ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Richard Betting letter: Corps' plan for Devils Lake is environmentally flawed

A typical Forum editorial -- Aug. 2 -- illustrates why common sense does not prevail in the Devils Lake situation. When the editors cannot understand that though Devils Lake overflowed more than a thousand years ago -- and perhaps several times b...

A typical Forum editorial -- Aug. 2 -- illustrates why common sense does not prevail in the Devils Lake situation. When the editors cannot understand that though Devils Lake overflowed more than a thousand years ago -- and perhaps several times before that -- not knowing how much precipitation caused those overflows means we cannot make any assumptions about how much precipitation will cause one today.

In fact, since more than 189,000 acres of upper basin wetlands have been drained, it will take a lot less precipitation now than it did then for Devils Lake to rise. When a foot of rain falls on the drained farmland now, it runs immediately into the lake. So instead of rising a foot from rain on its surface, for example, Devils Lake will rise that foot -- plus another one or two from the runoff from the upper basin drained acres, depending on the saturation of the soils in the area.

While taxpayers have helped provide relief for problems from flooding on Devils Lake to the tune of over $500 million, as the editorial points out, it does not tell us what the increased income to the Devils Lake area over the past 10 years has been. So the added water has not been all bad. In fact, as the lake begins to fall, some will advocate an inlet to supplement lake losses.

Finally, the editorial has typically used mean-spirited, divisive, name-calling, personal attacks on those who disagree with The Forum on this issue. If we are "environmental religionists," the editors must, by contrast, be "environmental atheists." However, our environment is all we have. I advocate clean water, clean air, productive soil for ourselves and all future generations. What do Forum editors want?

The Environmental Protection Agency has described the Corps' plan as "environmentally unsatisfactory." The Environmental Protection Agency adds, "The basis of our rating is the significant, long-term, adverse environmental impacts from the construction of the proposed outlet and its subsequent operations."

ADVERTISEMENT

So Forum editors must not care if a Devils Lake outlet creates "long-term adverse environmental impacts" on the Sheyenne River. Is that position tenable for logical, far-sighted, sound environmental management? Since when?

Richard Betting, Valley City, N.D., is a member of People to Save the Sheyenne, an organization opposed to a Devils Lake flood control outlet. He can be reached at rbetting@ictc.com

What To Read Next
The administration at Theodore Roosevelt National Park is bent on getting rid of the horses, which means getting rid of vital living history and a major draw to the park.
Fargo city commission hand-wringing over northside Red River crossing is short-sighted
The Minnesota State system request for $350 million in additional funding would freeze tuition and train more desperately needed workers.
Part of resistance to bridge connecting downtown to Red River lies with Fargo's perception