Dec 30 2011
With a deadline looming on January 3rd , Sierra Club volunteers and friends of Bumping Lake are today mailing 400 citizen comments opposing new dams in the Yakima River Basin to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec) and Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology).
“People don’t want new dams that cost taxpayers billions, drown ancient forests and endangered species habitat, and force families from lakeside cabins,” said David Ortman of Sierra Club’s Columbia River Future Projects. “People want agriculture’s water waste in the Yakima Basin to end – and they support water conservation. They also support passage for salmon at BuRec’s dams on the Yakima River. But new dams? No.”
The main points from the comments are:
People oppose new dams that will drown magnificent ancient forests and endangered species habitat at Bumping Lake within the Wenatchee National Forest (nearly 2000 acres), as well as shrub steppe habitat (the Wymer Dam).
Wasteful water practices by the agriculture industry in the Yakima must end, and people support water conservation.
Existing BuRec dams on the Yakima River were built without passage for salmon, and people support salmon passage at the BuRec’s dams.
The Teanaway River deserves protection from real estate developments, but NOT as mitigation area for destroying ancient forests and endangered species habitat.
This $5 billion proposal lacks a benefit-cost analysis and does not present a range of alternatives. People are requesting that the BuRec and Ecology withdraw the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Yakima Integrated Water Resource Management Plan.
A number of organizations, including the Alpine Lakes Protection Society, Endangered Species Coalition, Federation of Outdoor Clubs, Kittitas Audubon, North Cascades Conservation Council, Sierra Club, Western Lands Projeyct, and Western Watersheds Project will be submitting detailed comments on the proposed “Integrated Plan,” which includes billions of dollars for new Yakima River basin dams, including a new Bumping Lake Dam and a Wymer Dam on Lmuma Creek.
“The Bumping Lake Dam, would wipe out a spectacular and rare Ancient Forest of huge trees which is the habitat for spotted owls and bull trout,” noted Brock Evans, president of the Endangered Species Coalition based in Washington, D.C. “The Wymer Dam would wipe out a substantial amount of shrub-steppe habitat for sage grouse.”
The 45-day public comment period is for the proposed Yakima “Integrated Plan”. BuRec and Ecology denied written requests from national, state and local environmental groups to extend the public comment period beyond the holidays.
Opposition to a new round of fiscally irresponsible and environmentally dam-building by the Bureau of Ecology and Washington’s Department of Ecology continues to grow. “These dam proposals don’t make either fiscal or environmental sense,” said Ortman. “Is it any wonder the agencies are contorting the public process to make public scrutiny as difficult as possible. The public needs to weigh in.”
Comments on the PDEIS may still be sent to the Bureau of Reclamation by January 3rd at: firstname.lastname@example.org