Feb. 25, 2015 — Letters to the Editor

Credit: Brad Skiff

Copper sulfate use concerns grower

The Okanogan Irrigation District is proposing to use copper sulfate this year to eradicate or reduce aquatic weed infestation in the irrigation system. This proposal was reported in the legal announcement section of The Chronicle two or three weeks ago.

While the need for weed eradication is understandable, the use of copper sulfate is problematic due to its potential toxicity to humans, livestock, pets, fish, wildlife and crops.

My wife and I grow our own food and raise sheep and chickens to avoid conventionally raised food contaminated with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.

I am very concerned about the addition of a known toxic chemical to the very water we depend on to maintain a healthy, unpolluted life.

A quick Google search for copper sulfate resulted in concerning information from the National Pesticide Information Center at Oregon State University. The NPIC’s technical information sheet outlines research indicating that exposure to higher concentrations of copper sulfate can lead to such negatives as liver, kidney, spleen and lymph node damage in humans. Copper sulfate is also indicated in renal cancer, lung damage, fertility and reproductive damage in humans and animals.

Fowl and sheep are particularly vulnerable to copper overexposure while young plants exposed to excess copper sulfate can inhibit growth.

The district has submitted an application to state Department of Ecology for applying copper sulfate beginning this spring in the irrigation spray water, and continuing at two-week intervals through the summer on an as-needed basis.

There is clearly a concern to anyone using district water for vegetable growing, raising livestock, or even having periodic exposure to water while irrigating. The district said in its legal announcement that swimming in irrigation canals, watering livestock or any domestic use is illegal. Nevertheless, kids often play in irrigation sprinklers during the heat of summer, while livestock regularly stand under sprinklers and eat pasturage during and immediately after irrigation.

If you are a conventional or organic farmer, orchardist or gardener dependent on irrigation district water this summer, please contact Ecology and the district to voice concerns and to ask them to use nontoxic methods to eradicate aquatic weeds in the irrigation system.

At the very least, ask them to notify all district water users when adding copper to the irrigation system, and when it will clear from the system.

None of us, human or animal, need yet another toxic substance added to our food chain.

Buck Orndorff


Stamp doesn’t cost too much for vote

Considering some gave life, liberty and sacred honor for this country, I don’t think a 49 cent stamp is unreasonable to vote.

Tina Davis


Enloe delay was the right decision

Okanogan County Public Utility District commissioners should be commended for not rushing into commitments that will bind our county for decades. In my view, their delay of the Enloe Dam resolution was an example of responsible deliberateness, rather than an episode of indecision. There was no pressing reason to choose the fork in the road immediately, and there are clearly many questions that need further research.

A key element of this discussion is our PUD’s debt burden. Presently, $39 million in the hole, the PUD owes almost $1,000 for every resident of the county. Every penny of that (along with roughly an equal amount for interest) must be repaid by artificially increased power rates.

With the Enloe projects, we are contemplating a doubling or tripling of that debt burden. In addition to diverting our power payments into interest rather than actual power delivery, our debt exposes us to a risk of unreliable service or even takeover by creditors if the local economy suffers a major downturn. Financial wizards tell us that being in debt is good (and it is, for them). But in my opinion, it is healthier to operate within our income and borrow only for emergencies, or when the loan will create income to repay itself.

It would be great to have some locally generated power, but let’s consider the elevated rates that will be required to repay the loan. It would be lovely to have a free-flowing stream, but again let’s consider the elevated rates to repay the loan.

In my opinion, neither electrification nor removal of Enloe is fiscally prudent at this time. If the Bureau of Land Management sends us a memo at some point in the future that specifically forces the issue, we can tell them in good faith that we just cannot afford either alternative.

Another $40-$100 million of debt on top of our current obligations is genuinely unwise for us, even if some other PUD’s follow that road.

Kit Arbuckle


Grizzlies should come on their time

Bring grizzlies to the North Cascades? Don’t you think if a grizzly wanted to be here it already would?

