Professor Paddle: Who wants to play Activist Tuesday at SnoPUD?
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jP
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  Quote jP Replybullet Topic: Who wants to play Activist Tuesday at SnoPUD?
    Posted: 13 Feb 2016 at 6:32pm
There's a SnoPUD meeting in Everett, set for 6 PM this coming Tuesday, Feb 16th, at the SnoPUD main office (2320 California St).

The reason for the meeting has to do with a change in the way SnoPud bills its rate payers, and apparently this issue has rate payers pretty pissed off at SnoPUD. So there should be a decent turnout.

Oppenents of SnoPud's proposal to dewater SUNSET FALLS (AND CANYON FALLS, and the 1.1 miles inbetween) are poised to take this moment to educate ratepayers about the dam proposal, and why its a bad idea. I will be there for sure, and we think its a good idea for as many of you to show up as possible.

I'm going to keep things short here right now, but I'd like to urge your participation. Please, if you simply can't go because of prior obligations thats fine. But if you can make it, your support is needed. Think of it as just a trip to everett to hang out with your fellow, fun loving boaters, and of course publicly engaging with non boaters and rate payers there.

Please understand we are entering a critical phase in this fight. And no one is asking you for money. We need YOU. We need your passion, your intellect, and your belief in what's right with regards to how we manage our precious resources. Understand that this fight is just now heating up. For us to succeed it will be a death of a "thousand cuts" kind of victory (metaphoriclly speaking, obviously).

If you want ANY details about how you can effectively participate, please please please PM me, text me, call me...just get involved.

Oh yeah, and posting below to fire up some stoke won't hurt either.



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jP
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 13 Feb 2016 at 6:52pm
Now, for those who haven't kept abreast of this issue, are completely unimormed of it, or have just gotten busy and forgotten the details of why Damming the S. frk Sky at Sunset Falls is a Terrible Idea, here's a recap:

Its going to cost ratepayers about $225.3 million.   (Since Dec 15th, the high estimate has gone up 8 million from $217.7 million). They said studies would cost 1.1mil but they are already $5 million deep, not counting land prchased. So well over $225 million to add 1% to SnoPUD's energy demand. The sudden increase in the estimate speaks to how fiscally irresponsible this proposal is.


BLASTING CLOSE TO AN ACTIVE LANDSLIDE
Two 2 story tunnels one half mile in length will be blasted out of bedrock within 330 feet of an active, ongoing, landslide. The main tunnel will be blasted UNDER THE RIVERBED, just upstream of Sunset Falls.

Sounds pretty destructive, huh?

Landslide started Dec 2013, moves in fits and spurts, and has taken out the main road and several cabins so far. It’s not finished; the entire hill will come down. PUD consultants say blasting will not affect the landslide! This is especially incredible in the wake of the deadly slide at Oso. By the way, you can't even drive in to Sunset Falls basin anymore due to these last two slides. I will try to get some photos up.

If you look at an areial view, and you know your WA geology, it isn't a far fetched leap to wonder if Mama Skykomish might not just decide to re-rout herself to the river left of Sunset Falls, through the slide zone. Now maybe this is hundreds of years out. Maybe 10-20...maybe it'll never happen. But if it did it will obviously bypass the installation proposed. Check it out.


HARM TO FISH:
20% of all of the fish in the Snohomish watershed utilize this area at some point in their life cycles, according to the Fish Bios.
Among the fish in the river, wild salmon, including Chinook (King) and coho. as well as Steelhead are listed as threatened species.

PUD says fish will do better with LESS water in the river.   They want to take water out of the river and run it through tunnels (see Blasting).

Less water in the river will be warmer and deprive fish of oxygen. Fish become stressed and can suffocate when water temperature reaches 70oF.
With less water, fish will be vulnerable to predatory birds. Eagles and osprey are often seen along the river corridor.
The PUD study did not factor in steelhead kelt. They return to the ocean as adults. Since they are larger than juvenile salmon, their injuries will be more severe with less water in the river.
The PUD study was a computer model of buoyancy particles: not real fish, not real water.

Imagine the injuries fish will sustain when going down this 40’ drop (photo next column) with less water to cushion their descent. This is Canyon Falls, a very rocky 40’ drop, and an area that PUD would take water from if the project is built



EXISTING PROTECTIONS
The S. Fork of the Skykomish, site of the proposed project, has legal protections against hydro power development. The PUD has not yet addressed those protections but instead persists in pursuing a license from the Feds.

The river is part of the WA State Scenic River System, worthy of protection as a free-flowing river. RCW 79A.55.005

The NW Power & Conservation Council (a Federal agency) considers this stretch of river protected from hydro power development. It is possible to get an exemption to that protection but PUD has not done so. The project likely would not meet criteria to provide exceptional benefits to fish (see Harm to Fish)

There are minimum instream flows designated by law for this river.   Those flows are much more, 2-5 times more, than PUD wants to use to generate power. WAC 173-507-020 (see Harm to Fish)

In an era when we are spending hundreds of millions to yank out dams, should we building one here of all places?

