The Skykomish River
I'll make it short and sweet. The Snohomish County PUD wants to build a dam on the Skykomish River. Not a big dam that will power whole cities or control flooding, I'm for progress, I could understand that.
No. They want to build a little tiny dam that will make little bits of electricity. Not enough electricity to matter.
What does matter is the fact that to get this little bit of electricity, the project would destroy what must be one of the most beautiful stretches of river anywhere, including both Canyon Falls and Sunset Falls.
All kind of arguments about why the PUD folks would want to build this dam can be made, but really it's simple. Some years back a poorly written initiative was passed that directed a certain percentage of Washington's electricity had to be from renewable sources. A laudable goal, but the initiative did not account for the fact that power from large hydro projects is renewable. Our legislature hasn't bothered to fix this law yet.
As a result of this, the PUD has to find renewable, but not large hydro energy. They think that little bitty dams might be of help to that effort. Unfortunately, the only large impact such little bitty dams can have is to destroy nature and the land that we in the Puget Sound region have grown to love.
A dam is, for all intents and purposes, forever. Once there it will be in place for a lifetime, maybe many lifetimes, and the damage it will do can never be mended.
I'd ask everyone who has read this far to visit the website linked below. Look at the stunning photographs. Many of you will recognize the locations. Decide for yourself if these places should be destroyed.
If like me, you think this river should be protected, I hope that you will sign the electronic petition included on the linked site.
As everyone here knows that I'm a fiscal conservative, I'll even make that argument for anyone reading who might not care about the rivers destruction.
This dam proposal will apparently cost ratepayers (PUD is in fact a government, so it should read taxpayers) 150 million dollars; yet will provide less than 1% of the districts power needs.
I hope that you will view the site, look at the photographs, read the materials, and join me in signing the online petition.