Proposal for Completion of Canal from California to Texas
To Contain Multiple Benefits in the Areas of:
Security for the Southern Border beyond weak existing fencing
Creation of 280,000 square miles of arable, drought-proof land, an area 6,627 x’s the size of the Simi Valley
The Creation of Trillions in Wealth
The Reduction of Transportation Costs
A Revolution in the Technology of Desalination
Common Sense Environmental Protections
Basic Engineering Overview and Sources
Historical Methods of Financing and Time Required
Political Obstacles and Possible Friends
The proposal has been sent, in rough form, to my Senator, Roger Wicker (R-MS), and by certified mail to Donald J. Trump in July of 2015, but we do not know if the proposal reached these decision makers. The idea was born from my children over Thanksgiving holidays, 2014. We have worked for years to overcome possible objections, provide additional research, and we encourage input from all concerned. We originally thought the idea was crazy, but the more we research, the more attractive the idea becomes.
We’ve found, within every 24-hour news cycle, completion of this project would eradicate many of our country’s problems. The ramifications are enormous. Please have access to a map of the southwestern USA for reference.
To resolve our southern border issue in a beneficial way, we propose the building of a canal from California to Texas, slightly north of the legal border, to travel in a straight line.
Think Panama Canal x 40.
The canal would travel north of the Mexico/USA border and north of the major cities like San Diego, Yuma, Nogales, El Paso, to minimize disruption and lessen acquisition costs, and travel in straight lines, rather than following the curvature of rivers or arbitrary state lines.
The canal we propose is not merely a boon for shipping and commerce or only to provide security on our southern border. Along the way, we need places for ships to turn around for repair in case of a breakdown. This necessity creates wide bays or inlets of salt water. At these points, every 10-20 miles or so, we propose enormous salt water conversion facilities, accompanying fresh water reservoirs (similar to Sardis and Enid lakes), and accompanying fresh water canals which can extend as much as 100+ miles to the north and south. It is a modern version of the Nile River Valley.
Instead of a pure expense for a canal and as a supplement to border fencing, we found a way for the project to make the USA wealthy again.
We create an area, similar to the fertile California, Simi Valley x 6,627 in available square miles.
Arable land, which is drought-proof, can be used for farmland, residential or commercial development.
The canal would be built instead of, or within 10-100 miles of, a southern border wall/fence, providing additional security to the USA.
Beginning between San Diego and LA, using a beach-head of Camp Pendleton, a wide canal would be dug for shipping with locks, all the way to south of Odessa, TX, conveniently located close to the new Wolfcamp oil and natural gas discovery. At that point, the canal could splinter into two lanes, one to Padre island area and one to split Austin/San Antonio to the Gulf, maybe with the goal of networking refineries in Houston.
What makes a canal appealing and salable for both political parties, plus all Americans, and even the Mexican people? Let’s list the benefits by subtopics.
~~ A canal of this size is impossible to dig underneath and any tunnel attempted would collapse under water pressure.
~~ Changing of locks to raise and lower ships and swift water flow eliminates individuals attempting to swim across.
~~ Forevermore, our southern border becomes more cost efficient and less hazardous to control at our man made choke points. We also create the ability for deployment of ne technologies in surveillance and facial recognition for our intel agencies.
~~ Shipping routes for the Mexican drug cartels are severely disrupted, saving lives in Mexico and the USA.
~~ The beach-head of Camp Pendleton, CA is coincidental but perfectly located for any threats of terrorism. Additional bases could be built at the Texas entrances to the canal.
~~ Along the length of the canal, we see many USA military bases already located close to the canal to protect this valuable shipping lane.
~~ Our resource, fresh water, could be shared with Mexico, but we will leave the negotiation to the Trump Administration.
Creation of arable land for farms, residential, and commercial development:
~~If our canal is 1400 miles long, running straight instead of following the curvature of a river, and fresh water tentacles stretch 100 miles to the north and south, we create a breadbasket of 280,000 square miles of drought-proof farmland. The state of Texas equals 268,597 square miles. We concede a specific “tentacle” may not stretch 100 miles but we submit, we have the capability.
~~If the Simi Valley is responsible for half the nation’s fruits and vegetables and only comprises 42.25 square miles (according to Google), then the canal creates an area 6,627 times larger.
~~No doubt, the canal would alleviate stress for fresh water to the Simi Valley and help win support from the CA voting block.
~~ Our canal creates the possibility for the USA to ease the world’s food supply. Endless studies from the United Nations and Aspen Institute point to drought/lack of food as the cause for unrest in Egypt and Syria, thus, Sec. Kerry and the Obama administration claim “climate change” as the most significant threat to stability in the world. We just solved the problem.
