Still ‘No on Enloe’
The Okanogan Public Utility District (PUD) has a talon grip on the Similkameen River and refuses to let go. On Dec. 7, the commissioners approved a $57 million budget that includes another $1.5 million toward the electrification of Enloe Dam. The dam was scheduled to receive $3.5 million in 2016 – $2 million for engineering and design of the proposed powerhouse and intakes was withdrawn to balance this year’s budget. Spending more money we do not have on Enloe makes no sense.
Last January, local citizens organized a “No on Enloe“ Campaign which clearly showed, using the PUD estimates, that a powerhouse at Enloe would generate $1.1 million to $1.7 million in loses annually. Electrification would require a minimum of $40 million in bond sales and demand $3.5 million in additional payments for principle and interest annually. The projected loses at Enloe will trigger more borrowing just to keep the PUD operating. Our rates will be forced continually upward. Never mentioned by the PUD is the right-of-way agreement signed with the BLM in 2013 that requires our utility to remove the powerhouse and all structures we plan to build on the site when the license ends in 50 years – a $40 million hidden cost to ratepayers. This is a disgrace.
The removal of Enloe Dam and the creation of a wild and scenic Similkameen River flowing through our lands would draw many visitors to our area who will all be turned on by big fish in our river and the abundant life they foster.
NOAA and National Marine Fisheries representatives have made trips from Seattle and Ellensburg to Okanogan County PUD to discuss the potential of the Similkameen River. The money and the expertise necessary for removal of Enloe Dam and the restoration of the fishery could be available at no cost to the ratepayers. The only thing missing at the table is our PUD commissioners saying “No on Enloe.” Write, call or email you commissioners today. Outdoor recreation is what we have to offer visitors to North County. Don’t let the PUD destroy the best calling card we could ask for, a wild Similkameen River.
Joseph Enzensperger, Oroville
Thanks for spending it here
The Winthrop Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the Methow Valley residents for shopping at local businesses during the holiday season. Some businesses have reported a banner year and much of this success is attributable to local residents shopping locally. In addition, a shout out to the Methow Conservancy’s “Spend a Ben for the Methow” program is well deserved.
Reasons to shop locally are: It provides local economic stimulus; most new jobs are provided by local businesses; environmental impact is reduced by less driving and reduced shipments and boxes; you get better local customer service; unique businesses create a unique character for our communities; and local businesses invest in the valley.
David Gottula, President, Winthrop Chamber of Commerce
A big thanks to everyone who did some of their Christmas shopping in Winthrop this holiday season. A vibrant downtown district in any rural area is utterly dependent on the support of its neighbors. And vibrant and supported we are. For a town of 500 people to have bakeries, a winery, a brewpub and excellent restaurants, art galleries, sporting goods stores, an independent bookstore, clothing boutiques and much more is truly exceptional. Your support has not gone unnoticed.
Brian and Amy Sweet, Cascades Outdoor Store, Winthrop
Ben Cartwright would be proud of my pick for the best book of 2015: Ponderosa, by Steve Arno and Carl Fiedler. Methow Valley readers especially would do well to learn more about “the west’s most iconic tree.” Ponderosa pines evolved with fire over their extensive range (Canada to Mexico). The many different ways they can burn, and be managed, affect all of us living with them.
I was reminded of Arno when visiting a friend’s new home here recently. I noticed a plaque from Matt Arno, Steve’s son, who manufactured the wood used in the strikingly beautiful floor. It’s made from tight-grained suppressed woods, thinned by Matt from overstocked, fire-hazardous Montana forests. Matt is acknowledged as a consulting forester who helped review the book’s production. Fiedler is a retired forestry professor, who coauthored with Arno on their previous book, Mimicking Nature’s Fire. Arno is the author or co-author of three other excellent forestry books: Northwest Trees and Timberline, both exquisitely illustrated by our own Washington state artist, Ramona Hammerly, and Flames in our Forests.
Ponderosa’s extensive bibliography includes many references to other books that are working to educate the world about how both forestry and environmentalists must change, if humanity has any chance at survival. By itself however, Ponderosa is a perfect book to start with, especially now as we struggle to prepare for this year’s coming season of smoke.
Eric Burr, Lost Mazama