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LETTERS / Boone-Doggle: Mayor Ball Concerned About Heightened Suspicions

Dear Editor,

Town Councilman Quint David has led us all to drink from Boone’s ‘holy grail’, WK Dickson’s 2009 Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Water Intake. (Heretofore, this is the document everyone referenced for justification of the new intake) Now we find, through a public

records request through Watauga County, it was superseded by a revised copy in June of 2010

Surely Councilman David had good intentions when he mocked us and referred us all to the obsolete report, and said, “There is no secrecy on our side, other than that required by law for property allocation by the government. No insider trading or developer interest either. Boring, I know.”

Link provided by Councilman David:


It appears Councilman David has friends in Town Hall who have tasked him with leading us all on a ‘wild goose chase’, keep us in the dark and feed us like mushrooms.

New River Advocates spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the ‘holy grail’ and recently released an “Analysis and Opinion” refuting the growth projections. In response, we are chastised and mocked by Boone officials, Andy Ball, Patrick Beville and Quint David.

These officials and others continually ‘razz’ New River Advocates about New River Conservancy’s position, or lack of one. When we found a copy of a 4-page vetting letter from George Santucci, President of the National Committee for the New River (now New River Conservancy) in the revised report, we were somewhat surprised to find they share some of the same concerns as New River Advocates.

George Santucci, according to letter dated January 4, 2010, reviewed the original version of the ‘holy grail’ and made this comment:

“Our confidence is shaken when the engineering firm writing this document makes simple typographical errors. Additionally, and more concerning, we believe they have not researched basic facts correctly.”

New River Advocates concurs. However, we have no confidence in a report where the engineering firm not only makes simple typos and fails to research basic facts; we are appalled by the citing and reciting of a law that never has existed, gross computational errors, the ‘willy-nilly’ selection of data and methods and the idea that engineers don’t have to follow the letter of the law and are held to standards that allow such atrocities all in the name of reaching predetermined results.

Mr. Santucci pointed out mathematical errors and questioned why factual data was referred to as theoretical data:

“On page 9, Table 2, Maximum Daily Demand Projections Column MDD/ADD for year 2007 is 2.38, it should be 1.38. The paragraph above the table contains the sentence ‘Assuming an ADD of 1.86

And, Boone Mayor Andy Ball expresses his indignation and concerns, that New River Advocates is

creating unnecessary suspicions about Boone’s motives for the water intake. ‘I think questioning (the town)

sounds great, I think it’s great to have everything out there,’ Ball said. ‘What I don’t think is great is to have

people doubting the town’s motives. I just don’t see where that’s coming from. It creates a suspicion out

there that’s just not warranted.’”

To this we borrow a quote,

“When a leader discourages questioning of his/her leadership style, actions, and

motivations, that is a sign that they have something to hide, that they may not be worthy of the public’s

trust.” (Teresa Stover)MGD in 2007 and the maximum MDD/ADD ratio from the past two years of approximately 1.38, the theoretical MDD for 2007 was 2.567 MG.’ We’re not sure why this number is theoretical and not a fact, but regardless, dividing 2.567 by 1.86 yields a MDD/ADD ratio of 1.38 not 2.38.”

New River Advocates concurs with the Santucci’s findings as documented in our “Analysis and Opinion” at:

Mr. Santucci also took issue with the impairment of segments of the river reclassified as water supplies. We believe Mr. Santucci has about as much confidence in the 30-foot buffer ‘carrot’ offered with the reclassification of the watershed as we have. New River Advocates believes that the damage done by a water intake (increased discharge of pharmaceuticals, hormones, chemicals, etc.) far outweighs the benefits of a 30’ vegetative buffer!

Boone currently exceeds the permitted withdrawal levels established to prevent low flow conditions downstream from their current water intake. New River Advocates has put a copy of NCDENR’s impairment map showing impairment of the South Fork of the New River beginning at Boone’s current water intake and ending at the Watauga County Industrial Park on US Highway 421 on our website.

George Santucci also questioned Boone regarding the new intake, “How will Boone ensure that these levels of withdrawal are monitored and protection will be in place?” And, Boone official, Patrick Beville, claims Boone’s current intakes are not healthy, not healthy for the river.

New River Advocates concurs with the New River Conservancy; we believe Boone will exceed the maximum flow levels. We believe Boone proposes to abandon their backyard only to wreak havoc in Ashe and Watauga counties’ backyard, 27 river miles downstream from their corporate limits.

Mr. Santucci warns, “ the new intake can relieve this pressure (on the current intake) and provide greater protection for the New’s headwaters, provided that no more than 4 MGD is removed” from the new intake site and “if Boone removes less than 3 MGD from the combined Winkler’s Creek/South Fork Intakes for a maximum of 6.8 MGD.”

New River Advocates discovered the new intake is being constructed with the capacity to withdraw 6 MGD at the new site versus the maximum of 4 MGD (this has been confirmed by Mayor Andy Ball recently in Watauga Democrat article: New River Advocates: Boone intake misleading information.

The ‘wild goose chase’ continues as we are encouraged to submit questions. When we ask questions, we are told we can dig the answers out of public records. And, when we make public record requests, we are told of outrageous costs ($424 for one document), of referral to legal counsel, to stand in line, and of additional time needed to scrub information.

New River Advocates is committed to exposing this Boone-Doggle. Let the sun shine!

New River Advocates, Inc. Board of Directors,

Donald Nelson

Ronnie Cooper

Marie Nelson

Deborah Greene

Donnie Cooper