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Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014, 1:00 a.m.
Sunset Falls

Landslide area is unstable

Thank you for the Monday article, “Federal agency approves PUD’s study of proposed dam.” It seems as though PUD senior management are willing say just about anything to advance this project. Just one example is their description of the Sunset Falls area as having “No known geological hazards or unstable areas.” This statement was repeatedly given to the PUD commissioners, to FERC, WDFW, Tribes, congressional committees, PUD ratepayers and the public at large over the last several years.
Unfortunately, it turns out that most of the land surrounding Sunset Falls is indeed geologically unstable. Currently, a huge landslide blocks the only road adjacent to Sunset Falls. PUD has obtained “Approved Study Plans” and has authorized millions of dollars to complete them, but it will be hard to do that with no access! Also not mentioned by PUD are the risks of future landslides above their facilities and liquefaction of the left dam abutment during an earthquake.
Will PUD now seek to spend additional public funds to address the landslide risk that they so strongly asserted did not exist? The road to Sunset Falls is privately owned by a non-profit corporation, so PUD cannot legally make a gift of public funds to repair it. It should be interesting to see what they say or do next as they continue to dig themselves into a deeper and deeper financial hole at Sunset Falls.
PUD will say anything; but ratepayers, honored tribes, community leaders and the general public are listening and becoming increasingly concerned.
David Wick

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