Water pipeline 'highly illogical'
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A4 • Opinion • The Chronicle • April 29, 2015 www.omakchronicle.com
Set phasers to stun, Star Trek fans. Capt.James Tiberius Kirk — known off screen aseccentric actor William Shatner — wants to beamour water through a pipeline straight to drought-ridden California. To quote his first officer, Spock(the late actor Leonard Nimoy), that’s “highlyillogical.”
The 84-year-old actor made famous by his roleas captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise wants to build apipeline from Seattle — a place he says “There’stoo much water” — to California. “Bring it downhere and fill one of our lakes,” Shatner said duringan April 17 interview with Yahoo. “If it leaks,you’re irrigating.”
Apparently, Shatner doesn’t know Washingtonis in its own drought — the third one in the last100 years.
He may or may not be joking. But thesuggestion sends shivers through us. And it shouldhave the same effect on all Washingtonians.
California has failed to plan for its power andwater needs. And wealthy government agencies,businesses and residents there already siphonelectricity generated by our dams to support theirextreme views and lifestyles at our expense. Thelast thing we need to do is sit idly by while theytake aim, even half-heartedly, at our water supply.
Washingtonians need to take ownership of thewater supply seriously. We’re already giving awaytoo many water rights to non-agricultural interestsand non-local government agencies, organizationsand businesses.
Shatner says he’s looking to kickstart hisproposal with a $30 million fundraising campaign.And if the effort falls short, he says he plans to usewhatever he raises to back a candidate who vowsto build the pipeline. Given the political culture ofour nation — especially California — today, he’slikely to find a candidate willing to take themoney.
If Californians want to fill their lakes, let thembuild their own dams and reservoirs. And whilethey’re at it, let them add the power generationsystems necessary to support their state’s needs attheir own expense.
If Washington wants to “live long and prosper,”residents will take every effort to keep water rightsunder local control and ownership.
To many, giving President Obama moreauthority is a bad idea. However, regardless ofhow you feel about him, the president needs thepower to negotiate trade agreements.
The issue before Congress is a bipartisan billgranting the President’s trade negotiators thepower to help write the terms of tradeagreements. Sens. Orin Hatch, R-Utah, and RonWyden, D-Oregon, brokered the deal.
World trade creates 38 million American jobs,846,000 inour state,which has thehighest per-person incomerelated toworld trade.
Our stateexports hit arecord $90.6billion in 2014, an increase largely driven byaerospace exports.
While much of the economy remains stagnant,the dollar value of exports, which doesn’t includesoftware, climbed 11 percent compared to 2013,according to the World Institute for StrategicEconomic Research.
U.S. News and World Reports writes,“America is on the edge of several groundbreakingtrade agreements that, once entered into, wouldexpand the U.S. economy, raise living standardsaround much of the globe, create jobs and openmarkets to goods produced here at home just asthis country embarks on a long-awaitedmanufacturing renaissance ...”
For these agreements to be consummated, thenegotiators for all parties must have confidencethe agreements will be ratified. The heads ofnations must provide those assurances. The checkand balance in our case is Congress.
Reaching trade agreements is complicated, butit is the only way to produce concessions ondifficult issues like protecting e-commerce andintellectual property, where the rules of the roadare still being written. It is also a way to resolveold arguments about the selling of automobilesand agricultural products.
Looking ahead, trade negotiations will befueled by continued growth in electroniccommunications and the Internet. U.S. Newsreports that about 35 percent of America’s grossdomestic product – representing more than one-quarter of the nation’s jobs and 60 percent of ourexports – comes from U.S.-based intellectualproperty technology. That technology has drivenadvances in health care and medical research,improved farming methods, and created new waysof providing education outside traditional collegecampus settings.
Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamberof Commerce, summed it up when he toldCongress the U.S. cannot afford to stand on thesidelines. If we do, American workers, farmersand companies will pay the price.
Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist.He can be contacted at [email protected].
From our readers
Provide facts onconservation buys
I only wish I had the power ofinfluence a previous writer creditsme with in an April 22 letter to theeditor.
