The SANDBOX
                      Issue Number 59
                        April 12 - 2000
            sandbox@richlandbombers.com
        Ideas - Opinion - Personal Experience

         "Good company and good discourse 
              are the very sinews of virtue."
               - Izzak Walton 1593 - 1683

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               The SANDBOX #59  Salutes:  
                 The Col-Hi Class of 1959       
http://homepages.go.com/~dentover/59rhs/rhs59.html
    There you will Find `59 Roster, `59 E-Mail List
        Find there also: A ton of pictures from:
            57 - 58 - 59 Columbian Annuals
                     And pictures from:
      20th Reunion 25th Reunion 40th Reunion
        John Northover is your Host and Site
           Administrator for the class of `59. 
         Send any update information to him:
                    dentover@funtv.com

                               ~ ~ ~

Look Who's Talking Today:
     Talking About Salmon vs. Dams:

"As long as the Asian countries are allowed to
 harvest millions upon millions of tons of salmon,
 what we do in the Northwest to preserve the run
 is futile and of  little result other than to act as
 political rhetoric to gain the votes of the groups
 that are willing to give up their country but are
 not willing to protect it."

                       - Jay Siegel `61

"When a plan is based on "doing the one right
 thing," I have to suspect a hidden agenda that
 has nothing to do with the stated problem. In
 such cases, arguing the "rightness" of any
 particular option is a diversion and a waste of
 time. It's generally more useful to focus on NOT
 DOING ANYTHING OBVIOUSLY WRONG."

                      - Dick Epler `52

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"We need an alternative power source in place
 before destroying our dams.  There are other
 considerations... " (regarding) "such heavy
 demands on our environment...self-limit family
 size..."

            - Norma Loescher Boswell `53

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Subj: Salmon and Dams and Family Size
From:   Norma (Loescher) Boswell `53
boswelln@oneworld.owt.com

Sandra Summers  has said what's on my mind!
 We need an alternative power source in place
 before destroying our dams.
           
There are other considerations. A very important
 one is to self-limit family size so as not to make
 such heavy demands on the environment. With
 that decision in place, every other effort to better
 the human condition will stand a better chance of
 success. 

            - Norma (Loescher) Boswell `53

                                ~ ~ ~  

Subj:   A sadness!
From:   Jay Siegel `61
jazfuchsias@prodigy.net

To:  Ron Richards,

I just wanted to drop a line from a place that is
 not as directly impacted upon by the dam
 question. It is a question very close to my heart
 as some 45 years ago, I fought a battle against
 the first high dam on the Cowlitz River - we lost
 that battle.

Are the dams a factor in the decline of the salmon
 on the Snake River? There is no denying that
 they are a factor. Are they the cause of the loss
 of entire subspecies of life from the earth? Most
 definitely not! 

Will the removal of these dams allow the runs to
 recover? That is one that only time will tell. It is
 however apparent to many people that removing
 the dams will only extend the misuse of this
 resource, the Pacific Salmon, for a time.

Destroying the dams does not address nor will it
 impact upon the major cause of the loss of the
 salmon runs through out the Northwest - the
 aggressive harvesting of our salmon, on the high
 seas, by other countries. As long as the Asian
 countries are allowed to harvest millions upon
 millions of tons of salmon, what we do in the
 Northwest to preserve the run is futile and of
 little result other than to act as political rhetoric
 to gain the votes of the groups that are willing to
 give up their country but are not willing to
 protect it.

Increasing the number of salmon reaching the
 ocean only increases the number of fish that will
 be harvested off shore. Instead of spending the
 money to broach the dams, lets put it to work
 eliminating the real problem. I have spent some
 time in Japan, and one of the most noticeable
 features of its coastal waters is the lack of life.
 Their demand for food is so great that the waters
 have been made almost sterile by over fishing.
 The same attitude has been applied to all the seas
 of the world - take all that you can without a
 thought for tomorrow. 

Some 220 years ago, when our territorial limit
 was set to 12 miles, that seemed a safe distance
 as no cannon could throw a projectile further
 than that. Now, that 12 miles has become the
 laughing stock of the whole world: will spend
 billions to help other countries, and millions to
 save endangered species all over the world, but
 our politicians would rather destroy the economy
 of one of our own regions than to take a stand
 and say: NO FISHING! The distance is not the
 important thing, the wholesale harvesting of the
 runs must be stopped!

