Food for thought
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the cartoon at the top right hand corner on page A4 of the March 14 edition of the Methow Valley News is worth at least that many — depending on how it’s interpreted. In case you missed it, the drawing featured a wide-eyed, fearful pig, fish, cow, goat, bear, deer and other allegedly delectable and destroy-able beings on a cracker, being shoveled into the gaping mouth of a ginormous human head.
Though its caption was “Bite of the Methow,” it seemed to symbolize the “Bite of Humanity,” as in the chunk that meat-eating is taking out of this once vibrant planet.
If you can’t find it in yourself to care about cruelty issues, you might at least consider your food choices in regards to the fact that animal agriculture is the “third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, after the energy and industrial sectors,” according to “The Case for a Carbon Tax on Beef” by Richard Conniff in the New York Times, March 17, 2018.
As Chatham House, an influential British think tank, points out, livestock production is responsible for more greenhouse gas “than the emissions produced from powering all the world’s road vehicles, trains, ships and airplanes combined.” Conniff adds, “including grazing, the business of making meat occupies about three-quarters of the agricultural land on the planet.”
Call it food for thought, but what you eat is actually affecting our weather these days.
Jim Robertson, Twisp
Great community effort
The Methow Valley Snowmobile Association bought a thank you ad to express our appreciation to our community merchants for their support of the Christmas dinner. We also want the community to know that we would not be able to run this event without the local people who support the effort.
Around 25 volunteers served more than 200 people who met with friends, made some new friends and enjoyed a delicious and leisurely meal. We sent two turkeys to Jamie’s Place and the contents of our very generous donation jar were distributed to local charities. Several of the volunteers do not belong to our snowmobile club nor do they even snowmobile. They just believe in what we are doing. We thank them.
We were also honored to have some terrific music courtesy of Emile Clothier, the Mendros, and their friends. Several individual community members (some snowmobilers and some not) donated turkeys, munchies, vegetable dishes, desserts and decorations. We thank them also. Also, this is our big thanks to the Methow Valley News for including this event in each edition until the date. Our association looks forward to repeating this event for Christmas 2018!
Christine Holm, Methow Valley Snowmobile Association
Gratitude for Cantwell
I would like to express my thanks to Sen. Maria Cantwell for her steadfast leadership in putting an end to the U.S. Forest Service’s practice of fire-borrowing.
As a longtime firefighter and current owner of a private firefighting company based here in the Methow Valley, I have spent many shifts working alongside our high-quality, committed Forest Service personnel. Western communities deserve adequate resources to address the threat of wildfires, and this shouldn’t come from stealing resources from other important work in our National Forests like fuels reduction and healthy forest practices.
Thanks to this change, not only will this harmful practice of fire-borrowing be ended, but important steps will be taken to conduct fuels treatment projects in and around communities like ours. This is good policy for the Methow Valley, and for everyone living in the West.
I encourage my fellow residents of the Methow Valley and Okanogan County to consider sharing your thanks with Sen. Cantwell and her staff. You can call her D.C. office directly at (202) 224-3441.
Gordy Reynaud, Liberty Wildfire, Twisp-Carlton Road
Some changes needed
The homeless article in the paper, I agree with it, but one thing that needs to change is the affordable housing law (RCW 84.14.101). It needs to be expanded to protect the elderly on Social Security income as well as disability SSA from monthly rent increases. Landlords discriminating against our middle- to low- income residents needs to stop, as well as discrimination against our working poor.
As well, the town of Twisp or the state should be brought into line for their outrageous and rising water and sewer rates so people can afford them on a fixed income. The PUD should take this into consideration when they raise rates as well. If the federal government would give us a real cost of living raise, those on a fixed income might be able to afford the cost of living rates. Support Room One, we need them in our community because they do a good job.
Deb Peck, Twisp
More follies at Enloe
The electrification of Enloe Dam makes no sense. Not only does the project destroy a beautiful place fondly known to many fishermen, hikers and residents of North Okanogan County, this project will lose money for the first 20 years if not the entire 50-year licensing period.
The proposed new powerhouse at Enloe Dam will produce 45,000 MWh of electricity each year. Using $.045/kWh ($45/MWh), the electric rate we all pay our PUD, the estimated economic output of Enloe Dam equals 45,000 MWh annually X $45/MWh = $2,025,000.00 or $2 million in revenue each year. The cost for operation of the Enloe powerhouse for the first 20 years is estimated by the PUD, including debt service, at $3.7 million to $4.5 million per year. This project will cost ratepayers $2 million each year for the next 20 years. We have 20,000 meters across this utility district. Every meter will need to bring in an additional $9 per month or approximately $100 per year to make up for this annual loss of $2 million.
We now have a long-term agreement with Douglas County PUD to receive up to 170MW (38 Enloe Dams) of additional power from Wells Dam. The rate is set at $.034/kWh ($34/MWh). The average daily load of OKPUD is currently 77MW. Instead of electrifying Enloe Dam, we should be rebuilding our sub-stations, transformers, wires and poles. Contact your commissioners. Say “no to Enloe.” The Columbia is our reliable source of affordable hydropower.
Joseph Enzensperger, Oroville
We are property owners of a small commercial lot in the W-3 zone of Winthrop and look forward to developing a business there when our plan and financing permit. Having solar for both photovoltaic and thermal (fluid) collection and providing a more solid tax base for our town are integral components of this plan. We did not realize that solar collectors facing directly away from Highway 20 were illegal in our town. We would like the town to please adopt the proposed code change for this W-3 zone. Thank you all for your community service!
