Comment offered on letters about dams


In response to recent John McKern and William L. Kelly letters. McKern and Kelly greatly exaggerate the innocence of dams and owe the public an apology. Who are you trying to misrepresent? How many people live in the flood plain? Downtown Lewiston is. Why does the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have to dredge? Why is there an "earth fill" portion to dams (lower than the top of the concrete structure)? Where does the slit come from?

If the public wins a Supreme Court case ¬-- who is right? Who are the "radicals," me, the Corps, or the National Wildlife Federation, or the state of Oregon, or the Nez Perce Tribe, or McKern or Kelly? Is there such a thing as a "radical non-environmentalist?"

McKern mentioned Lower Granite reservoir. When it was drained, the report showed it as 17 percent silted. The dam had been in place 17 years -- you do the math. I did not say I support maintaining the dams, I refer the situation to the public for a solution. I welcome an official report on the status of every pools siltation and impacts which reveal the integrity of the dams and the system in general. The public has the right to know.

Below Clarkston is where the dredgings are being dumped and are decreasing the pool capacity. original laws did not allow any filling of the pool area, so Congress had to change the law to allow the dredgings to be dumped elsewhere in the pools. Not only did we public pay for the dams, but now we pay to dredge. No occasionally, but daily.

Kelly should know that the Corps had legislation and funding to haul silt out of the pools but that the dam mud has chemicals in it that don't allow it to be used where food products are raised. It kills forests too.

That mud takes from two to six years to dry and be mixed with resident soils and its composition is vastly different from organic topsoil of farms, thus greatly degrading the farm soil.

No wonder farmers refuse it. It is comical that Kelly downplays the storage of flood waters in the pools as only the top five feet, perhaps it is the lower feet of space that holds his "cubic miles of sediment."

What flood waters will the lower 95 feet full of sediment hold? Is the judge a rogue because his opinion (in favor of the concern of valid agencies, states, and the public) differed from Kelly's? Did he work 'for' the public? Does he consider the Corps as in opposition to the public and law? Will dams stop filling with mud or water?

Al Johnson
Walla Walla


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