The bottom line:
PUD HYDRO POWER PROJECT WILL RAISE RATES, ENDANGER FISH, ENDANGER THE SKYKOMISH RIVER AND LIKELY WORSEN A LOCAL LANDSLIDE

Edited by jP - 13 Feb 2016 at 7:46pm
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irenen
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  Quote irenen Replybullet Posted: 14 Feb 2016 at 10:32am
Thanks for spreading the word JP, we will see you at 6 pm this Tuesday!
It's all fun and games until someone loses a paddle.
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  Quote megspk Replybullet Posted: 14 Feb 2016 at 11:22am
Thanks JP! Wish I could make it, but I've gotta work all day. Thanks for representing!
“A strong person and a waterfall always channel their own path.” -Unknown

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  Quote mprussak Replybullet Posted: 15 Feb 2016 at 7:23pm
I think the fish should just learn to boof the big drops.
Marek Prussak     206-465-2055
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  Quote irenen Replybullet Posted: 16 Feb 2016 at 9:28am
Lora asked me to make sure it was clear that the purpose of the meeting is regarding a rates dispute with SnoPUD, but as JP said above:

"Opponents of SnoPud's proposal to dewater SUNSET FALLS (AND CANYON FALLS, and the 1.1 miles inbetween) are poised to take this moment to educate ratepayers about the dam proposal, and why its a bad idea. I will be there for sure, and we think its a good idea for as many of you to show up as possible.

I'm going to keep things short here right now, but I'd like to urge your participation. Please, if you simply can't go because of prior obligations thats fine. But if you can make it, your support is needed. Think of it as just a trip to everett to hang out with your fellow, fun loving boaters, and of course publicly engaging with non boaters and rate payers there."
It's all fun and games until someone loses a paddle.
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  Quote JoesKayak Replybullet Posted: 16 Feb 2016 at 10:04am
I'm in.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 16 Feb 2016 at 3:19pm
Yay JOE!!!

I just wanted to check in because I haven't had a chance to get back on here since starting this current thread. appreciate the fact that (a small) few of you expressed interest. I will say though, it would be nice to hear more boaters beat this drum.

Seriously, this should be a hot topic pretty much everytime yall run the Sky or meet peeps to boat. It doesn't really take a lot of effort out of us individually, but IT WILL require AS MANY OF US AS POSSIBLE to become engaged (in small ways) if we hope to preserve what litterally took millions of years to create.

Victory will be a death of a thousand cuts kinda thing, so sharpen up your fingers and start tying up some letters. I plan to provide a comprehensive list of places you can send those letters this week.

Stay Tuned, and PLEASE- Stay Involved!
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 16 Feb 2016 at 3:21pm
Bump
Here's whats goin down in everett tonite...
 
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 16 Feb 2016 at 3:21pm
its gonna be FUN!!
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  Quote JoesKayak Replybullet Posted: 16 Feb 2016 at 3:50pm
Originally posted by jP

Bump
Here's whats goin down in everett tonite...
 


Well if you bring the torches, I'll grab the pitchforks?
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 18 Feb 2016 at 2:12pm
Well ,we didn't need to bring torches or pitchforks. There was a whole auditorium filled with Extremely Outraged ratepayers, and while the intensity was entertaining, I have to say that listening to many peoples' stories was NOT fun. There are a lot of people out there essentially getting raped by SnoPUD over a change in the way SnoPUD bills its ratepayers.

They switched form a bi monthly billing cycle to monthly billing, but they still only check the meter every other month. So they "Estimate" peoples'bills every other month, and this has resulted in a huge mess. Several people said there bills jumped from $200 or $300 a month to upwards of $700 and in some cases, $1000 or $1200 bills. Many of these people were stepping to the mike waving stacks of previous bills, stating that there is NO WAY they used nearly the amount of power to justify these huge rate spikes.

Tha's the summary, but rather than rehash it here, someone else has taken the time to compose a very detailed and articulate account of Tuesday Night's meeting. Here's the link:

http://www.nash4homes.com/sell-home-seattle/will-snohomish-county-puds-outrageous-bills-affect-snohomish-county-home-values/

Way to go Irene- its a very good accouont of the meeting and there are also some very good points raised about how SnoPUD is potentially having a negative effect on property values and people's willingness to move to Snoho County. After all, why would you buy a house somewhere where your monthly mortgage could become prohibitively expensive after you fork out an unreasonable amount each month for your powerbill?

Seriously- it is clear that something is wrong with SnoPUD's billing practices. Whether it is faulty meter reading (not much evidence to support that), or there's a glitch in the software they are using (more likely) still remains to be seen. Regardless, the SnoPUD commissioners really seem detatched. Like they don't even know what the hell is going on.

It sure obliterates any confidence that they can plan for and manage a project like the one they are proposing up at Sunset.

There are so many valid reasons to tank the proposal and deny them a permit to proceed. Naturally, though when you go out and talk to the "average ratepayer", it makes sense to gain their attention by pointing out the facts related to the cost of the project and the fact that it is an irresponsible, bad deal simply form an economics perspective. Some new information is coming to light regarding just how bad the economics deal of the so-called "Sunset Fish Passage And Energy Project". Looking at the interest rates for paying this thing off doesn't look good. Its looking like expensive power. I need to get those figures and then I can share them here.

The bottom line is things are heating up. SnoPUD is NOT popular right now. Ratepayers are pissed, justifiably so.

The 90 day comment period has just kicked off recently and we need to hit this hard over the next three months. I'm still feeling slightly behind the curve on all of this, but that is changing. For now, I'd like everyone who is invested in Protecting The Skykomish River's Free Flowing Status to just keep your ear to the ground. Things are about to start happening quickly and we need involvement.

I will have more details by the end of the weekend. I'm also planning on paddling saturday on the Sky. So if you are headed out there, give me a head's up- I might have some info for you.



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