Alex and Leslie Hall, Mazama
What if the experts are wrong?
In response to “no significant impact” from the U.S. Forest Service in reference to the Mission Restoration Project: We expect the experts to be right — but what if they aren’t? What if after removing the trees from 10,220 acres within a 50,000-acre area of Libby Creek and Buttermilk Creek watersheds the forest is more vulnerable rather than more resilient to catastrophic fire? If the wildlife in these watersheds had a voice I don’t think they would agree with the Forest Service.
The intention of the project is to restore the health of the forest and the aquatic ecosystems altered by human activities, but how will driving through Libby Creek with logging trucks restore the already endangered salmonids’ habitat and removing riparian canopy thereby raising the temperature of the creek further threatening the salmonids’ survival? Mule deer winter range cover has been significantly decreased (51 percent-33 percent) for expediting of this timber sale, which actually required amending their own safety regulations. The restoration components of the Mission Restoration Project are as yet unfunded. So, the restoration components — compacted soils, replacement of culverts, enhancement of beaver habitat, rock armoring at stream crossings — may never happen, but a guaranteed timber sale will.
The Forest Service has a goal within this project to create safe and efficient roads, but I question the use of Black Pine Lake Road for winter log hauling. The road has been previously closed due to landslides (and the debris from it falls to the creek’s endangered salmonid population below.) Snowmobiles and even our local teen Libby Creek dog musher frequent this road. How could logging haulage and recreation enthusiasts coexist safely? These are just a few of the questions that came up for me reading this article of March 21. I don’t think there is anything insignificant about this project. I invite you, the reader, to look further into this Forest Service endeavor.
Joanne Cooper, Carlton, Member of Libby Creek Watershed Association
Good for business
As a Winthrop business owner, as a father of children in the valley, as a believer that we have to make big and courageous investment in the health of our environment, and as a resident of Winthrop, I am writing to voice my strong support for a revision of Winthrop’s codes to allow for solar panels on the properties of local businesses.
I see solar as only an asset to our economy. It will not take away from our ability to capitalize on our valued western theme but, instead, will inspire and resonate with tourists across the Pacific Northwest. I want my children, our children, to see and be proud of the commitment our community has made to alternative sources of energy.
As I understand it, the proposed amendment would allow for solar panels on W-3 businesses (properties outside of the commercial center). I encourage us to always, always think big about how we can take care of our precious ecosystem, let’s have changes to W-3 zones be just a start. This valley is ambitious about caring for its river, its mountains, its fish and its farms; embracing solar in all its current and future forms is not a new face for the Methow Valley, it is the Methow Valley living up to its identity. It’s the Methow Valley having the courage to be a leader in rural Washington.
Nick Allgood, Owner, North Cascades Builders Supply, Winthrop
Visitors and many residents appreciate the uniqueness of Winthrop. They/we like that it reflects our past and has a feel good nostalgia.
I volunteer at Shafer Museum and meet lots of people who reflect on their own ancestors’ histories of coming west. Honoring Westernization honors our history.
People value the variety that Winthrop and the Methow offer. The Western downtown attracts people. Trail-based recreation is important — forest and mountain trails and town trails (Susie Stephens and Teekh Wa). Destinations like Pearrygin Lake State Park, Mazama and Sun Mountain and public lands (U.S. Forest Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) are part of the variety that attracts people.
Much of the year the North Cascades National Scenic Highway brings people through spectacular mountain settings to bottomlands which largely remain as agricultural lands and open space thanks to conservation easements, etc. People appreciate the openness, views and sense of place. They slow down and enter a small western town and may go back in time a bit.
People who interact with these visitors hear about how beautiful it is, how good it feels. Locals comment about the mental change the closer they get to Winthrop, the coming back to a good place. Westernization is a contributor to that.
Businesses that want solar could do a community solar installation outside of the areas covered by Westernization and in areas that won’t adversely impact Westernization. Keep Winthrop’s Westernization. Do not allow solar in any areas currently covered by Westernization.
Ardis Bynum, Winthrop
Update the code
We are lucky to live in a community of people who care. I can name 10 nonprofit organizations off the top of my head, many of which deal with conservation and sustainability. From keeping out a large ski corporation in the 1980s to keeping out a mining operation presently, the people of this valley set a precedent of protecting our community and landscape. I’m lucky to be part of and raise my family in such a vibrant place. As such, the recent polarization over solar panels is both surprising and disheartening.
Renewable energy is the best update we can make to our town code. We have no reason to believe that solar panels off the beaten path would deter anyone from visiting, and we don’t know enough about visitors to make assertions as to their preferences of our antiquated “western town.” The Westernization committee posits that the western theme drives our economic health. But without an economic analysis or survey of each tourist, how do we know? As outdoor recreation continues to increase in popularity in the Methow and elsewhere, is Westernization the cause of our success, or a correlation?
Updating our code to adapt to current technologies is an opportunity to provide sustainable solutions to businesses and families without any detriment to the unique “western” experience for visitors and ultimately better our vital economy and community we all love. I hope you’ll join me to show support for renewable energy at the Public Hearing at the Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday (April 10) at the Winthrop Barn.
Alison Naney, Winthrop