Saturday, December 05, 2009

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

For many years the mission of the Corps of Engineers was to regulate navigable waterways. The original intent was primarily the Mississippi,Missouri and Ohio rivers, for both flood control and navigation. toward that goal, locks were emplaced at necessary points to aid the up river and down river commerce. These rivers were and are navigable because they can be used all the way to the ocean for marine traffic.

Then somehow, the corps got too big for their collective britches and decided that THEY would determine what was navigable and what was not. The most obvious transgressions are out west, where rivers that may support a canoe for brief journeys, dammed rivers that cannot be navigated, even by fish and other egregious mis-applications of the terminology.

To state that the Corps transgresses upon the states rights that they regulate, as well as rule the power grid thfough the measured feeding of water from dam to dam, as needed for power generation, is teating the subject lightly. They have gone so far beyond the original intent of their perview as to be ridiculous. The situation is obvious. We, residents of the various western states need to wrest control from these power hungry federal abusers. One method would be to sue in federal court, asking the court to find that the Corps has overstepped their mandate. Another, would be to get congress to redefine what constitutes a navagable waterway.

Here on 50 mile long Lake Pend Oreille, the corps is attempting once again, to manipulate the levels through their ownership of the Albeni Falls Dam without regard to the fact that this lake is not a man made reservoir, but a natural body of water. Our lake has been trashed by the lack of regard to our fisheries and lakefront properties. They seem to feel that we exist for the sole purpose of supplying water to Grand Coulee Dam and other such structures down stream.

There are adequate dams down stream from Lake Pend Oreille to hold summer water through the winter power use cycles without misusing our lake. During the few years where a moratorium was in force and the corps was only allowed to lower the lake to 2051 feet above sea level every three years, and to maintain a Summer level of 2062, with 2055 being the odd years winter level. The mighty Corps of Engineers has unilaterally decided they essentially will in the future do what they damn well please. This is wrong and the State of Idaho needs to pull them up short, if the various interested bureaucrats can manage to extract their collective heads from their ... rears.

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