Friday, May 20, 2011

Hell does not have to freeze over

Over 100 people turned out for Wednesday morning's water rate hearing, which ran over its allotted 30 minutes by almost 5 hours. Forty-five people signed up to speak on behalf of protecting our open reservoirs from senseless LT2 projects, including Siltronics, Portland Bottling Co., Yo Cream, Alsco Linen, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

KBOO's Joe Meyer ran a 4 minute piece which holds several interesting quotes from Fritz, Saltzman, and Adams (they begin at minute 2:45). But if there is one thing I absolutely don't want you to miss it's the quote from Dave Wagner, formerly of EPA's Office of General Council, stating there is a legal path to both a variance and a timeline extension for the reservoirs (minute 1:52). It seems Hell does not have to freeze over, as Shaff has claimed.

Testimony brought out at least two new points worth passing along to all of your friends. 

Most importantly, there is a NEW legal opinion now in our possession (many thanks to the Portland Water User's Coalition) from Dave Wagner of Reed Smith (a large firm specializing in regulatory issues, including EPA regulation).  Wagner's expertise was brought in to review Portland's legal options for saving our reservoirs, because concerned citizens in the business community thought this moment in our city's history called for action more robust than what the city was willing to do on their own.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but this really does seem like the kind of homework the city bureau should have done by now on our behalf. 

Secondly, just in case you were still wondering if Portland Water Bureau had their heart in this fight to save our city from senseless LT2 expenditures...   Just last month at the invitation of the EPA (and by Executive Order), PWB had the chance to comment on specific regulatory flaws found in LT2 and other EPA regulations, and from what I can tell PWB submitted just a few disjointed paragraphs in which only 3 sentences were dedicated to LT2.  Compare that with NYC’s response to this invitation – they submitted a 23 page argument with 33 pages in supporting data about their Hillview Reservoir.  That’s what committment looks like.

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