~~Large freshwater lakes located behind the desalination facilities create lakes for leisure and expensive lakefront property, marinas, etc. The suburbs of our canal would increase land value.
~~The residential and commercial economic development potential of the canal region is monumental.
~~ It takes three days by truck or 5 days by rail to ship a lime from California to Boston. Shipping from Texas cuts time, saves fuel, and would deliver a better product. We could even expand exports of crops from California AND the entire canal zone.
~~ We do business in a dozen countries every day and have for over a decade. We are familiar with shipping times and costs. Consider if you will, the USA consumes, over the last decade, more than 25% of the world’s products. Traversing the existing Panama Canal adds 7-15 days of shipping time, plus fuel and crew costs. We lower the cost of distribution into the USA and lower the cost of exporting from the USA.
~~ Add trillions in wealth to the USA and millions of jobs. Additionally, we are creating wealth rather than re-distributing wealth.
~~ Build new modern cities and turn cities like Phoenix, Tuscon, Plano and Odessa into modern day Chicago’s of the 60’s.
~~ Allows for the creation of near perfect, modern facilities to export and refine Texas oil, with pipelines connecting North Dakota and Canada, using the safest and most cost-efficient methods available – pipelines and sea transport.
~~ As a business-owner who relies on imports, dock strikes like the one on the west coast, which cost American business an estimated 40 billion dollars, are inexcusable. Inland ports for embarkation in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas would alleviate the potential for American dependence on west coast-only ports and “un-clog” southern California.
~~ To ship a container from China to Memphis, TN (the heartland), costs $2800 in sea freight + $1800 for rail from CA to Memphis + $700 truck delivery + $700 in customs, approximately = $6000. If we could ship via sea freight to Odessa, we save approximately $1100 per container. Just think about all the containers shipped to Walmart in AR, every container shipped to St Louis, KA, Chicago, WI, Atlanta.
~~ The creation of localized water boards for earned revenue.
~~ Elimination of greater Los Angeles and San Diego requirements for fresh water. Reducing cost, saving resources for the rest of the state.
~~ Although we do not require Indian lands to build a canal, we would make Indian lands substantially more valuable.
~~ We checked food imports for many third-world countries, which are primarily corn, sugar and powdered milk. We could, as a tool for negotiation or humanitarian aid, use food, with a lower shipping expense. Please note, of the top five imports/exports of every single country in the world,…….. is oil, and shipping oil in a cost effective manner gives the USA an advantage.
~~ We create a very large supply of sea salt at the desalination facilities. Although the Italians funded their empire with salt trade, we don’t think the USA could do so. We did come up with an invention, attached to the back of a cargo ship, which acts like a salt-shaker, to return salt to the sea, but also distribute the salt over trans-oceanic shipments. Returning salt to the sea in a concentrated location would negatively impact marine life. We’ve resolved the problem.
~~ It would create an economic boom to lift America FINALLY out of the perceived Housing/Obama stagnant recession. It’s a turning point. America is BACK. If coupled with a few select trade sanctions against the Chinese, the boom in American manufacturing would last for decades and firmly set China on their heels.
~~ Creation of hydro-electric power to supply these new booming cities, every time a lock empties water.
Revolution in Various Technologies:
When the USA went to the moon, our indirect tech advances were far greater than Tang instant beverage drink, Velcro, and LED watches. There is no way, in advance, to measure the possibilities which might happen with the perfection of desalination, modernization of locks, hydroelectric power, and new irrigation methods. We do know, that if America leads, we can revolutionize water supply, and commerce, for the rest of the world. The revolution in desalination could be equivalent to the computer age. More details in the engineering section.
Common Sense Environmental Protections:
~~ Currently, if a tanker has an accident and spills oil off of Baja or San Padre, an environmental disaster occurs. The EPA and volunteers are mobilized, often costing billions of dollars in cleanup, fines to the company, and years of expensive litigation. Often, irreparable damage is done to the environment. If a tanker accident occurs within the canal, we can contain the oil spill within the locks, clean it up quickly.
~~ To move a ship from coastal California, through the Panama Canal, to Houston’s port, takes 10-14 days. These ships traverse some of the world’s most pristine marine parks and fishing areas. Our canal cuts the time to 3-5 days, saving fuel and removes many of these commercial ships from shipping lanes.
~~ Israel has the largest reverse osmosis desalination plant in the world and it provided approximately 20% of the country’s water supply in 2013. According to David Talbot of MIT Technology Review, these plants are expected to produce 50% of the country’s supply by 2016. (https://www.technologyreview.com/s/534996/megascale-desalination/ ) Update for January of 2019: Israel’s desalination facilities now supply well over half the countries fresh water needs. There is an abundance of freshwater in Israel. We can create unlimited fresh water for southern California and bring water to the desserts. This eases the stresses on “natural” fresh water supplies of rivers and streams.
