Submitted Letter to the Mail Tribune Editor re: WaterWatch’s Demolition of Property Rights

On page 2 of the August 26, 2015 edition, the Mail Tribune ran an article titled “Property owners decry Fielder Dam removal.” (correct link?) I feel it’s important to draw attention to three quotes in that article. The first is a direct quote from Mr. Hunter of WaterWatch, to wit: “Certainly WaterWatch was willing to enforce the law.” WaterWatch is a 501(c)3 non-profit group and, as such, has no law enforcement authority – none.

Yet it very telling on the arrogant mindset of that organization, and Mr. Hunter in particular, to arrogate to themselves law enforcement authority. As an attorney, Mr. Hunter should know better. Drunk with power perhaps?

It is common practice for WaterWatch to bully private parties, and in some instances local governing groups, into compliance with their radical, and ill-informed agenda. On August 6, 2014 I attended a meeting of the Gold Hill Irrigation District, which had been coerced by WaterWatch into shutting off water from the irrigation district’s customers, at the peak of the irrigation season and during a drought. As in this more recent incident, WaterWatch threatened the self-financed, self-governing irrigation district with a lawsuit if they did not agree to WaterWatch’s agenda.

Second, the quote from Scott Wright is absurd, i.e., “We didn’t find anything upstream (from an abandoned mine). I don’t know why we’d find anything downstream.” Well, contaminants are not salmon – they don’t swim upstream, that’s why. So of course you didn’t find any contaminants upstream from an abandoned mine.

Those very samples he referred to were, in turn, used to facilitate approval of the (downstream) Fielder Dam removal, without performing an environmental impact statement. Worse, there is an inherent conflict of interest to have a (for profit) company, the very one contracted to perform the demolition and Mr. Wright’s employer, certify that a project will not have any negative environmental impact. That is clear evidence for just how far down the path of crony capitalism Oregon has traveled. While this pales in comparison to the $200 million fraud of the Columbia River Crossing project, it’s the same phenomena, only differing in degree.

The third, and final, quote I’d like to draw attention is again from Mr.
Hunter, casually dismissing the uncompensated damage done to the private property owners: “But this is a project with huge public benefits.” That illustrates the true agenda of WaterWatch perfectly – namely, the elimination of private property rights for the collective, plain and simple.


Terrence Schofield
Rogue River, Oregon

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