If that is done, then talk about the dams; if they
 are still a significant problem, then maybe they
 should be broached, but lets stop the over
 harvesting on the high seas.  As US registered
 liner on the high seas is US property, why then
 cannot the salmon that are from our water be
 considered US property and protected from
 exploitation even if they should wander 1000
 miles from our coast.

At one time, "We the People" stood for
 something. It meant that the other nations of the
 world would no longer walk over for their own
 ends. If war was necessary to protect the
 interests of The People in general then that was
 the action taken. The people who are benefiting
 from those dam on the lower Snake are part of
 The People.  They deserve to be taken into
 consideration whenever the "good of the whole"
 is discussed.

Even the "experts" are not sure that opening the
 dams will bring back the salmon runs, but they
 do agree that stopping the wanton slaughter on
 the high seas will stop the decline! Instead of
 condemning the dams, which are providing for
 The People, let's condemn the harvesters from
 other nations that are willing to not only destroy
 the salmon run for their own greed, but will
 willingly standby and allow the "well
 intentioned" within our country destroy part of
 our economy, and thank us for making more
 salmon available for them to harvest.

                      - Jay Siegel `61-

                                ~ ~ ~ 

Subj:  The NW Salmon Debate
From: Dick Epler
depler@ortelco.net

The only thing I know about the NW
 Salmon Debate is what I've read from Ron
 Richards (63)and Gary Behymer (64) in recent
 issues of the Sandstorm and SandBOX. I'm
 unaware of any controlling legislation and
 haven't attended any of the Corps of Engineers
 meetings. However, I do consider myself a
 common-sense environmentalist, and a 
 conservative in the "old  tradition" of keeping
 the best of what we know is true, while requiring
 a close scrutiny of the unproven. I'm hoping the
 comments of a neophyte in these matters might
 provide some additional insight to this debate.
 
My perception so far is that something is missing
 in the way the problem and solutions are
 currently framed. I'm a builder, not a destroyer,
 and in my life I've never seen a problem that
 didn't have a constructive solution. On the other
 hand, I know intuitively that any catastrophic
 solution, such as destroying the dams, is likely to
 cause more long-term problems than anyone can
 predict. Worse, the desired result of returning
 large numbers of salmon up the Snake River is
 not likely to happen. Not when only 30 sockeye
 salmon returned last year (Ron's data).
 
I say that in spite of Ron's assertion that "The
 overwhelming weight of scientific evidence
 simply shows that removal of the four lower
 Snake River dams is the only option that has a
 reasonable chance to save the Snake River
 salmon from extinction." From my experience,
 that's not a reasonable statement and it
 immediately raised a red flag for me.
 
No one interested in "real" science could or
 would make such a statement. There may be a
 lot of data, but so far as I can tell, no one has yet
 constructed a verifiable experiment, statistically
 large enough, to consider all the known factors.
 If there were such results, I don't believe we'd
 be having this debate. What Ron thinks is science
 may be nothing more than "PhDs for hire" whose
 job is to provide the illusion of science to justify
 a political agenda or conclusion. That's called
 "junk science." While I don't know that to be
 true in this case, I know some environmentalists
 have used this technique before and Ron's
 assertive statement is a trigger.

Understand I don't suspect Ron's motives. So
 far as I know, all the alumni of RHS are
 honorable people. Yet it's quite possible to be
 misled by elitist personalities who croon, "trust
 me" with little real justification for what they're
 advocating.
 
Here's what I would need, at a minimum, to
 support a drastic decision to destroy the dams: a
 simple data table that correlated all the options
 involved in the extinction of the Snake River
 salmon to their percentage contribution to the
 overall problem. Of course, an independent
 verification of the results (peer review) by
 leading scientists in the field is mandatory. That's
 called "real science" and should have been
 produced at least 15 years ago (maybe it was).
 