~~ Desalination removes salt from sea water and would leave behind a massive amount of salt. A.) This could eliminate the need for underground mining of salt domes and B.) We understand a concentrated return of salt to the sea can harm wildlife. We have invented a “salt-shaker”, placed on the back of a container ship, which would slowly distribute the salt to the sea over trans-oceanic shipments.
~~ Construction of the canal allows for pipelines to be constructed alongside the canal to move oil, natural gas, monorail for people (?), etc., in the safest and most efficient manner.
~~ Yes, of course we have thought about the potential of an endangered species holding up the project. We have painstakingly checked every county the canal might traverse, and in every single instance, each endangered species are also located in another county within CA, AZ, NM, or Texas.
~~Note on EPA: Howard Baker (R-TN) in 1978 formed the “God Committee” when a snail darter threatened the Tellico Dam project in Tennessee. The snail darter has since found in seven other rivers and is now thriving. Sometimes, the EPA designates an endangered species as an excuse to stop a project (political) and sometimes the evaluation is legitimate. The “God Committee” is a group of federal department agency heads who decide whether to proceed with the project or not. Ultimately, the committee sided with the EPA for the snail darter, but Carter, facing midterms in ’78, overruled and approved the project. General consensus is the Dem’s are nothing if not self-interested. Faced with unlimited fresh water supplies for southern CA, additional electric from hydro-power, the ability to contain an oil spill within a lock for quick cleanup, and the biggest public works project in human history, the Dem’s may pave the road for the Republicans instead of providing opposition. It is, nonetheless, a winnable argument.
~~ We have checked land surveys from the Corps of Engineers and elevations rise to a level of approx. 2300 ft. in New Mexico but the Erie Canal/St. Lawrence seaway rises over 560ft and it was built by hand, successfully, almost 200 years ago. The modern St. Lawrence seaway was done in the 1950’s and took 50 years to get the project approved. The ridiculous length of the approval process for St Lawrence can be used as a selling point to make completion more expedient.
~~ The closest thing in the USA to this kind of a project would be the Mississippi Levee System and Boards. Therefore, we ran the concept through several Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, Mississippi, levee board friends privately. It can be done. Their eyes sparkled with the engineering possibilities. It would be the biggest project in the history of the world and akin to the Roman aqueducts or the Nile River Valley. Perfect for Americans and it puts the Three Gorges Dam/Yangtze River project to shame. One engineer described it as, “Not just the build of my lifetime but the build of my generation”.
~~ Two ships could be within the same lock but heading in different directions. Engineers insist we need 2 lanes, one from east to west and one from west to east so locks can raise lower depending on which way a ship is going – or citing the extra one as a breakdown lane. Turnaround spots must be available every 20 miles, approximately. Bays or inlets for desalination facilities (and behind them, enormous freshwater reservoirs and fresh water tentacles) or emergency ship repair should be available every 10-15miles, estimated.
~~ Engineers like the plan because basic engineering and architecture can be repeated, over and over again, in 10 or 20 mile segments.
~~ It’s not like building a house, where bathrooms and kitchens are more expensive, garages are cheaper, and finishing costs vary widely. A canal with bays and desalination is more like building the exact same master bedroom, every ten miles, 140 times. The geography and water pressure will change but economies of scale will make the project easier to build and save costs. The repetition also helps in-field engineering and lowers the learning curve.
~~ Water flows downhill. Every lock must be filled with water from the higher lock, in a stair-step fashion. So, the highest lock at the highest elevation, must have an adequate supply of water at all times. The Panama Canal uses a natural lake to solve this problem and at times has a problem maintaining water level from rainfall. We solved the problem easily and efficiently. Water rises through a series of very large pipes, every 10 miles to a bay/inlet where the desalination facilities are and a ship can turn around. Initially pumped to reach a peak, the water then flows by draft. Anyone who has used a garden hose to siphon gas from a car understands the principle. Then, this becomes a highly efficient way to move massive volumes of water.
~~ We have checked the route from California to Texas. Although we are certain eminent domain would have to be used in some places, the vast majority of the pathway is federally controlled lands and are undesirable and inexpensive.
~~ The pathway of the canal needs to be moved north of major cities for expediency. The beach-head of Camp Pendleton in California is key, removing land acquisition costs of the expensive California coastline.
~~ Engineers believe sections can be started independently of each other and a race for the coasts (like the race for the golden spike in the Transcontinental Railway) would quickly develop. They also believe the canal from Odessa to San Padre could be completed quickly and might serve as a model or motivation for other states.