If I did, we the public, wouldhave transparency andaccountability on the massivegovernment and environmentalgroup acquisitions of private landand land rights. We would wellknow the cumulative impacts ofprivate lands and land, water,mineral and timber rights that aretaken away from privateownership and use forever andtransferred to governmentagencies and environmentalpartners.
But we don’t.The entourage that went to
Rep. Kretz’s office was to lobby formore acquisitions of land rightsthat just in Okanogan County inthis legislative session wereproposed for 9,997 additionalacres to initially cost the public$5,154,604. The statement aboutthe previous writer’s address wassimply that a Renton address islisted on Assessor’s Office records,which it is. But more importantly,none of the writer’s claims changethe bottom line presented tolegislators — the state Departmentof Fish and Wildlife used$950,000 in public funds for hisnearly 2,000-acre conservationeasement in perpetuity on lands hepurchased for $1.5 million. That’sone of many sweet deals for“conservation buyers” and thefederal tax breaks make the dealseven sweeter.
We the public have long andunknowingly been forced into therole of “willing buyer.” It is pasttime for the public to be providedthe facts to truly decide if thecumulative mounting losses ofprivate land and land rights for the“public benefit” are worth it.
Don’t minimizehuman influence
I couldn’t agree more with anApril 22 letter to the editor inwhich the writer laments TheChronicle’s bias and indifferenceto both facts and what is good forthe people of Okanogan County.
Ironically, right above thatletter was a column by RogerHarnack, Chronicle editor andpublisher, regarding humancontribution to climate change.
No, this year is not the firsttime the state has experienceddrought. And it is true that theearth has undergone climate cyclesthroughout its history. This is notnews to those who are concernedabout the current pace of globalwarming, and who have facts thatsupport the conclusion that humanactivities are making it worse.
You hold up the drought of1977 as proof that drought isnothing new. You quote a reportabout that drought as saying “thePacific Northwest should plan formuch drier conditions.” And youthink this makes your point thatthe current drought is just part ofa natural cycle?
While you — and others whodeny or minimize humancontribution to globalwarming — continue to resistmeasures to reduce the use offossil fuels. The column only
confirms that we knew all thosedecades ago — we’ve been heatingup the planet since the industrialage that began in the late1800s. Yet, you still oppose Gov.Inslee’s efforts to reduce howmuch hotter and drier OkanoganCounty and the planet get.
As an Okanogan Countyresident, I do not thank you.
Religious hatersare in the minority
I just tonight read a previouswriter’s April 8 letter to the editorregarding Muslims.
I must say that I am heartenedto know that just as there is only atiny minority of Muslims whosupport violence and hate.Likewise, there is only a tinyminority of Christians who saysuch hateful and blindedcomments as the writer’s.
I truly feel sorry for the writerand hope the healing power of hisfaith will fill his heart withunderstanding and love for hisfellow humanity, just as I hope forany person so consumed by hateand fear.
Enloe reservoirwater isn’t usable
On April 15, The Chroniclepublished the column “Considerreservoir before decision” dealingwith the fate of Enloe Dam andsuggesting Enloe could providebenefits for future drought andflood control.
Both of these issues are timelywith dramatic changes in ourhistoric weather patterns. ButEnloe can never provide a solutionfor those issues. Details and factswill show you why:
As a small run-of-river project(meaning water in equals waterout), Enloe has a reservoir thataverages less than 20 feet in depth,and has an estimated 775 acre-feetof storage capacity, not nearlyenough to assist with storage,flood control or additional futurereleases for irrigation, fish ordrinking water.
The author of the column alsoaddressed how the Enloediscussion has centered on itseconomic feasibility. Yes,economics are the issue. The pooreconomic value of Enloe(conservative estimates are that it
will lose between $1.1 million and$1.5 million for each year theproject generates power) and thecosts of storage dams are evengreater.
Those California projectsmentioned in the column areestimated to cost $2.6 billion(Sites Reservoir with expectedstorage of 1.8 million acre-feet) to$4 billion (Temperance Flats).Since Enloe can’t provide storage,where would billions of dollarscome from?
