Sanity and reason have prevailed. The Enloe Dam re-energizing project is finally dead. We ratepayers can give a big sigh of relief.
The project was badly conceived on almost every count. So why did it take 35 years of hype and misinformation, plus millions of ratepayer dollars, to reach this point? One answer is the way quasi-governmental entities like the PUD are set up with elected commissioners who need no training or experience.
Very few people pay attention to PUD elections. It always seems there are more important races and issues. Few voters know who the candidates are or what their qualifications are. Yet we give them almost unlimited powers in their domain, like condemning public state lands for power lines. They want a dam, they can have it, despite obvious, contrary economic realities. And, of course, to hell with environmental concerns.
Don’t think that irrationality is confined to rural area governance. There is a housing crisis in Seattle. The currently proposed solution there is simply to eliminate all single-family zoning. Every house could be turned into a multi-family residence. Every lot could have three houses. Developers wouldn’t even have to provide any off-street parking.
A neighborhood association’s court action forced the city to do a full Environmental Impact Statement. Conclusion: The proposal will have no significant environmental effects!
A large majority of the Seattle City Council is reportedly in favor. Does that sound like our own county commissioners until two years ago? To them, no development project could ever have a significant impact. For sure, Seattle citizen lawsuit challenges will continue.
Randy Brook, Twisp
The Department of Ecology’s recent statements with regards to the Methow watershed really need to be looked at. The “science” which states that wells could have a detrimental impact on stream flows is exactly opposite of the “science” ecology used only three years ago when they mandated the installation of 93 new wells, because wells were not detrimental to in stream flows. Ecology’s “science” said that water drawn from deep aquifers and distributed over the surface of the land actually recharged the watershed and if anything had a positive impact on in stream flows.
Today, Ecology seems to be claiming that their own science was wrong. The $10 million-plus spent by electrical ratepayers and taxpayers, not to mention the thousands spent by local irrigators to alter their system and in higher assessments, was a waste because it was the wrong thing to do. In spite of all this Ecology is expanding upon the MVID upgrades, once again at taxpayers’ and electrical ratepayers’ expense.
What “science” would actually benefit our environment?
What has Ecology actually accomplished over the last 50 years of watershed management based on “in stream flow”? How many rivers or streams have increased flows based on Ecology’s actions? Zero! How many rivers or streams that had decreasing flows have been stabilized based on Ecology’s actions? Zero! How many fish species have de-listed as a result of Ecology’s actions? Zero! How many fish species have been listed under the ESA since Ecology took over management of our watersheds? Too many for me to count! Have we seen a reduction in the rate of the listing of aquatic species? No!
What benefit do the taxpayers get from Ecology’s management of our watersheds? Who does benefit?
Since 1995, Ecology’s budget has increased by over 400 percent. This number does not include the $300 million bonus they received from the “Hirst fix” legislation. They get the money, what do we get?
Mike Newman, Sedro-Woolley/Twisp
Comp plan commenting
I’m astounded that Marcy Stamper’s time-sensitive article regarding a Jan. 4, 5 p.m. deadline for public input to a crucial Environmental Impact Statement process was found only on page 7 of the Methow Valley News this past week.
Surely I am not alone in noticing the irony that California’s Camp Fire, in which a recent evacuation plan is credited with saving thousands of lives, now burns as the county attempts to revise our own faulty Comprehensive Plan.
The deadline for “scoping” is an opportunity for members of the public to identify county land use issues that are important enough to be analyzed in an Environmental Impact Statement. This EIS analysis would then inform county decision-makers as to which of three alternatives in a new Draft Comprehensive Plan would best guide land use decisions in years to come.
Unfortunately, the scoping period is planned for the holiday season, when travel and family priorities leave little time for reflection and writing. Contrast the current level of public involvement with that of the 2014 Comp Plan, in which standing-room-only at Liberty Bell High School forced an extended hearing and commissioner hearings in Oroville, Okanogan and Brewster had excellent attendance or standing-room-only.
But news of this decade-long effort is delegated to the back pages of newspapers these days — despite abundantly available earlier information. If the local press has room for praise for this beautiful valley and the people who live here, there should be room also for what has kept it that way until now. Last fall, Okanogan County lost its status as the only county in Washington state with protection against subdivisions within 200 feet of the river — without a peep about the appeal deadline from either the press or environmental groups. Let’s not lose the thread on this Comprehensive Plan.
Should the EIS analyze road vacations and other transportation issues with the existing map, which pre-dates the Carlton Complex? Should cumulative health impacts of wood smoke from all sources be analyzed? Should the EIS analyze whether the Methow Valley actually ends at Gold Creek? Comment soon!
Isabelle Spohn, Twisp