~~ Because we lived in New Orleans, we know New Orleans is below sea level and relies on a system of pumps for survival. We consulted friends here as well, to estimate the length of fresh water tentacles we could possible irrigate.
~~ Because we have built several small lakes, we are keenly aware of problems with lakes “leaking” because of underground sand, clay, etc. We are, however, very familiar with Carlisle Syntec, which has a factory in town, and who has built a million-gallon reservoir (can be bigger – no limit), in Utah, using their lining materials.
~~ It goes without saying, we expect significant upgrades in rail, interstate, airports, sea-cargo ports, etc. to accompany this project. These developments will happen magically as private money will swarm around this project. Engineers strongly advised a guidance council of sorts so municipalities do not step on each other, to allow the development of a master plan.
Financing and Time Required:
~~ The Erie Canal project, 363 miles long, was originally slow-going but we can learn from history. In fact, 200 years ago, one mule and a team of three men took a year to dig one mile. Then, the USA LEGALLY immigrated 5000 Scotch-Irish workers to dig the canal, which was finished in four years. Ultimately these immigrants settled throughout upstate NY.
~~ The research on the Erie Canal shows the most effective way to finance projects like these are through bond issues. When Sundance, at The Conservative Treehouse, suggested today a proposal to tie repatriation of corporate cash to the purchase of USA infrastructure bonds, which could then be traded in an open market, my brain began churning. As a former partner in a brokerage firm, the idea makes perfect sense.
~~ The faster the project is completed the less it will cost and the less problems we will have. Remember, the original cost of “The Big Dig” in Boston was 2 billion as opposed to finished cost of 12 billion. Availability of funds and an enticement to invest removes the problem of necessary funds and helps ensure completion.
~~ Ultimately, the engineering and architectural firms will provide estimated costs and completion dates. As an owner of a construction company, I know they will all be wrong.
How to Make the Canal a Reality:
~~ Leadership is required.
~~ Political timing is imperative and Trump’s election makes the project conceivable/possible/probable and something that very definitely would Make America Great Again. Yes, we did intend to send the idea to Ms. Clinton if she was elected, as we believed this is a non-partisan issue. We were under no illusion she would do anything.
We defer immediately to President Trump. He’s probably already thought of a dozen more benefits and hiccups we had not foreseen in two years of concentrated effort.
~~ With Republican governors in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, the process for approval becomes easier. The only hiccup is the very congested coast of CA. The key is Camp Pendleton which gives the canal a “beachhead”. The canal could be completed up until the California coast, where we anticipate objections for some unknown reason…., which would be a good time to turn off their water.
~~ It’s a public works project the Republicans can get behind because of the potential for business expansion. It might be a good bargaining chip with The Chamber of Commerce who is losing on amnesty to Trump. The canal might help to “take the lumps out”, as Trump’s dad would say.
~~ It’s a huge public works project the Dem’s and green activists can get behind because it solves the water problems for the southwest, especially California, and because of potential oil-spill disasters being contained within a lock.
~~ Native Americans benefit and are involved because of proximity to some of their lands. The canal makes them money and brings opportunity for their next generation.
~~ Wall Street would LOVE the idea. At cocktail parties, they might quibble, pretend to know better and offer unsolicited advice (because they always do). Yet, bottom line, they cannot possibly afford to sit on the sidelines of this deal.
~~ Throughout the process, we create and perfect salt water conversion, borrowing technology from Israel and others. Our altruistic cause would benefit the rest of the world and make progressive billionaires “dreamy” with praise.
~~ The canal is an ideal government steered project which Conservatives and even staunch libertarians can get behind. For Trump supporters, again, America leads. We love Trump and trust his judgement.
~~ We do note one issue. Because the canal will pass north of major cities like El Paso and others, the canal would create an area above our actual border (wall/fence) but below the canal. This could be some kind of enterprise zone or special immigrant status zone, before approaching chokepoints at the canal where security and legal immigration can more easily be checked. We defer to the administration for leadership and legality here.
It’s American leadership. It’s proactive. Salt water conversion has been tried and tested in small projects throughout California for years. This problem needs a NASA-like solution, “We’re going to the moon by the end of the decade.
The idea literally comes from the mouths of babes and America’s next generation. Disregard if you choose. We’ve tried to take a problem and create multiple benefits.
We have 1930’s WPA projects to point to for ‘as built’ examples on a smaller scale. Both Democrats and Republicans often speak of infrastructure projects but the trillion dollar stimulus from the Obama Administration was “not so shovel ready”. Instead of sprinkling taxpayer funds into thousands of projects, let’s go with a big idea, to Make America Great Again.