And even if you wanted to buildwater storage on the Similkameen,there is the issue of what do youfill it with? The column referencedthe lack of snowpack. And just lastweek, the journal NatureGeoscience published a studyshowing glaciers in BritishColumbia would shrink 70 percentto 90 percent in area by 2100.
So, how much do you want tospend for a dam that may neverfill? Regardless of your answer,certainly a small dam like Enloewill never provide even a drop inthat bucket.
Editor’s note: According toanalysis of U.S. Geologic Surveyformulas, 775 acre-feet withoutwater-use restrictions couldprovide enough water to sustainthe current populations of Orovilleand Tonasket for more than 2.5years, if the reservoir were tiedinto a potable water system.
Remove EnloeDam, open up river
Publisher Roger Harnack’sApril 15 column gives theimpression Enloe Dam acts as aflood control and a reservoir forwater storage. Rather, Enloe Damis a run-of-the-river dam whichdoes not hold water back duringthe spring freshet. Sediments havefilled in the reservoir that onceexisted.
If one visits the dam duringMay or June, they can see the riverflowing freely over the dam,making Similkameen Falls almostcompletely disappear in theimmense volume of watercascading down the gorge. Behindthe dam the average depth of the“reservoir” is nine feet, making thevolume of water held behind thedam about as much water as theriver channel usually holds, not agreat reservoir of water that willprovide us with water during theensuing drought times ahead.
If Enloe Dam is left in place to
generate power for 50 years, itcould ultimately cost ratepayersover $150 million, includingconstruction costs, interest on thedebt, subsidized annual operationsand maintenance, and eventualdam removal costs. Ratepayers arealready subsidizing Enloe Damlicense costs.
Instead of generating suchexpensive power, removal of thedam could provide new habitat forthe athletic steelhead, giving riseto a new economic potential for asport fishing economy in Orovilleand Loomis.
There’s more thanone viable hospital
Okanogan County has morethan one viable hospital; one justhas to look north to North ValleyHospital and its financial positioncompared to Mid-Valley.
The Chronicle editorial iscorrect in one statement — theU.S. Highway 97 corridor hospitalsfrom Wenatchee through Tonasketneed to do a better job ofcollaborating care services.However, consolidation is not theonly curtain to look behind, and,most likely, not the best answer tomeeting the needs of individualservice areas.
North Valley has been at thetable with Mid-Valley and ThreeRivers hospitals to identify how wecan achieve economies of scale andmeet the health and wellnessneeds of our individualcommunities. We intend to stay atthe table. Our current leadershipteam is meeting with the leaders ofConfluence Health this week to re-engage the discussion and intendto take the next step at the NorthCentral Washington HospitalCouncil meeting scheduled at Mid-Valley Hospital.
The Chronicle should check itsfacts and seek content informationfrom the players outside of Omakbefore printing nonsense ineditorials.
P.S., the leadership at NorthValley Hospital agree with TheChronicle and encourage Mid-Valley hospital district voters tosupport the hospital bond.
Interim CEO Ron O’Halloran North Valley Hospital
World tradecreates jobs
Letters to the editor policy
The Chronicle accepts letters to theeditor of 250 words or less. Letters mustbear the signature and hometown of thewriter and a daytime telephone number.
Letters with multiple signatures or sentto multiple publications will not beconsidered. Letters may not includepersonal attacks or thank you messages.Letters are subject to editing.
Publication does not imply agreementor endorsement by The Chronicle. Lettersmay be mailed to The Omak-OkanoganCounty Chronicle, Attn. : Letter to theEditor, P.O. Box 553, Omak, WA 98841;dropped off at The Chronicle office, 618Okoma Drive, Omak; faxed to 509-826-5819, or emailed to [email protected].
Robert Gregory was a former ConsumerAuto Liquidators employee in Omak. Hisprevious automobile sales experiencewas incorrectly reported in the April 22edition of The Chronicle.
Capt. Kirk wants to beam our
water through pipe to California