Response letter to the Anderson Herald Bulletin

Writer Bitar might persuade the flush military to buy his products, but his pitch for the planned reservoir on White River doesn’t hold water

Pete Bitar’s Reader Viewpoint (Mounds Lake reservoir an essential step forward, June 8, 2014) warrants response.

In his letter, Mr. Bitar implies that the area’s ecology would not be damaged by a reservoir.  Yet none of three points in his letter even pertain to the ecology. Our coalition has provided many facts and reasonable concerns showing the potential for high environmental impact.  Our concerns were validated by recent correspondence to the CED from U.S. EPA and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.  

Mr. Bitar also posits several points supposedly aiding the “economics” case.  He cites a number of general, hoped-for benefits. Yet he doesn’t mention the huge costs.  What kind of credible economic analysis avoids identifying the project’s costs?  

Mr. Bitar also claims that the so-called “detractors” have been “irresponsible with the facts”. That’s a curious charge, in part because virtually all of his letter’s claims in support of the reservoir are the result of unsupported speculation and magical thinking. 

Mr. Bitar is an Anderson-based businessman, and according to an August 28, 2005 report in the Washington Post (Xtreme Defense), was successful in persuading the Department of Defense, perennially flush with taxpayer cash, to purchase his “dazzler” laser pens and support the development of other non-lethal products at a cost of about $1 million.  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/23/AR2005082301227.html).  More currently, he obviously believes that public funds should also be lavished on the construction of a costly new dam and reservoir. 

Mr. Bitar might consider the public treasury to be a money tree, but costly and impactful projects should be subject to clear-eyed critical review, and not pushed through on the basis of propaganda or political influence.

Clarke Kahlo

6-10-14

 

 

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