposition to LNG comes from the theory, quite mistaken, that LNG tankers are large bombs susceptible to blowing up and taking out major East Coast cities,” [said Stephen L. Teichler, an energy partner at Duane Morris LLP's Washington, D.C. office.].

And get this!

“Delaware considered legislation authorizing the National Guard to step in to protect Delaware’s borders from encroachment. And one New Jersey legislator even explored the seaworthiness of the decommissioned battleship New Jersey, currently docked as a museum on the Camden waterfront, in the event the state was forced to repel an armed invasion by Delaware."

Very strange thought. While state autonomy often seems to surface in regards to laws, the idea of one state taking up arms against another -- and using national resources to do it -- seems extremely unsettling this New Year's morn...

This story reminded me of another one I noticed during my brief oil spill Hiatus --


OIL SPILL SETS OFF BORDER DISPUTE: The environmental disaster wrought by last week's oil spill in the Kerch Strait off southern Russia, as reignited a border dispute between Ukraine and Russia in the region. Ukraine's foreign minister has blamed the tragedy, in which several sailors and thousands of birds and other wildlife perished, on the two country's failure to reach an agreement on navigation and the delimitation of borders in the strait and the Sea of Azov. Moscow has said that giving Ukraine control over the Kerch Strait, which Ukraine claims falls within its borders, would harm Russian security and economic interests.

This was a very small story in the midst of a roundup of top Russian news stories -- when I went to read the article it was, understandably, in Russian. But the issue is clear -- disaster sets in when people try to make boundaries in lieu of common sense.

I don't know -- boundaries is such a hot button word in pop-psychology -- maybe that's what I'm intrigued by. Over dinner the other night I was discussing Zionism with a man (the same man working to save Sanskrit) who thought Israel should just kick all the Palestinians out tomorrow. I'm a Zionist -- in practice, but not in theory.

That distinction has so much to do with the world. There are so many decisions that make sense in the moment, that make no sense with any sort of larger look at the world. What is at stake, what is forfeited through the requirement of autonomy, is just too big.

While I completely understand the need for self-protection, I also really think that no solutions can come maintaining an "us and them" mentality -- anywhere. There is no ownership, there is no time line. There is an I and a larger. Like the conversation about Americans and American poetics again -- where does the I fit in so that one (a person, a state, a country, an issue, a people, a world, a lover) is neither inflated nor diminished -- connected through communication; not alienated inside of it.

We are people -- who benefit from wealths and suffer from consequences -- living on this earth, in these homes, bodies and lungs. Better together.

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