A friend, a former life-long Hoosier and colleague in Indianapolis writes from Bellingham, Washington where he and his wife moved several years ago.
Does anyone really think that an unfounded and destructive White River dam and reservoir would increase health and happiness in east central Indiana?
“In case you missed the “Healthy/Happy” state study reported in USA Today here’s the link:
Poor old dirty, backward Indiana placed 48th. If that sounds familiar, Indiana was 48th in environmental quality in that great study by the Institute for Southern Studies a few years ago. I didn’t see it on The Star’s website but that’s no surprise. They are way too busy doing hard-hitting investigating of lavish mansions in Hamilton County and exorcisms in Gary. I put the “Healthy/Happy” up on my FaceBook and suggested that it sounds much better if you say “Indiana is 3rd” and in a whisper to the side, “From the bottom”. “
In March of 2003, the Indiana chapter of The Nature Conservancy distributed an informative 38-page Briefing Paper titled Community and Economic Development– Quality of Life and the Environment. It notes that the state’s bicentennial (2016) approaches and that “our progress since 1816 has come at considerable cost to the natural environment” and that “Indiana is in danger of losing the few unprotected natural areas and green spaces that currently exist.”
In pertinent part, it’s recommendations include:
“What Indiana must do:
1. promote existing environmental amenities to advertise Indiana’s great climate for business and community,
2. protect remaining natural areas by committing resources to acquire new sites and improve existing greenspace…”
This is just the briefest highlighted summary. There is much in the report to justify a thorough reading. The report does a great job at explaining how a high quality environment supports economic and community development.
This Briefing Paper should be required reading for every person involved or interested in the proposed reservoir. it is hoped that all public officials will read it. To obtain a digital copy, folks can contact The Nature Conservancy (Indiana Chapter) at its offices in Indianapolis or send a an email request to this blog at email@example.com.
Here’s the video link to the recent panel and community forum.
Mr. Fleming’s portion of the panel begins at 1:31 into the video. of the HTR’s 2-26-15 panel presentation. Among other key points, he challenges the CED’s claim of a regional water supply deficiency, and clarifies that if anything, it’s a water-capacity deficiency– referring to the necessary infrastructure to treat and deliver the available water supply, because there are huge supplies of raw water available, particularly within the underground aquifer system. in the vicinity of White River.
At the 02:02:02 point in the video, he sums up the absurdity of the CED’s plan by
concluding, based on seasonal demand data, that the dam would in essence create a highly destructive reservoir on White River in Anderson just so that Carmel and Hamilton County can continue to heavily water their lawns during dry periods.
From BSU’s Center for Business and Economic Research:
In this collection of documents, professionals from many disciplines weigh in on the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir project in Madison and Delaware counties.
Late last year, Heart of the River’s Sheryl Myers made comments to the Anderson City Council about the many high hazard (high risk) dams in Indiana, and urged the Council not to create another one.
Unfortunately, if you live in an area near one of Indiana’s dammed rivers, you will not likely be able to access public records which show whether you would be flooded or swept away if the upstream dam should catastrophically fail.
The Citizens Water utility, a Public Charitable Trust in Indianapolis, recently completed a study of the condition of its several dams. One of the outputs was a series of maps identifying the downstream areas of inundation if the dams should fail.
I regularly attend the Technical Advisory Group meetings of Citizens Water on behalf of the Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations. When I requested a copy of the maps, Citizens was advised by its in-house legal counsel that the maps should not be publicly disclosed because they might constitute a security threat in the wrong hands, i.e. terrorists might use the information to select or prioritize targets. Never mind that the actual locations of the dams themselves are obvious.
It would be interesting to determine if the Madison County CED would take the same position. Would it identify the areas of inundation if asked? Probably not. It is, after all, currently trying to sell the idea of a dam and reservoir to local officials. Downstream property owners would be left in the dark about whether they would be flooded in the event that a White River dam, if built, should fail sometime down the line due to water piping or other hydro-geologic or seismic conditions or to design/construction flaws. Like the deadly pollution plume unleashed by the Guide Corporation and its environmental consulting firm in 1999, which killed all White River life for 50 miles, we-the-people-on-the-receiving-end would be left to accept a catastrophic dam failure as just another unforeseen discharge event from Anderson to its downstream neighbors in central Indiana (the neighbors whose lawns are heavily watered during the dry months). While there might be culpability and subsequent legal liability for fines, penalties, and damages, it would take years of litigation to sort it all out.