So that's one thing. However, another red flag
 was raised when Ron compared the proposed
 Snake River cleanup to the Hanford cleanup.
 Now that's something I do know a little about.
 I just downloaded the most recent Hanford
 Annual Report (1998) to review the cleanup
 progress since I left in 1995. Little has changed.
 While there's been a lot of activity, there's not
 been a lot of "essential cleanup" done on the
 level originally proposed in the early ‘70s. The
 Port of Benton is NOT going to be able to
 reclaim all the contaminated land anytime soon
 for the purpose of raising crops and animals as
 originally promised in the early ‘90s. It's not that
 we don't have the science. Most of the science to
 cleanup Hanford has been known since the
 mid-‘50s (and yes, I was there then). The official
 reason for not doing the work is always the same
 down through the years – worker safety. The
 real reason, however, is politics. Recall that in
 the absence of politics, The Corps of Engineers,
 along with about 50,000 workers, built the city
 of Richland (houses and stores), the reactors, the
 separation plants, and the 300 Area research
 facilities in just 22 months for about $350
 million. During this time there were only 11
 deaths in two incidents – a pretty good safety
 record. So large government projects CAN be
 done without compromising safety, and in the
 absence of perfect knowledge (another reason
 for not doing the work). Nevertheless, in the
 current environment, the science-driven cleanup
 mission had to change to accommodate the
 politics of too much money (everyone wants
 their fair share).
 
Accordingly, DOE and Hanford have generated
 mountains of paper over the years to justify
 continued funding, but the essential cleanup
 (tanks, K-basin, and soil vitrification) schedules
 continue to be rewritten. I can't fault anyone. In
 the absence of any real threat to downwinders or
 anyone else, this is a perfectly natural
 development. Understand, the simple passage of
 time has continued to reduce the radioactive
 hazards as the really bad isotopes (high activity)
 dissipate with each passing year. Remaining are
 the long-lived isotopes (less dangerous) in the
 ground and tanks that are still slowly migrating
 toward the Columbia River. Presumably,
 Hanford will address this problem when it
 becomes necessary.
 
One of the earliest, and eminently practical,
 cleanup solutions (proposed in the early 70's)
 was simply to build a fence around the place to
 buy the time needed for nature to do her work. It
 was rejected as being bad for the local economy.
 And so we developed the current
 full-employment plan to dispose of the easy stuff
 while still producing the requisite time. As Ron
 says, the Hanford cleanup has been good for the
 economy of the Tri-Cities, but with one
 exception the decision was not based on science.
 Once science had determined that the unique
 basaltic geology of the area was sufficient to
 significantly slow the migration of the long-lived
 isotopes toward the Columbia River, the decision
 to postpone essential cleanup was a no-brainer.
 Someday, after more than 55 years, we may yet
 get around to the "real" Hanford cleanup (but
 then again, maybe not!).
 
To translate these lessons to the Snake River
 salmon cleanup, we need to ask a couple of
 questions: Is the proposed destruction of the
 dams associated with a full-employment plan? If
 so, how many federal dollars have been allocated
 over how many years? With Hanford, these were
 known factors early in the process.
 
At this point, I must confess: I lied. Even if Ron
 gave me the "table of options" I requested, I still
 might not support destroying the dams. I have
 one more concern. Let's suppose Ron's worst
 fears are realized. Suppose the dams stay in place
 (or don't) and the Snake River never sees
 another wild salmon? What's the worst impact of
 that scenario? Apparently very little. My
 grandchildren will still be able to fish for salmon
 in Idaho because of seeding from the hatcheries.
 
On the other hand, what's the worst impact of
 destroying the dams? Apparently quite a lot.
 Many industries and people will be affected
 across the Northwest. Worse, we don't even
 have the beginnings of that needed
 full-employment plan (read federal dollars) to
 assure that existing and forecasted levels of
 electricity, irrigation, and transportation will be
 replaced in time to prevent major impacts on
 people and associated economies.
 
Here's a rule-of-thumb I've found useful in these
 situations. When a plan is based on "doing the
 one right thing," I have to suspect a hidden
 agenda that has nothing to do with the stated
 problem. In such cases, arguing the "rightness"
 of any particular option is a diversion and a
 waste of time. It's generally more useful to focus
 on NOT DOING ANYTHING OBVIOUSLY
 WRONG. To save the Snake River salmon, there
 are, no doubt, quite a number of constructive
 options that can still be done that are "not
 obviously wrong." In which case we still need
 that option table! Nevertheless, I've signed
 Gary's petition.
 
                               ~ ~ ~
  
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                            ~ 59 ~