Fight the dam, save our land
I was recently a visiting professor of medicine in China for half-a-year. The people were wonderful, but life was intolerable and hazardous. We had to leave because of the government's policy of flattening the land and damming every river they can lay their hands on. So-called underground explosive charges disrupt life day in and day out, and poison what is left of their rivers. Thousands of dump truck sorties remove the tailings; the diesel exhaust instigates unprecedented asthma rates among children. It coats everything inside and outside homes. The Chinese are trapped. If they complain, they go to jail, or worse.
PUD's scenario for damming the Skykomish mirrors that of the Chinese government. It will line the pockets of the principals and harm the bystanders, but the latter here do not have to sit by idly.
Our water supply is already pushing the limit for arsenic and other metals washed down the Skykomish from old toxic waste sites. Nonetheless, we are being reassured PUD's blasting will not mobilize contaminants in the river sediment. The Chinese were fed the same fairytale. People are now dying from water borne toxins miles from the construction sites, our equivalent of Sultan and Monroe.
PUD's local workers, the guys on the trucks, they're wonderful. They take great care of us during the endless power outages. We are so grateful.
PUD's "leadership," though, reassures the public their work benefits the people whose lives they are willing to tear apart. They will not have to drink this water, breathe diesel exhaust, or listen to explosions for two years.
PUD will sell the credits to the highest bidders. Pockets will be lined. Will the CEO's inflated salary fatten? Will the managers receive raises and hidden bonuses if they jam their plan down our throats?
I tried to speak at a commissioners' meeting. Two of the three busied themselves with paperwork. After treating over 120,000 patients locally, I would have expected a more respectful reception. You can be sure, even the Chinese Politburo in Beijing would not have been as rude.
William S. Gould, MD
- Sisters asunder 11/19/13