Maybe Roger Harnack hasn’t come face to face with one yet, but I have come face to face with one two times when hiking in Glacier National Park. It’s not exactly something I want to experience here in the North Cascades.

I feel very fortunate to have had the experience and that the bears were male and young and didn’t attack me. But if you talk to the Glacier National Park division, you’ll find that’s not always the case.

People are stupid. They want to get closer for a great photo op or to take an amazing story home, but sometimes they don’t make it home. My experiences have left me bear cautious and even here in our nearby forests I have a gnawing in the back of my mind that there could always be a bear around the next corner.

Keep your hands out of it and let nature take its course. If you’ve seen some across the border, then they will be here in their own time.

Brooke Hubbard


Let Mother Nature manage grizzlies

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Park Service tried something similar in the mid-1980s. I was the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office forest deputy then and remember it well. 

Yellowstone National Park had a bad year of problem black bears, so some smart fellas decided to relocate these problem black bears to the North Cascade wilderness area. Said bears were supposed to have been hauled to the wilderness and released. Where they were released, I could never find out. 

But within a few short weeks in the late summer of 1985, there were bear complaints coming out of several of the northern camp grounds along the Chewack River. Bears roaming the campgrounds, getting in coolers, trying to get in vehicles, etc. 

Seems these bears didn’t like the wilderness — they preferred campgrounds.  In one trip up Chewack River Road from Camp 4 to 30 Mile (years before the fire), I counted 17 different bears standing or sitting along the road watching me drive by. 

These human-habituated bears had no fear of folks camping in the area. The problem did kinda resolve itself with the coming of bear season in August of 1985. Banner year for bear hunter’s that year. 

That was your tax dollars at work.

From what I’ve seen, the U.S. government takes simple things and complicates them. Leave Mother Nature alone, the Grizzlies will be fine without government help.

Steve Patterson


Think outside the box

Only two options? Really? Come on people; let’s think outside the box a little. Generation or removal seems a little narrow.

I am the first one to admit to a familial, sentimental and personal attachment to the Enloe Dam site. My grandfather Arnold Frazier and my great uncle Mace Reed worked there as very young men.

Grandpa spent most of his working life at the powerhouse. My mother, Jean Worthington, was born at the site and I had the joy of spending a great deal of my childhood there.

Use it or lose it is a term we are familiar with. In this case, make it productive or get rid of it sounds like geriatric euthanasia. The dam and the powerhouse are like my very elderly relatives and if they can’t work we may as well kill them. There must be another option for these old folks, I mean the Enloe Dam site.

Turn it into a historic tourist picnic site. Shore up the old powerhouse, put in a bridge and a picnic area by the reservoir above the dam. The view from a suspension bridge below the dam is a great photo opportunity, not just of the dam flow but also of the tailrace pool below the falls.

It won’t cost nearly as much to rehab the site as it will to build a new powerhouse or to take the dam completely out. There may be grant funds available, too, as the powerhouse is still in the National Register of Historic Places according to Washington State Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.

Maybe the PUD can stop bleeding ratepayers and bring an end to this conversation.

Gai Rainsberry Wisdom


Read your declaration

Christ’s ordination of creation’s first marriage is our creator’s first mandate to humankind. “From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife and they twain shall be one flesh: So then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Mark 10:6-9.

All of our creator’s government over mankind is based on this exact marital formula. The Obama questions before our Supreme Court are these:

Is marriage up for grabs?

Are all sexual choices equal?

Is marriage our creator-law or is it Obamalaw?

A gimmick? (Can a young man marry his own grandpa for the estate? Or marry his Dad? Or his own brother?)

Christians still claim our declaration’s creator law in our “endowment of unalienable rights” like “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” All these are derived from our declaration’s “creator”, and are safeguarded by his role as supreme judge of the world and by the protection of (his) divine providence.

Read your declaration.

Ward Hartzell



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